Monday, 17 April 2017

A lot of activity in the garden lately! The grow beds are growing, the polytunnel is protecting seedlings and is also host to tomato plants. The Rainwater Harvesting system is in place, and water is flowing towards the growing plants.
Meanwhile the construction of the pizza oven is progressing in the courtyard area - that will be a great gathering area soon. Further down the garden, the plans for the meditative garden, orchard area and wild flower area are moving 'off the paper' and coming to life. The inclusion of a beehive space here is a real bonus. The sights, sounds, smells, tastes and feel of the garden will all come together in this space.
Watch this space for photos and progress updates.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Help Us Commemorate 1916 in An Gairdin Beo

Image: Thiru Thirukkumaran

We at An Gáirdin Beo, Carlow’s Living Community Garden are delighted to be able to formally invite you to Carlow’s final 1916 commemoration event. 

This will be held in An Gáirdin Beo beside St. Leo’s Convent, Old Dublin Road, Carlow, on 24th September starting at 2.00pm. 

The schedule for the afternoon will be as follows:

§  Gathering in main hall for music and introduction
§  Procession to the commemoration site led by a lone piper 
§  Commemorative events around the pond
§  Refreshments in the main hall      

The afternoon, in addition to commemorating 1916, will be a great opportunity for us to introduce the garden. You will see what it is about, the work being done along with the work that still needs to be done and the benefits of the garden for the wider Carlow community in the future.  An Gáirdin Beo is a non-profit community organisation based on two acres of land beside St. Leo’s Convent in Carlow town.  It aims to establish a garden that will enable a diverse mix of people to connect with each other, through nature, art and creativity; and the growing and making of food.

These ideals are close to those expressed in the 1916 proclamation ‘cherishing all the children of the nation equally’.  We anticipate that this event will be well attended, with prominent figures from business and politics and representatives from many community groups in Carlow and we hope that you'll visit us too on the day.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Street Feast in the Garden, June 2016

Street Feast 2016 an Gairdín Beo, Old Dublin St, Carlow

Image: John McHugh
The Street Feast is Ireland’s annual day of street parties and community lunches. The Centenary Street Feast 2016 was supported by Ireland 2016, An Post, Facebook, and the Local Authorities and the following shares a little bit about the idea and how we celebrated it in our community garden in the heart of Carlow town. You can also find a recipe at the end that will help us create a wonderful garden.

Image John McHugh
Partners this year were, Scouting Ireland, Irish Men’s Sheds Association, GIY Ireland & Volunteer Ireland while also receiving support from the Irish Countrywoman’s Association and the Tidy Towns Association.

Street Feast started out as a team of national volunteers in 2010 who were passionate about community reducing isolation, environmental impact, and boosting community resilience with the result being, what better way to bring community together than through food?!

Because An Gairdín Beo is in its second year of research, design and development it seemed fitting that the Street Feast 2016 was the perfect way to integrate the local and wider community to discover their community garden.

Image: John McHugh
Following the ChangeX guidelines we embarked on the task of organising the Feast but really it proved an easy project as what we discovered along the way showed that people were happy to be a part of something tangible.

Image: Eilish Langton
The pot luck lunch request brought such an array of different foods from different multi cultural backgrounds that the party was spoiled for choice.

From banana & walnut loaf , couscous, pasta salad, pulled pork, spring onion and tossed salad to elderflower cordial (a product of the garden), rhubarb and apple pies, and pastry delights, it was truly an amazing feast.

With little or no resources, participant really dug deep and brought what they could and wanted to share.

Image: Eilish Langton
Drone displays took place documenting the day… football, flubber madness, face painting, garden recipes with a twist, feasting, raided beds tours, photo booth…photographers, artists visits, newspaper reporters, and visitors all interacted to make the event a great success.

The event was topped off at the end with a walking tour to visit a site specific art installation exhibition down by the river Barrow by artist group Crocosmia. This exhibition continues during the current Carlow Arts Festival.

What was evident on the day showed that community gardens have the capacity to become a platform for engagement, and An Gairdín Beo in Carlow is leading the way for alternative spaces to engage, learn, communicate and share, something that many communities in urban areas lack these days.

Image: Eilish Langton
Lots of really creative and interesting ideas came about on the day as to what other events and programmes could be implemented in the future in the garden so watch this space.

Eilish Langton


Recipe for a Wonderful Garden

Our Magical Garden survives on lots of wonderful ingredients; one that is hugely important is P.E.A.T.

Let us tell you about our P.E.A.T  Without boring you too much or interrupting your lovely lunch.

It is composed of four important ingredients and you all should know about them:

P. Participation
E. Engagement
A. Action
T. ????????

Gairdin Beo Receipe
Step 1.

Gather as many Participants as possible and place in a pot together.

Mix slowly and gradually with plenty glugs of listening, keep on a low heat as all participants are rooted and over-ground vegetables and nature has given them seasons and time to grow.

Continue to keep under a low but strong heat, they need time to soften, but be careful at this stage not to burn, this is the primary ingredient

Step 2.

When the particpants are at a comfortable temperature add lots of the delightful and robust vegetable Engagement. This will draw new flavours from the Participants and when both dance together in the pan the space will be filled with exciting and unpredictable aromas.

Give this magical fusion some time to blend and just when they are both starting to change texture take off the heat and let rest for a few minutes, but no longer otherwise they will start to wilt.

Step 3.

It is now time to add Action :  these are bunches and bunches of the wonderful herbs :Planning, Vision and Imagination. These three herbs are great buddies and like to hang out together. They like to be added gradually though so don’t over-do it. They will definitely mix well with the sautéed Participants and Engagements. Stir all ingredients together at this point, add a pinch of innovation and lashings of support and this meal could be Amazing and can bring us to the ‘T’ of our PEAT.

How this dish turns out is up to YOU.  You need decide what will be the ‘T’ in our P.E.A.T

You can start by being a  P.E.A. in our Pod.

Please subscribe to our mailing list to learn more about the garden and keep up to date with events.

Image: John McHugh

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

We're having a Street Feast in the Garden, Come Join Us

What is Street Feast? 

ChangeX Street Feast is happening in communities all over Ireland on 12 June. It is a neighbourhood street party aimed at encouraging inclusion and strengthening neighbourhoods. An Gairdín Beo is the perfect location for this event while also creating a gathering to let the neighbours know the stage the garden is at.

Why run a Street Feast? 

There are obviously many good reasons to run a Street Feast; here are a few suggestions:

  • Be part of a national annual feast day of community celebration. 
  • Show off the garden. 
  • Help support community initiatives around the country. 
  • Celebrate how multi-cultural and diverse Ireland’s neighbourhoods have become. 
  • Meet and (re)connect with neighbours. 
  • Share a simple, creative, self-organised lunch. 
  • Proclaim our love for locally grown food. 
  • Feel safer around our communities in the future. 

As the Carlow Arts Festival is on at this time, Artist Clodagh Emoe and participants from Spinosa will visit and join in the activities. The group will continue on to the river Barrow where they will perform an art installation as part of the festival.

What to bring? 

This is a free event but it needs your involvement to make it happen. You will need to bring: Some food for sharing Chairs Disposable plates, cups and non alcoholic drinks If you play an instrument, bring it along!

Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Creating a Wildflower Meadow

Wildflowers and Happy Children

At the weekend members of Carlow Integration Forum were invited to help plant a wildflower meadow in the mediation area of the An Gairdín Beo, one of several initiatives being funded in the garden by Carlow County Development Project..

Nicole and her mentor Sandro Cafolla of arrived with mixed bags of native Irish wildflower seeds and arms full of garden rakes and set to the job.

The meditation area in 2015
A few days earlier the land had been cleared by heavy machinery to remove all the undergrowth, rocks and bracken and to flatten and make it safe. It was now ready for a light rake over by the volunteers, a hoe was used to mark out the strips for planting, then Nicole and the children scattered the seeds.

A mixture of annual, biennial an perennials seeds were chosen for the garden which will give a flush of different flowers over the coming years as they establish. 

We're looking forward to seeing the results!