The Garden Trail 

CLICK HERE for printable (PDF) version of the trail.  

The Trail begins at the main display unit beside the Pizza Oven (Map ref 4). This cob oven was built by volunteers from Lá Nua, using a traditional technique of layering a mix of clay, sand and straw over a sand mound.

To the left of Pizza Oven, The Biodiversity Garden (Map ref 6) faces you on the left and right. The Display Unit introduces this section of the garden. The area is deliberately undeveloped to allow the diversity of plant and animal life to flourish naturally. The area is used by students from local schools to study nature habitats as part of their Junior Cert Science programme.

The path on the right through the Biodiversity area leads to the Geodome (Map ref 7). A geodesic dome is a spherical space-frame structure composed of a complex network of triangles. The linked triangles create a self-bracing framework that is structurally strong yet elegantly delicate. The design allows massive interior space, free from columns or other supports. Our geodome is used for small workshops and germinating plants.

Moving on towards the Wetland /Pond area (Map ref 8), note the references to commemorating the Centenary of the 1916 Rising with a quote from the Proclamation calling on us to ‘cherish all the children of the nation equally’. This area ‘cherishes’ the diversity that nature has to offer and shows the importance of water in supporting all forms of life.

Now return to the Bridge that acts as a crossing point to the Therapeutic Healing Garden (Map ref 9) and you may even hear the trickle of water flowing beneath it. A Therapeutic Garden is an outdoor garden space that has been specifically designed to meet the physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of the people using the garden, where individuals or groups strive to improve their health and well-being through active or passive engagement with nature.

The Triple Mounds represent The Celtic Female Goddesses of ancient Ireland, Ériu, Banba and Fódhla. In the centre of the three mounds, you will see the Triple Spiral (modelled on the Triple Spiral at Newgrange, 3000 B.C.) that symbolises many things: the three realms of land, sea and sky; the cycles of life and the Triple Goddess (maiden, mother and wise woman). Celtic Christians have used this symbol to represent the Christian Trinity.
A Thyme path leads through a soft fruit section with strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, red currants and gooseberries and continues on to the Orchard Area (Map ref 12) with eleven varieties of Irish Heritage apple trees from different parts of the country. Here you come to the Native Grove  (Map ref 13), containing a variety of Irish native trees. Rest a while on the ‘throne’!  Refreshed, follow the Moss Path into the Meditation Garden (Map ref 14). On your right, observe the Periwinkle garden. Sit, relax and listen to the birdsong.

Stroll back via “St Joseph’s Walk” (Map ref 10), originally the path from the Mercy Convent to the Old St. Joseph’s School.  On your left you will see the Wild Flower Meadow (Map ref 11), where native wild flowers and plants have been sown to encourage pollination activity with our bee friends. A “Bug Hotel” on your left offers safe refuge for a myriad of insects.

Return now to the Carpark area. On your right the old school gym has undergone extensive renovation and is now a modern Community Building (Map ref 2) available for hire to groups in the wider Carlow community. 

The other building called The Stables (Map ref 3) as it’s believed to have been originally built as such. It now hosts meetings, visiting artists, apple pressing and our Summer Café as well as acting as a base for our regular workers and volunteers.

Just past the buildings the ramp leads to the Growing Area (Map ref 5). Here we have 25 raised beds used by various groups in the community to grow mainly vegetables and flowers. The polytunnel is used for propagating seeds and growing under cover. Along the northern wall you will find lots of “Bee friendly” flowers for different times of the year. To the left is the Master Composting Demonstration site, host to courses on Composting from time to time. 
From the beginning of June to the end of August, we run a very successful café, once a week from 10.00 to 12.00 noon. This gives an opportunity to the groups using the garden and to people from the wider community to come together inn a relaxed environment to chat and get to know each other socially.

The other open space behind the Community Building is to be developed at a later stage. If you have any suggestions please let us know!