The Heritage Garden

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A 200 year old walled garden in the grounds of the Avila Carmelite Centre in Donnybrook has been turned into a productive urban kitchen garden. It is called The Heritage Community Garden, and since it was set up two years ago it has grown from strength to strength.

The brainchild of Jacqueline Kelleher, who is trained in horticulture, the garden invites anyone who would like to learn about any aspect of gardening, organic vegetable growing, flower planting and maintenance. They also welcome experienced gardeners who would just like to help out. Their stated aim is to work with vulnerable members of society, and they have hosted people with brain injuries for instance.

Happily, the year-round work the volunteers put in is most definitely paying off. The garden has gone from derelict to a beautiful mix of fruit, organic vegetables, brightly coloured flowers and herbs. All the produce is shared out among the volunteers themselves.

They have also hosted some interesting special events, such as a Homeopathy for the Garden course last year, which offered the chance to learn, among other things, how to have a pest ­free garden without using toxic chemicals.

A cob oven course was also a great success. A cob oven is made from natural building materials – sand, clay, water, straw and earth were used to make one on site, and it now sits ready to use in the garden.

The garden has volunteers with a range of skills, but they are in need of materials and funding. You can keep up to date with fundraising events by checking their Facebook page – The Heritage Community Garden – or their excellent website

The garden is situated adjacent to The Royal Hospital, Donnybrook and is open Saturdays between 10 am and 1 pm.

By Steve Kingston

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