September 2017:
Bridgefoot Street Community Garden Compost Workshop and Open Day Harvest: 16/09/2017:
On Saturday the 16th of September 2017 Bridgefoot Street Community Garden hosted an open day, and end of season Harvest. Craig Benton from Stop Food Waste was on hand to demonstrate how to compost effectively, from 10 am onward. Initially the attendees were volunteers with The Young Friends of the Earth Environmental Group.These were soon joined by Bridgefoot Street Community Gardeners, and also other gardeners from further afield. Specifically Brookfield Community Garden and Friarstown Allotments in South Dublin.


Photograph by Robert Moss, 11:38 am, Saturday 16th of September 2017.
Those in attendance formed into different groups to help with the gardening, and to assist Craig with the construction of a pallet composter. The gardening saw a good deal of weeding which provided green waste for the new compost facility. We also dug a heavy crop of potatoes which comprised of a few different but now forgotten varieties. These were cleaned by Bob and Roisin before being taken away by wheelbarrow to Tony O'Rourke's Cafe. Here they were cooked before being brought back to the garden. Served with butter, grated cheese, and spring onion, they made for a healthy and filling lunch for very hungry gardeners. Unfortunately despite our hunger we barely made a dent in the three pots of cooked potatoes, such was the volume that were harvested.

After lunch Craig then led a workshop on how to set up a wormery. The weather also began to change in the afternoon as rain closed in. Earlier in the morning we had a mild calm day of Altostratus masking a watery sun above Bridgefoot Street. The sun then disappeared from around 2 pm in the afternoon as rain moved in and settled persistently beneath a dismal Nimbostratus afternoon. However it was pleasant early autumn gardening all morning, and well into the afternoon, with mild cloudy sunshine.

Stop Food Waste have written a guide describing the different methods of composting waste material, and helping you to save money on waste charges.
You can download your own household guide here https://we.tl/2015M1mktz


Photograph by Robert Moss, 2:30 pm, Saturday 16th of September 2017.
Now occupied by a vibrant inner city community garden the site for the future Bridgefoot Street Park is still colloquially called the dump by some Liberties Residents. Perhaps because this site once provided Dublin with its municipal dump back in the 18th century. 
Since then the area has become one of the most high density areas of population within Dublin. While there is no shortage of tourist attractions, shops, and historical interest within this area, there is also a noticeable lack of any green space. The average Liberties resident has 0.7 square metres of green space, whilst residents of Dublin 4 and Dublin 6 have 15 square metres! The World Health Organisation recommends 9 square metres of green space per city resident. 

For this reason the Bridgefoot Street Community Garden, which currently grows upon the southern end of the site chosen for the future Bridgefoot Street Park, is all the more welcoming for residents, workers, and tourists who want to take a break from the traffic and concrete that lie all around. Since March 2015 when the garden was first created, Bridgefoot Street Community Garden has provided a quiet and lovely oasis in which to garden, relax, and socialise. Located within the Liberties, in Dublin’s South City Centre, the garden is a short stroll from Thomas Street, NCAD, and the Guinness Storehouse. Because of the proximity to many destination attractions the garden has hosted plenty of visitors from other countries who arrive in Dublin on holiday. Over the course of a few brief years we have hosted visitors from Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and other European Countries. In common with the mix of visitors to the city, tourists from as far away as America, Australia, and New Zealand have also dropped in on gardening sessions for a chat and sometimes to help out with the weeding and digging.

Bridgefoot Street Community Garden is the only amenity in this part of town in terms of a freely accessible site where people can regularly engage in gardening activity if they don’t own their own garden or have access to an allotment. For this reason participation by local community groups has also been very positive and is increasing. Because of the garden’s central location, it’s visibility, and it’s relatively large size the garden has also been utilised for more formal gardening events by different groups. These consist not only of various local community groups, but also commercial organisations wanting to provide their staff with an enjoyable day of volunteer work mixed with the chance to pick up horticultural skills.

The following groups and organisations have taken part in Community Garden Activities at Bridgefoot Street Community Garden since it opened in 2015: 

• Dublin Mens Shed Group  
• Diageo 
• We Share Dublin   
• Young Friends of the Earth
• The RECDP After School Club  
• Sundial House
• Saint Audoens National School  
• Google
• Navan Road Scouts Troop  
• Work Day
• Mendicity Kids Club 
• An Taisce Environmental Education

The strength of the community garden at Bridgefoot Street lies in it being a large amenity that multiple organisations and groups can use for activities, without having to invest in the long term
organisation of the site or community garden themselves. These groups might not otherwise have the capacity to manage their own community or school garden.

Dublin City Council has already identified the need for greening the Liberties in its “greening strategy”, and a new park is planned for creation on this site some time in 2018. To deliver on this strategy notice has now been given for the proposed construction by Dublin City Council of a public park with play facilities upon the wider site that includes Bridgefoot Street Community Garden.

While Bridgefoot Street Community Garden and allotment users are supportive of the plan to include both a community garden and allotment within the planned future park they are also concerned that the future park plan involves moving the garden from the south eastern corner of the site to a more southerly aspect. This will impart a great deal of disruption to the now established community garden which has taken 2-3 years to establish, and which would in effect have to be rebuilt in terms of community buy in, as well as re-establishing the horticultural work already completed.

In response to the Part 8 site notice for the proposed park plan, Bridgefoot Street Community Garden held an open evening on Tuesday the 8th of August this year. This informed the garden users, residents, and allotment plot holders about the proposed park development on the site, and collected submission comments. These comments have been submitted along with the request to maintain the community garden within the wider Bridgefoot Street Park, while the new park is constructed around it. The collected comments also raised the point that the Bridgefoot Street Park Site has become a haven for biodiversity since it has been unused for so long, and has been re-colonised by wildflowers, Insects and Birdlife. Maintaining the community garden and allotment plots in-situ while the park is developed would also help to mitigate against the disturbance of this biodiversity-

Bridgefoot Street Community Garden and Allotments are an important green space located within the Liberties, Dublin 8. The community garden is also surrounded by a number of urban bee hives, and is an important feeding site for the local Honey Bees, and other insect pollinators.

The results of the Part 8 stage of the planning process for the new Bridgefoot Street Park are yet to be revealed, but it is to be hoped that this community garden can continue to be open to all without interruption, and without the loss of so much hard work which has been put into the site by so many people.


May 2017:

The Growth of the Bridgefoot Street Community Garden Wildflower Meadow.

Thanks to all those who helped sow our Wildflower Meadow back on the 8th of October 2016. The results are fantastic with the fragrance alone from the flowers well worth all the effort. Back in October the plot was carefully dug and weeded, we then scattered 100g of wildflower seed. These included: 

Agrostemma githago “Corncockle” 
Anthemis avensis “Corn Chamomile” 
Centaurea cyanus “Cornflower” 
Chrysanthemum segetum “Corn Marigold” 
Papaver rhoeas “Corn or Field Poppy” 

Sourced from www.seedaholic.com Currently the meadow is well used by Sparrows hunting Greenfly as well as Bumblebees and Small White Butterflies. January was mild and wet, February wet and cold, in March the weather was unsettled ... a few pushes towards spring, but mostly cold and cloudy. In April the weather oscillated between cloudy and sunny, but mostly dry but cold ... with an exception on Saturday the 8th of April which was hot and sunny at 18 degrees centigrade. The next hot day was May Day on Monday the 1st of May ... a wonderful day of late spring sunshine and warmth. In May the climate battled towards summer. We had mild sunshine and April showers displaced into May. By Monday the 22nd of May a heatwave began with continuous sunshine throughout the week until Saturday the 27th of May when continuous rain filled the day. The May heatwave reached its climax on the evening of Friday 26th. Many young Dubliners were showing the year's first flush of sunburn and alcohol.

Photograph by Robert Moss, 6:50 pm, Sunday 21st of May 2017.

March 2017:
Green Communities talk about Bridgefoot Street Community Garden and Screening of Symphony of the Soil at Christchurch Cathedral.

The Christ Church Cathedral film series on Environmental Themes saw the screening of Symphony of the Soil on Monday the 20th of March. 73 people were at the Cathedral Music Room to listen to Robert Moss talk about the experiences of Bridgefoot Street Community Garden volunteers in working with and rehabilitating the soil within the community garden.

The film is a very well crafted documentary. It’s subject matter is of course the soil.

We get to see why soil exists, 
how it allows us to exist,
and how like a complex organism it responds to our activities and our inputs in often unexpected ways.

After the film screening the official spokesperson for People4Soil, Klaus Laitenberger, spoke to the assembled visitors. Klaus is a consultant in organic horticulture in Co. Sligo.

People4Soil is supporting the European Citizen's Initiative in its attempt to gather one million signatures across the EU to petition the European Commission to legislate for a Soil Directive. Despite its incredible importance, our soils are not protected. Over the last half century, Ireland’s soils have come under increasing threat from pesticides, afforestation, land use changes, over-farming, erosion and overgrazing, industry and urbanisation.

Sign the petition: http://environmentalpillar.ie/people4soil/


Photograph by Gary Tyrrel, 6:40 pm, Monday 20th of March 2017.

February 2017:
All Ireland Pollinator Plan Regional Meeting

On Friday the 17th and Saturday the 18th of February the first annual All-Ireland Pollinator Plan Regional Meeting was held at the Lough Neagh Discovery Centre, Co. Armagh. It was a productive and inspiring couple of days, and that is all down to everyone that took the time to attend and contribute to the event. 

The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan Steering Group are particularly thankful to Catherine Bertrand at Butterfly Conservation; Armagh City, Bainbridge and Craigavon Council; and everyone at the Lough Neagh Discover Centre for making the event possible and ensuring it ran smoothly. A huge thank you as well to all the speakers for sharing their pollinator work to date through some really excellent talks.

We thought it was worth sharing with you the actions that we’ve taken away from this event, and the things we plan to follow up on in the coming weeks/months. Please find these actions below. We also received many requests throughout the event for the presentations to be made available online. You can now find all of the resources we have available from this first regional meeting  (including the programme, presentations, and the Actions document) on the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan’s “Resources” page:

http://www.biodiversityireland.ie/projects/irish-pollinator-initiative/all-ireland-pollinator-plan/resources/

Just scroll down to “Events/Conferences,” and you’ll be able to download all of the materials from the menu. As more of the presentations become available we will add them to this page.

The event also launched the sectoral guidelines for councils to facilitate the implementation of the Pollinator Plan. Those parks that are actively pursuing initiatives to support pollinating insect biodiversity can view this document at:

http://www.biodiversityireland.ie/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/Pollinator-Council-Guide-FINAL.pdf 

Friday was a mild cloudy day with the lakeside woodland walks are alive with birds. Mostly Chaffinch, Great Tit, Blue Tit, and Robins. I have never seen such tame birds. Blue Tits were taking food from a girls hand. I have only ever seen Robins do this before.

Photograph by Robert Moss, 4:03 pm, Friday the 17th of February 2017.


January 2017:
Parks in the News!

The Eco episode on Tuesday the 3rd of January featured a slot on the initiative for a new park at Bridgefoot Street, Dublin 8:
http://www.rte.ie/player/ie/show/eco-eye-1112/10669215/
This slot starts at about 18:00 minutes in.


Additionally there was a Newspaper article about the Green Flag Award for Parks Scheme within the Irish Times on Saturday the 14th of January:

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/environment/caring-of-the-green-ireland-wakes-up-to-the-value-of-public-parks-1.2932952



Photograph by Robert Moss, 3:52 pm, Saturday the 8th of October 2016.


October 2016:
Green Communities Wildflower Meadow for Bridgefoot Street.

There was a fantastic turn out for a An Taisce Green Communities Wildflower and Pollinator Workshop, that was recently held at Bridgefoot Street Community Garden on Saturday the 8th of October 2016.

There was perfect gardening weather, it being cloudy and dry, and undoubtedly this helped with the turnout which saw more than 30 people in attendance, some from as far away as Wexford and Tullamore. The event was of particular interest to Tidy Towns Groups as this competition now encourages pollinator friendly planting and landscaping under the criteria of “Wildlife, Habitats & Natural Amenities” within the competition . 

After a brief talk about the aims and achievements of the Bridgefoot Street Community Garden, and the horticultural challenges specific to the site, garden volunteer Robert Moss then handed over to Erin Jo Tiedeken from the National Biodiversity Data Centre. Erin talked about the new “All Ireland Pollinator Plan” and explained that there are 97 bee species in Ireland: the honeybee, 20 species of bumblebee, and 76 species of solitary bee. Unfortunately many of these species are in serious decline due to habitat loss, and the application of pesticides as part of intensive modern farming practices. The single biggest threat faced by many pollinating insects is the loss of native wildflowers which provide flowers and food throughout much of the year, instead of during a narrow window of bloom as is the case with flowering crops such as Rape Seed. Consequently planting a wildflower area is one of the ways gardeners and community groups can assist with protecting our Bee populations, and those of other Pollinating Insects. Erin explained the aims of the All Ireland Pollinator Plan, and some of the 24 low/no-cost pollinator friendly actions that it provides to suit all local communities:

See:http://www.biodiversityireland.ie/…/all-…/local-communities/

After lunch we then set about clearing a large section of the community garden to plant a wild flower plot with a mixture of flowers. The top soil brought into the community garden had been heavily treated with chemical fertilizer. Because of this the growth of nitrogen loving weeds such as Dock, Dandelion, Nettle, and Rye Grass tend to grow very aggressively. These already compete with the vegetables planted in the garden, and would out compete the wildflower seedlings. The reason that wildflower meadows are usually found growing on poor soils is that it is here where they will not be outgrown and overshadowed by the rapid growth of a few nitrogen loving plants.

After the plot was carefully dug and weeded, we then scattered 100g of wildflower seed. The site was then raked to keep the pigeons from eating the seed. For optimum growth of wildflowers the seeds grow best when left overwinter for a dormant period.

There was also a good media attendance at the event with the Sunday Times, Eco-Eye, and the Dublin Enquirer all present.

Many thanks to Erin from the National Biodiversity Data Centre, Tony O'Rourke for cooking the potatoes that we previously dug from the wildflower plot, Zoe Obeimhen for organising the filming with Eco-Eye, Ciaran and Suzanne for running a Seed Bomb Workshop for kids, and the many Green Communities Volunteers who turned out to assist.

As things began to wind up at 3 pm Eco-Eye arrived to film a piece about the garden. This should screen in early 2017.

There are more photographs posted on the Green Communities Facebook page. See:

https://www.facebook.com/An-Taisce-Green-Communities-133325730075465/

 


September 2016:
Green Communities Visit to Millennium Park Community Garden, on Thursday the 1st of September 2016.

An audio clip with slides from the Green Communities visit to Millennium Park Community Garden, on Thursday the 1st of September. In this voice recording Cian can be heard discussing the effect of Climate Change upon the Moths of Ireland:


https://www.facebook.com/133325730075465/videos/1168886659852695/


This involved a talk by Cian Merne about the Moths or Ireland, followed by a trapping session. Species recorded were as follows: Large Yellow Underwing x 2 Garden Carpet x 1 Common Marbled Carpet x 1 Light Brown Apple Moth x 1 Square-spot Rustic x 1 Also sighted feeding on flowers 4-5 Silver Y's.


www.mothsireland.com/


A cool cloudy evening, with a hint of cold as befits the first day of autumn, after nightfall there was slight rain/drizzle. Millennium Community Garden, Millennium Park, Blanchardstown, Dublin, Ireland. 


Photograph by Robert Moss, 9:20 pm, Thursday 1st of September 2016.

July 2016:

On Sunday the 17th of July 19 people from Green Communities Groups across Dublin came along to the Howth Harbour Nature Walk and Talk.
With Brendan Price of the Irish Seal Sanctuary, and some of the Fishermen and other Coast Guard Volunteers, we were given a tour around the Coast Guard Station. This served to explain how the Coast Guard operates with a volunteer staff, and covers all aspects of coastal safety from cliff walkers, swimmers, sailors, fishermen, across to pollution control and wildlife rescue ... hence the connection with the Irish Seal Sanctuary. We also heard a talk from Brendan about seals and from Johnnie about the experience of local fishermen with fluctuating fish stocks.
After this we all took a walk along the East Pier to meet up with Patrick Jackson who has been involved with local beach cleanup events for many years. Patrick had assembled a display of some of the stranger items recovered over the years ... including confusing messages left in bottles to float about in the ocean. Patrick also spoke about the problem of marine litter, and plastic litter in particular, which poses a threat to the health of marine creatures and those that eat them ... us!

A very hot sunny day with a huge turnout of visitors to Howth! 

Many thanks to Brendan, Johnnie, Patrick, and the Irish Coast Guard Volunteers.

Dublin Bay Biosphere Website: 

http://www.dublinbaybiosphere.ie/

Dublin Bay Biosphere Leaflet: 

http://biosphere-uploads.s3.amazonaws.com/1437039610-1436192049-Biosphere-Leaflet-.pdf


Photograph by Robert Moss Sunday 17th of July 2016.

June 2016:

Green Communities Volunteers were at the Body and Soul Festival over the weekend delivering workshops in the "Us and You" Campsite. Sustainability is at the core of Body&Soul’s ethos, and for those festival goers looking for a less rubbish and waste filled camping experience this is the site to choose. See:

http://bodyandsoul.ie/accommodation/us-you/

Green Communities workshops consisted of demonstrating how to take cuttings from herbs, and explaining the properties of these herbs. Part of the workshop was to make use of discarded coffee cups that participants found on site. These were then converted into plant pots for the participants to use for potting their herbal cuttings and then growing into new plants at home. A nice sustainable circle incorporating horticulture with recycling.
The work shops were well received and ideally suited to the location and clientele.

Saturday was a pleasant day of cloudy sunshine, Sunday a less pleasant day of persistent rain.
A very enjoyable festival held in beautiful gardens and woodlands at Ballinlough Castle, Co. Westmeath.


Photograph by Gavin Kenny Sunday 19th of June 2016.

May 2016:
Green Communities Visit to Russborough Gardens: 21/05/2016
On Saturday the 21st of May a dozen community gardeners from various community gardens across Dublin made the trip out to Russborough in County Wicklow. The weather forecast was not great, but as is often the case in Ireland the weather had other plans. The weather was warm and sunny, and the old walled garden well looked after by the Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland volunteers. Volunteer gardeners visiting the site included individuals from Bridgefoot Street, Cherryorchard, and Serenity Community Gardens, as well as Grattan Park, and Pearse College Allotments, and WALK. We were all struck by the meticulous horticulture on display, and the range of plants being grown ... particularly flowers for display. Most impressive was the calm and peaceful nature of this mature garden, dating from around 1740. There is still much work to be done in the garden in terms of rehabilitating it to its former glory, with only half of the 3.5 acre site currently cultivated. A flock of sheep assist with keeping the grass under control in the other half of the walled site.The half of the garden under cultivation is cared for entirely by RHSI volunteer workers, with no paid staff. The walled gardens and the Demesne estate at Russborough House are open to the public for free. Membership of the RHSI provides free and discounted access to many other significant gardens across Ireland. See: www.rhsi.ie

After tea and cake we were given a guided tour of the garden by Denise Gill of the RHSI. After this Denise led a workshop on Dalia propagation. Despite having tubors like potatoes these plants do not propagate from individual tubors but must instead be split into smaller plants that have both tubors and growing stems attached.

The Walled garden at Russborough could make any urban gardener jealous, but primarily we were all grateful to experience a peaceful garden harmonised with nature. It affords the opportunity to stop worrying about the stress and routine of city life. In the city a barrage of demands and threats seems to constantly envelope you, perhaps from living in close proximity to 1 million plus people and their various dramas. Here in Wicklow the warm sunny day was filled with Swallows and birdsong, and then ended with a thunder storm. Driving back over the hills to Dublin we saw the city obscured in a grey downpour of rain. And that is how the weather continued all evening ... one rain storm after another!



May 2016:
Green Communities Wild Flower Walk & Talk, Corkagh Park: 07/05/16
The Green Communities Wild Flower Walk and talk went ahead in collaboration with South Dublin County Council Parks Department and the National Biodiversity Data Centre. 
Unfortunately we faced a cold cloudy day after a week of mild sunshine. The skies were opaque with Nimbostratus like cloud after earlier rainfall this morning.

After a slide show and talk about Ireland’s Wild Flowers, we then walked around the park identifying and recording some of the species within Corkagh Park. These records contribute towards the National Vascular Plant Database!
The aim of the National Vascular Plant Database is to build a picture of Ireland’s flora and to help drive plant conservation in Ireland through better data.

During the walk Una and Oisin demonstrated what’s involved in the new plant monitoring scheme, where a 2 metre square patch of grass land is surveyed once a year to list the number of plant species it supports. For more information see: 

http://www.biodiversityireland.ie/projects/vascular-plants/plant-monitoring-scheme/how-to-take-part/

There was plenty of bird life to be seen as well. Four newly arrived Swifts were powering about backwards and forwards over the fishing ponds, amongst the Swallows and Sand Martins. We also saw nesting Grey Heron. 
Corkagh Park is located near the Naas road stretching towards Clondalkin. Opened to the public in 1986, it consists of 120 hectares and was formerly part of Corkagh Demesne.


The rare Early Dog Violet. recognised by its purple coloured spur behind the flower. Photograph by William Brennan, Saturday the 7th of May 2016.

April 2016:
Green Communities Hop Garden Workshop at Bridgefoot Street, Dublin 8: 30/04/2016

Saturday the 30th of April saw a new Hop Garden installed within the Bridgefoot Street Community Garden. Starting from 12 noon the posts and wire were set up by early arrivals including Tim Holmes, Niall O Coinleáin, Hubert Martin, and Robert Moss. Around a dozen people attended the event and heard a talk by Tim Holmes about Hops and their cultivation. We then planted 8 new Golden Tassle Hop Vines to be trained along the wires strung between posts across the garden. After lunch we then distributed Hop seeds for planting and future cultivation. These will take 1-3 months to germinate before producing a rhizome ready for planting out next year. Only the female vines produce Hop Cones for harvesting. Males must be weeded out as they will seed the female Hop cones and spoil the taste of the Hops!
A fine sunny day with two Swallows in attendance over Island Street. Many thanks to Dublin City John Paul Park for the posts, Diageo and St. James Gate GIY Garden for Hop vines, and all of the Green Communities participants.


April 2016:
Community Garden Network Event at An Gairdin Beo, Carlow:16/04/16
This event was organised by Dee Sewell, of the Community Garden Network, with the aim of creating a community garden network in Carlow.

Green Communities delivered a talk about the aims and successes of both Green Communities, and Dublin Community Growers, as networks to promote community gardening and to provide self supporting networks for these important initiatives.

The objective of the day was to create a Carlow network of community gardens and to explore the possibility of community gardens becoming places of environmental outdoor education as well as for gardening and food.

Robert Moss spoke about Dublin Community Growers being set up in 2009 as a knowledge resource for community garden initiatives across Dublin. At that time many new community gardens were being established and faced an arduous genesis. Issues such as permission, insurance, equipment, resources, site access, and attracting volunteers were all formidable challenges that each garden was having to painfully resolve on their own. An organisation that pooled knowledge was required, and Dublin Community Growers established regular monthly meetings so that gardeners could seek advice and swap information. Probably the greatest success of Dublin Community Growers is in promoting community gardens as a important aspect of community development in the eyes of the 4 Dublin local authorities and beyond.

Robert also explained the evolution of the Green Communities Programme. This now exists as a network of over 30 member groups across Dublin. Green Communities provides monthly training events, field trips, ground work, and the necessary insurance for community gardens to operate within the public realm. Most importantly it provides a self supporting network of like minded community groups.

After the talks and questions we were then given a tour around the site of the new An Gairdin Beo within the grounds of St. Leo's Convent. The site has huge potential as wildlife refuge as well as a community garden.

After lunch we then had a brainstorming session as to how to go about establishing a community garden network within Carlow. It was suggested that each of the 9 community gardens across Carlow organise and host a Carlow Community Garden Network event throughout the year. These may involve open days, harvest festivals, workshops, BBQ, or meitheal. The other community gardens will attend and assist as much as possible. This may avoid the need for centralised administration which is very demanding on the time of volunteers and can detract from the activity of gardening. It would also create an entity with a formidible programme of events better placed to attract volunteers and funding. It was also pointed out by one of the speakers that the new SICAP funding has a mandate to favour networks of collaborative groups.

All in all a very productive day. Many thanks to Dee Sewell for organising the event, and to all the An Gairdin Beo crew for their hospitality.


February 2016:
Dear plant recording network: 

We are collaborating with the BSBI this spring to try and improve our knowledge of the distribution of some common plantshttp://www.biodiversityireland.ie/projects/vascular-plants/

If you see any of these species, please help by submitting your record here http://bit.ly/1PiCzLM

1. Bluebell
2. Common Dog-violet
3. Cowslip
4. Early Dog-violet
5. Early-purple Orchid
6. Lady’s smock (Cuckooflower)
7. Lesser Celandine
8. Lords-and Ladies
9. Primrose
10. Toothwort
11. Wild Garlic (Ramsons)
12. Winter Heliotrope
13. Wood Anemone
14. Wood Sorrel

Early Dog-violet is not common and can be difficult to identify. Unless you are a recorder known to the Data Centre, we would ask that you try to accompany any records of this species with a photograph of the spur.

Many thanks for any help you can provide and looking forward to seeing which species and county gets the most records over the coming months!

Úna

Dr Úna FitzPatrick
Ecologist
National Biodiversity Data Centre
051-306240

http://www.biodiversityireland.ie/



November 2015:
Green Communities participated in the Dublin Made me Market on Sunday the 1st of November 2015.

The Dublin Made Me Market is a free one-day market and talks event in Smock Alley brought to you by journalist Catherine Cleary and Dublin 2020.

At the talks we heard from Tony Lowth (NCAD Garden), Kaethe Burt-O’Dea (Spuds and Lifeline project), Iseult Ward (Food Cloud), Elaine Doyle (seed bombs), historian Juliana Adelman (a short history of farm animals in Dublin), Robert Moss (The Garden City) and Duncan Walker (from the Walkinstown Green Kitchen).

Green Communities and DCG volunteers manned an information desk promoting the various community gardens around the city, and registered plenty of garden volunteers. Thanks to Robert Moss, Sonya Agnew, and Will Brennan for volunteering to help on the day.

Also present was the new Fallen Fruit project coordinated by Bernie Brannick. Andrew Jordan from the DCU Community garden ensured that a free flow of freshly pressed apple juice was available to all.

The Bridgefoot Street Community garden also supplied the potatoes that were cooked by Graham Neville into a delicious Champ. A superb way to end the first gardening season at Bridgefoot Street, and to begin the month of November with.


Photograph by Miren Samper 2015.

October 2015:

The Green Communities Field Trip to Julianstown in County Meath was held on Saturday the 24th of October 2015.
After torrential rain in the morning around 8 am the day then began to clear and develop into a bright and sunny, albeit cold day. Transport to Julianstown was predominantly by mini bus provided by the Crumlin Community Guards. After collecting participants at Pearse College we then moved on to Bridgefoot Street Community Garden. Initially attendance did not look great, but soon after 11 am, and a number of visits to O'Rourke's Cafe, we then departed with a full bus, and car load of green Communities volunteers. Upon arrival at Julianstown Community Garden we met up with our hosts Claire and Niamh, along with other Julianstown gardeners and further car loads of participants. In all 27 people attended an informal tour of the garden that included much munching of freshly picked apples, puzzling over what to do with Medlars, and taking a wheel barrow full of Strawberry transplants. By 1 pm we were beginning to feel the cold up on the exposed ridge where the garden is located, and made plans to head off for lunch. This was provided by Julianstown Community Gardeners within the Parish Hall, which was on the way to Sonairte - our next destination. The lunch was much appreciated, and the warm parsnip soup and sandwiches were ideal for reviving us after the cold. At Sonaite we had some time to wonder among the orchards, poly-tunnels and soft fruit beds prior to a talk on Bee keeping for gardeners by Liam McGarry of County Dublin Bee Keepers Association. Unfortunately time ran out before everyone could ask all the questions that they had, and the mini bus had to return to Dublin. A few of us travelling by car were able to linger and walk around the gardens and nature reserve. This allowed us to collect blackberries, rose hips, and to gorge on late season raspberries within the garden. Many thanks to Sonairte, Julianstown Community Garden, Crumlin Community Guards, Damian Kirwan, and William Brennan.


October 2015:

Near FM Radio interviewed Green Communities on Friday the 2nd of Octoberand the link to the podcast is attached below.

The discussion covered:

• Green Communities October Events
• Bridgefoot Street Community Garden
• Dublin 2020
• Dublin Made Me Market
• NCAD and DCU Community Gardens
• Fallen Fruit Project

http://nearfm.ie/podcast/?p=16603

September 2015:

The Green Communities Moth Talk and Trapping went ahead at Dublin City University on Thursday the 17th of September: 

Many thanks to Samantha Fahy for making a meeting room available to Green Communities. We watched a very interesting presentation by Cian Merne of Moths Ireland which provided updates on the suspected resident population of Lime Hawk Moths within Dublin. This specie is now confirmed as breeding in Dublin, the first know location in Ireland to support such a population. 
While working in the DCU community garden earlier that day the weather had been pleasantly mild and cloudy, but after night fell then so did the rain. This, along with light pollution, may have adversely affected the number of Moth Species trapped as we mainly encountered the Light Brown Apple Moth ... which is hardly surprising in an Apple Orchard. The final tally for the night's trapping was as follows:

Light Brown Apple Moth: 5

Square-spot Rustic: 9

Silver Y: 1

White-shouldered House Moth: 1


September 2015:

An Taisce Green Communities Resource Management and Biodiversity Workshop:

This was held within the Fettercairn Community Centre on Tuesday the 8th of September. We began by looking at resource management and waste reduction actions, before Robert Moss delivered a slide show looking at how to employ wildlife friendly gardening techniques. After this Michael John O'Mahony delivered a talk on ecology and supporting habitats. As it was such a fine sunny day we then spent part of the afternoon within the well maintained Fettercairn Community Garden where we surveyed the many different wildflowers that were there to be found within lawns, walls, and among the flower beds. About thirteen people attended this afternoon event from Fettercairn Estate, Festina Lente, Brookfield Community Garden, South Dublin Allotments Association, and Cherryorchard Community Garden.
Thanks are due to fettercairn Community Centre for hosting us, Transdev for helping to organise the event, and also South Dublin County Council.



August 2015:

Green Communities Potato Harvest with the Kids Club from the Mendicity Centre: Thursday 20th of August.

The kids take part in an after school club hosted by the Mendicity Centre on Thursday's. This Thursday the 20th of August the club relocated to the nearby Bridgefoot Street Community Garden. Here they had a go at digging potatoes to take home to their families. Hopefully it will bring in a few more garden volunteers, and it was a fun way to end the day on a sunny evening. Bridgefoot Street Community Garden is open to the public from 1 pm to 4 pm every Saturday.


August 2015:

Bridgefoot Street Community Garden Potato Harvest: Saturday 1st of August.

Bridgefoot Street Community Garden held an open day on Saturday the 1st of August. About 20 people came to help dig the potato crop and share in a meal grown, dug, and cooked on Bridgefoot Street! Participants included local residents and also gardeners from other community gardens including; Brookfield Community Garden, Cherryorchard Community Garden, DCU Community Garden, NCAD Community Garden, Braithwaite Street Allotments. Many thanks are due to the Mendicity Centre for allowing the use of their kitchen in preparing a meal for all those who attended. This was a most enjoyable day as the weather was a rare day of warm sunshine after an unsettled and cold July. 
In all we harvested about 5 sacks of potatoes. Many people took a bag home with them and we delivered a sack each to the Mendicity Centre and Tony O'Rourke's Cafe.


July 2015:

The Green Communities Moth Talk and Trapping Event in Saint Catherine’s Park, Lucan went ahead successfully. Saturday the 18th of July was a warm sunny day, but by the evening when we gathered in the car park of St Catherine's Park the unsettled weather of July 2015 had changed once again. The temperature had dropped and on this ridge top behind Lucan Village we were exposed to a chilly evening. Luckily we had use of the ranger station to witness a slide show by John Harrington that covered the seasonal changes of plant and insect life along this stretch of the River Liffey. In total 18 people attended this event, which was held in a location difficult to reach without a car, but that contains allot of wildlife, and wonderful views of South Dublin, and the Wicklow Mountains. After John Harrington's talk we were given a presentation by Cian Merne of Moths Ireland. This covered why moths are important, how to trap them, how to record them, and how to identify them.

We also learnt about the recent strange rediscovery of the White Prominent in Kerry after its assumed extinction in the British Isles back in 1938. We were also told about the possibility of an undocumented population of Lime Hawk Moths that may exist in Central Dublin unbeknownst to science or anyone else.

After these presentations we ventured outside to set up the moth traps. Conditions were ideal for moths with a very dark night courtesy of a new moon, a fairly remote location, and rain as the weather had deteriorated still further. This sent some people home, but about eight of us braved the elements to see what we could find. We recorded many different moths including; Silver Wave, Ermine, and Swallow Tail Moths. Just seeing a tiny space within the park heaving with flies and moths of all sizes helped us to appreciate the immense amount of unseen tiny existences that the World supports, in their millions and billions and beyond. An endless regenerating cycle that ebbs and flows beyond our daily lives. We also detected a Leisler's Bat, and heard young foxes at play. 


July 2015:

Saturday the 4th of July saw the first of two July Green Communities Training Events, and this was held at Brookfield Community Garden, Jobstown, Tallaght, South Dublin. The day's main focus saw volunteers attempt to transform a wooden pallet into a flower planter to hang from walls or railings. This was no easy task as the warm sunny day was quite breezy which made measuring and afixing the landscaping material to the wooden planters more difficult. The workshop did not get underway until 1 pm as many people arrived quite late, the location being well hidden within a laneway off Brookfield Road in Jobstown. Also at least two guided tours of the garden were provided by Mary Clare Wallace, explaining who looks after the various different parts of the garden and the sequence of events thus far involved in the transformation of a disused laneway into this peaceful community garden next to Saint Aidan's National School. The workshop showed that by lining with landscaping material and planting with bedding flowers we can convert waste into a beneficial object that greatly improves the look of urban concrete walls and palisade fencing. It is a lot more time consuming than anticipated, but simple enough to do requiring only pallets, landscape material, staple gun, measuring tape, and scissors. Carpentry skills are not necessary, and the end result looks stunning. Hopefully the 30 odd people who attended will encourage more community gardens to begin transforming Dublin's ubiquitous palisade fencing into vertical floral displays using this method. For detailed instructions see:

http://www.upcyclethat.com/vertical-pallet-planter/3745/

The afternoon was beautifully warm and relaxed with a pleasant breeze, one light rain shower interrupted summer briefly just before lunch but this was over within minutes. After lunch we summoned our remaining energy to mount the planter upon the railings with cable ties before planting it up and watering the new vertical bed. 



June 2015:

Over 30 people attended the Green Communities Herbal Workshop on Saturday the 6th of June, at Bridgefoot Street Community Garden. Herbalist Deborah Tiernan provided a wealth of knowledge and instruction on the use of common herbs, including Dandelion & Nettle, specifically their health benefits. The event started with cups of herbal tea, before moving on to the properties and preperation of Dandelion and Stinging nettle. There was even some herbal wine to enliven lunch.
The day started cool and breezy, but later the wind died down and there was warm sunshine between the odd chilly shower of light rain. 
After the workshop a number of volunteers stayed to help weed between the rows of potatoes growing within the community garden. Many Rape Seed plants have sprung up all over the site, probbaly transported with the topsoil from Meath. It was great to see many of the new allotment plot holders out in force as well, getting to grips with their new gardens, and creating a sense of the site being productively and enthusiastically utilised after many years.



May 2015:

The May 2015 Green Communities training event went ahead on Saturday the 23rd of May, at Bridgefoot Street Community Garden. This saw between 20 and 30 people attend a "No Dig" garden training talk and demonstration by Tony Lowth of the NCAD Urban Farm.

The No Dig Gardening method utilises large quantities of compost and mulch on compacted and unfertile soil in order to grow produce. It is an ideal technique for urban growing as it can be combined with community composting projects to grow upon un-fertile and highly compacted brown field sites. Such un-dug beds can typically yield 5 % more than traditional tilled beds, and without all the effort. Furthermore the mycelia fungi within the soil, which deliver much of the plants required nutrients, are better preserved within no dig beds.

The day was warm and sunny, seeing the reappearance of white butterflies after their having been absent for most of May, due to the cold and unsettled weather. Also a welcome site were two Swift that were seen screeching over the rooftops of Robert Emmett Walk Flats.

The allotments were also well tended on Saturday, it being the first hot day (nearly) of the year. Volunteers for the community garden are also very welcome. We are usually active on site from 1 pm on Saturday's. Entrance is through the side gate on Bridgefoot Street. 



April 2015:

The April 2015 Green Communities event was attended by between 30 and 40 people. This vegetable propagation workshop, by Stephen Alexander of Teagasc, covered planting, and the propagation of vegetable crops. Items covered also included organic slug control and disease resistant vegetable varieties.

This was followed by a talk on a wide variety of Herb Plants by Peter Cuthbert. These included Rosemary, Oregano, Mint, and Lemonbalm.

After these workshops a number or those attending helped with the planting of herb specimens provided by Peter Cuthbert, and Brassica plugs from Stephen Alexander within the new community garden.

Thanks are due to the Mendicity Centre for the use of their facilities, and also the Dublin Mens Shed Group for helping set up the workwshop and prepare lunch.

The day's weather was fantastic with bright sunshine on a cool fresh day. Warm sunny spring weather finally arrived on the first weekend of the month and lasted a week before being replaced by cold and unsettled weather. Throughout the last week the weather remained bright, and the temperature has slowly climbed back from cold to cool. The stop start arrival of Spring in April has also seen an epidemic of Peacock Butterflies.



Photograph by Robert Moss, 2015.

March 2015:


On Friday the 6th of March the Bridgefoot Street Community Garden once again opened its gates to the public after being closed for around 4 years. The event was opened with an address by Bruce Phillips (DCC) followed by a talk about organic soil fertility from Robert Moss (An Taisce EEU). This addressed the nature and importance of fertile soil for plant health, disease resistance, and productive cultivation.

After the initial planting ceremony lunch was organised by Mary Lynch of DCC. The rest of the afternoon was divided between workshops on soil conditioning and composting delivered by William Brennan, and with digging horse manure into the new community garden bed. Thanks are also due to David Healy of DCC, Charles Richards of the Mendicity Centre, and all of the many volunteers who came along to support Dublin's newest community garden.

Although the day began overcast the cloud cover was at a high level and the light good. Sunshine began to break out later in the afternoon as the wind subsided.

Addendum:
· Fertile soil is among the most precious yet underrated of all resources.
· Soil is not inanimate dirt but is actually “Living Earth” that teems with life.
· A teaspoon full of soil contains more microscopic living organisms than there are people on the earth!


Photograph by Robert Moss, 2015.

February 2015:

The first An Taisce Green Communities event for 2015 was a visit to the Millennium Community Garden, Coolmine, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15, on Saturday the 14th of February. Although somewhat difficult to locate for the first time, around 40 people made the visit to this walled garden immediately behind the Blanchardstown Civic Offices.

The day involved a tour of the garden followed by lunch. The garden contains vegetable and fruit beds, poly-tunnel, water collection and storage, and an alternative energy site. John Harrington of Fingal County Council provided demonstrations on pruning apples, currants, gooseberries and a range of hybrid berries. This activity provided plenty of cuttings for visitors to take back to their own gardens.
It was a fairly mild cloudy day, although still cold when standing around, after a late st
art we wrapped up proceedings by about 2:30 pm.

Photograph by Christina Offot, 2015.

January 2015:

The first An Taisce Green Communities event for 2015 will be a visit to the Millennium Community Garden, Coolmine, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15, on Saturday the 14th of February at 11 am.

 This will involve a tour of the garden followed by lunch. The garden contains vegetable and fruit beds, poly-tunnel, water collection and storage, and an alternative energy site. After lunch we plan to have a pruning and propagation session. John Harrington of Fingal County Council has kindly agreed to give the demonstration on pruning apples, currants, gooseberries and a range of hybrid berries. There are plenty of plants so lots of opportunity to take home cuttings. People should bring their own secateurs if possible and wear warm clothes. John has been involved in the restoration of the Shakleton Gardens in Clonsilla, and will hopefully be able to explain some of the work being done to rescue these gardens. For more information see:

http://www.gazettegroup.com/news/e213k-in-funding-for-shackleton-gardens/

The garden is located in Millennium Park, beside Fingal County Council Offices, Blanchardstown. Any bus that takes you to Blanchardstown Shopping centre will leave you within a few minutes walk - Cross the road from the shopping centre towards Draiocht theatre and past the Council Offices, turn right and we'll have signs out from there.

Bus Stop No. 2960

Blanchardstown, Shopping Centre 

Routes serving this stop:

220 Towards Ballymun (Shangan Rd.)
236 Towards Damastown
238 Towards Tyrrelstown
76a Towards Tallaght (The Square)

For public transport servicing Blanchardstown Shopping Centre please see: www.dublinbus.ie

For more information on this event or to book a place then contact Robert Moss at: rmoss@eeu.antaisce.org

December 2014:

The Advocacy Unit of An Taisce will be holding another Film Night on the evening of Thursday the 11th of December. This time we will be screening the shocking and critically acclaimed documentary "Cowspiracy" in the beautiful Great Hall of our very own Tailor's Hall.

Doors are at 7.30pm and the screening begins at 8 pm. Tickets are 5 euros at the door. 

Please see the link below to the advertisement on the An Taisce website, which contains all of the details of the screening and how to register to attend:

http://www.antaisce.org/events/taisce-film-nights-present-cowspiracy

December 2014:

The Launch of the Eastern-Midlands Draft Regional Waste Management Plan – new region new vision.

For the purposes of waste management planning, Ireland is now divided into three regions: Southern, Eastern-Midlands, Connacht-Ulster.

The Eastern-Midlands Region encompasses the local authorities: Dublin City, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal, South Dublin, Kildare, Louth, Laois, Longford, Meath, Offaly, Westmeath and Wicklow.

* A key plan target is to achieve a 1% reduction per annum in the quantity of household waste generated per capita over the period of the plan.

* To recycle 50% of all municipal waste by 2020.

* The plan identifies measures to develop a circular economy where waste management initiatives stop being confined to treating and disposing of waste, instead supporting initiatives that value waste as a resource or potential raw material.

Additionally the Waste Management Plans seek to address significant contamination within the waste stream. Also of strategic concern is the development of a domestic thermal treatment industry, as the quantity of municipal waste exported now rivals that going to landfill! Partly this in response to the landfill levy. 

A period of public consultation will continue from 18th November until the 30th of January 2015. Following the public consultation stage written submissions will be considered and the final regional waste management plans will be published by the end of March 2015.

Interested parties can access the new draft plan at: http://emwr.ie/

Submissions should be made by the 30th of January 2015, to:

Regional Waste Coordinator.
Eastern-Midlands Region Waste Management Office,
Dublin City Council,
Environment and Transportation Department,
Block 1, Floor 6,
Civic Offices,
Dublin 8.
01 2222023
Email: emwr@dublincity.ie

November 2014:

The Green Communities Resource Use Management Clinic went well on Thursday the 27th of November. This was the final 2014 Green Communities Event and consisted of a slide show covering:

• An Taisce’s Green Home Programme
• Irish Waste Management Plan Policy
• Waste Minimisation and the National Waste Prevention Programme
• Green Home and Tidy Towns
• Waste Minimisation and Resource Use Management for Tidy Towns Groups

Attendees were made aware of the fact that the three new Waste Management Planning Regions have now published their draft waste management plans. These are open to public submissions until the 31st of January 2015. All Tidy Towns Groups attending were advised to take a look at our regional draft management plan on the http://emwr.ie/ website, and to consider making submissions, which should be included as an appendix within their 2015 Tidy Towns Applications under the “Waste Minimisation and Resource Use Management” criteria of the competition application.
A significant driver for the new waste management plans, aside from EU directives, is to see a domestic industry benefit from waste as a resource instead of it all being exported for treatment and use in other countries. A major initiative here is the development of a domestic waste to energy thermal treatment industry. 

This presentation was followed by a group discussion on Waste. The two topics that were of most interest were:

• Issues with brown bin collections affecting brown bin usage
and
• Access to organic non peat based compost for community groups.

Tidy Towns Groups that were not already Green Home Tidy Towns Groups were also registered with the Green Home Programme, which is a recommended action within the “Waste Minimisation and Resource Use Management” criteria of the Tidy Towns Competition.
The importance of Tidy Towns Groups working with An Taisce Green Schools on collaborative “Waste Minimisation and Resource Use Management” projects was also emphasised as this also improves scoring.