Scarecrows, Pedal-Powered Smoothies & Blacksmith Forge Amongst the Highlights of Ballinfoile Harvest Festival



Face painting with Anja Sammon

Scarecrows, pedal-powered fruit smoothies, blacksmith forge, multi-ethnic cuisine, birdwatching excursion, a bugs detective experience and a bike maintenance workshop were some of the highlights of last Saturday’s Harvest Festival in the Ballinfoile Mór Community Organic Garden held in the grounds of the Terryland Forest Park.

In spite of the atrocious weather at the weekend, hundreds of people turned up to enjoy an exciting programme of events that appealed to all ages and all traditions in a wonderful garden setting that is a tribute to the skills and civic enthusiasm that exists amongst the residents of Ballinfoile, Bothár an Choiste and Tirellan.
Social Inclusivity: Volunteer gardeners from the
Lisbrook Asylum Seekers Accommodation Centre

The festival was a successful fusion of local volunteerism; environmental, community and art organizations idealism and the public service ethos of many staff in state agencies.
Michael Tiernan from Cumann na bhFear working the Forge

Mayor Hildegarde Naughton complimented the organisers, and along with councilor Frank Fahy and Derek Nolan TD, spent considerable time enjoying the positive ambiance of the occasion.
Mayor of Galway city Cllr Hildegarde Naughton, with Daire Smith & renowned Galway hurler Alan Kerins


Councillor Frank Fahy with Tom Cuffe who provided a very informative guided birdwatching tour of nearby woodlands

There were stalls selling locally grown fruit, herbs and vegetables;
Selling Vegetables & Fruits harvested from the community garden

tasty fruit smoothies produced by pedal power; a blacksmith forge; a multi-ethnic food fair; a home baking counter, a bird-watching tour of the surrounding woodlands; face painting; craft displays; a free bike maintenance workshop; a large marine aquarium; a trad music seisiún; disc jockeys; bug detective trails, and a medicinal herbal information stand.
Michael Quinn(L) from Galway Civic Trust enjoying some of the delightful ethnic dishes provided

What was particularly eye-catching though was the fantastic array of 40 plus colourful scarecrows that dotted the garden created by the children of Scoil San Phroinsias and the Sunny Meadow’s playschool.
Neighbourhood festivals based around locally grown food produce, culture, heritage, sport and environmental awareness are growing in popularity worldwide. Over the last few years events such as the Boreen Festivals of Castlegar have started to capture the public imagination in suburban Galway. In times of deepening recession, rising unemployment and decreasing national expectations, Irish people need to rediscover the importance of working with their neighbours to develop a sense of place, purpose and pride as well as a feeling of goodwill towards their localities. Traditionally, we as a nation have been characterized by a strong community ethos as exemplified by the GAA, ‘Meitheal’ and our coming together in times of adversity. So the festival was be grassroots based and will celebrate local volunteerism and demonstrate how residents working together for the common good can improve the quality of life in their communities.
Finally, a big thank you to Galway City Council and Galway City Partnership for all their support.
U3 (Frances, Deasan & Cathal) traditional music group

Visitors at the weekend also saw the fantastic contributions made by local people to the development of the garden over the last eighteen months including the drystone walls, hedgerows, poly-tunnel, vegetable plots, orchard, wildlife pond, wildflower meadow; path-laying, outdoor performance stage, disability-friendly raised beds, hazel hurdles, kitchen toilets, giant nature art mural and willow sculptures.
Bikers United! Brian MacGabhann & Cathal McCusker who were in charge of the Bike Maintenance Workshop

Distributing home-made ice lollies to the visitors

Kevin O'Hara from Atlantaquaria demonstrating the wonders of Galway Bay at the Marine Boat Aquarium


'Bug Detective' Stand from Dolores Keegan was one of the most popular stands at the Fest


Michael McDonnell, the backbone of the community garden for all things infrastructure, at the Cumann na bhFear workshop


Visitors left with a bountiful selections of fresh organic vegetables & fruits!



The Herbal Information Stall enlightened attendees on the medicinal value of what many still consider obnoxious Weeds


DJ Paul Coyne kept people entertained with his selection of Commentary & Celtic Rock music


Caroline, Justine & co provided a wide selection of month-watering multi-ethnic dishes to all & sundry!

The hard-working Caitriona Nic Mhuiris(left) was one of the engines of the Festival

Digging One's Own Dinner! -One of the great novelties of the Festival, was that we had many of the visitors
dig up their fruits and vegetables puchases!

Home-made Cakes & Jams Stall

Africans United! Pierre Ludwick from South Africa with a young west African friend


Tiernan McCusker pouring fruit smoothies from the pedal powered unit gracioulsy supplied by Liam Cobb of the West of Ireland Cycles

Scarecrows Galore!
The Children of Scoil San Phroinsias & Sunny Meadows playschool provided a breathtaking display of scarecrows,
each one of which had its individuality and character!



3 comments:

Caitriona Nic Mhuiris said...

You really captured the essence of the day Brendan. Thanks for posting such wonderful photos. The positive community spirit was sure to keep the clouds away! Tis a real pleasure working with such a creative and committed group. Ní near go chur le chéile ! Caitriona

Miss Ní Fhlatharta said...

Hey just saw that you have a picture here of dj Paul Coyne. Wer interested in hiring him for a party but can't find his Contact info anywhere any chance you forward us his info

Brendan Smith said...

I do not have his contact details on hand. But you should contact his friend John O'Donnell at Galway City Partnership.