From early June, the local Terryland branch of the Conservation Volunteers (CVTFP) have been involved on a weekly basis in removing rubbish from the Terryland Forest Park. The material is temporarily stored in a container shed kindly donated to the CVTFP by the council’s Parks division. The vast majority of the litter comprises beverage cans and bottles left behind by anti-social elements that are destroying so much of the county’s natural habitats and turning so many of our public parks, woodlands and beaches into no go areas for the general populace. Society has to face up to these activities that are destroying communities, neighbourhoods and our countryside. Removing the cans, bottles, shopping trolleys, cloths, needles, faeces and other detritus left behind becomes meaningless over time and is only treating the symptom and not the cause of the problem. In my opinion, the implementation of ASBOs and the sentencing by the courts of the culprits to beneficial community work will enhance local neighbourhoods, undo some of the damage that the perpetuators have done and hopefully educate them on the benefits of environmental care
Associated with this initiative, Tom photographed an amazing variety of wildlife that inhabits the woods, fields and riverbanks within the Terryland Forest Park’s boundaries including Sedge Warblers, Redpoll, Moorhen, Long tailed Tits, Hoverflies, Peacocks, Large Whites, Tortoiseshells, Lady’s Smock and Lesser Celandine. We now understand better the crucial importance that this natural reserve is to the biodiversity of the city.
ve Irish trees on what is intended to become over time a Poets’ Nature Walkway along the banks of the River Corrib close to the Black Box.
It is appropriate that this reconnection of the world of the Irish literati with trees occurs in Galway, a city that has for decades kept alive the ancient Celtic bardic respect for Mother Earth. Here in this urban landscape, environmentalists and artists often come from the same womb and share the same eco-values and beliefs.
Sadly, Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.
unique historical trail now links seven historical castles in Galway city and county and has the potential to give a whole new eco-tourism dimension to the region if it secures the active support of both local authorities.
The newly expanded Slí na gCaisleán route includes the isolated but picturesque Killeen graveyard an early Christian church or Iron Age settlement.
Notice in the photograph the large stone trough for collecting rainwater in front of the graveyard. These units are still used extensively on the fields of the Aran Islands.
8. Photo Exhibition of Terryland Forest Park at Tulca Galway Visual Arts Festival 2013
The park was one of the main themes of the Tulca Visual Arts Festival 2013 with an exhibition by renowned photographer Robert Ellis.
Robert was specifically commissioned by the festival curator Valerie Connor as she was fully aware of the under usage of the park by the general populace and wanted to highlight the huge positive potential that it dad for the city.
I was myself very happy to be separately involved in Tulca as the festival hosted a major show entitled the Speedie Telstar that commemorated the 50th anniversary of the world's first telecommunications satellite and the work of the Computer and Communications Museum of Ireland that I established at NUI Galway.
The shovels, spades and forks used by the volunteers for the Community Tree Planting Day or Plantathon (see item one above) day and those in the Ballinfoile Mór Community Organic Garden were implements recycled and repaired by the members of Cumann na bhFear who are an integral part of the Terryland Forest Park NGO alliance.
Photograph above shows Lenka with a basket of rhubarb off to be transformed into very tasty tarts and jams.
21. Home produced Food
One of the main reasons for setting up the Ballinfoile Mór Community Organic garden was to encourage local residents that participated in this neighbourhood green facility to develop their very own domestic gardens. I was one of those people that did so. Thanks to a lot of hard work and a constant battle with slugs and butterflies, our family over the last few years enjoy a rich variety of home produced vegetables and fruits including strawberries, potatoes, Brussel sprouts, apples, lettuce, cabbages, onions, turnips and rhubarb.
22. Creating a Home for Wildlife
Inspired by the developing Terryland Forest Park, I have over the years planted many native Irish trees and gradually dug up the non-native species. In 2013, we replaced the sterile Griselinia hedge with Holly trees and the Laurel shrub. Though the latter is not native, sadly I had to make a choice between a native plant that gave little protection and privacy to the garden or to go for a fast growing hedging plant that quickly formed a green barrier. In this case, I went for the latter. However other native trees, wildflowers, organic garden and bird feeders made up for this somewhat!
was co-organised by our good friend and garden expert Fergus Whitney. As you can see from the photograph, we did great work!
The house and garden is beautifully situated beside the Terryland Forest Park.
COPE works with those suffering from homelessness, isolation and domestic violence.
This new green facility will give a whole new dimension to the residents living this COPE house. As it was to participants in the Ballinfoile Mór Community Garden (& with other community gardens) this eco-resource is helping to improve residents' quality of life by undertaking healthy outdoor activity, by engaging in positive social interaction, by learning new skills in self-sufficiency and of course by ultimately enjoying harvesting and eating the fruits and vegetables that they nurtured.
Thanks in particular to the government's Incredible Edibles scheme, most schools now have their own garden growing vegetables, fruits, native Irish trees and wildflowers. This welcome development was initiated by the former Green Party Minister Trevor Sargent when he was a Minister of State in the last government.
The attached photograph shows a section of the garden in Scoil Naisiúnta Caisleán Gearr (Castlegar) which was revamped and officiated opened with a lovely community reception in June 2012.
26. Donkeys on the Farm
Our family has a small farm holding in Currantarmuid near Monvea in county Galway.
At present, we lease the land to local farmers who use the fields for grazing cattle and donkeys
27. Greening St. Patrick's Day Festival with Westside Garden & Cumann na bhFear
Thanks to the energetic leadership of director Caroline McDonagh, the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in Galway city over the last two years has had a very strong community ethos with Cumann na bhFear, thematic green schools and community gardens amongst many others providing a colourful eco-presence. None more so than the Westside Community Garden in last year's event.
|High Nellys on Parada|
In August, Galway City Partnership officially launched their newly completed rooftop community organic garden. This green oasis is located in a not very attractive building complex in one of the most traffic congested districts but which nevertheless commands breathtaking views of the River Corrib and adjacent Terryland Forest. The facility contains a fantastic range of wooden garden furniture and vegetable/flower beds which are uniquely wheelchair friendly. The GPA have helped the people involved to establish their own wood making business enterprise.
The community organic garden at Ballybane each year goes from strength to strength. In 2013 it completed a wonderful children s eco-playground, a very welcome addition to the families in the neighbouring housing estates.
Atlantaquaria in Salthill is the country’s national aquarium. In 2013 this treasured national marine learning resource continued to maintain seawater tanks in schools across the West of Ireland that were filled with a myriad of wildlife associated with rock-pools (lochan sáile). Their seashore safaris, beach clean-ups and summer marine science camps have now become regular occurrences on the annual calendar of events.
34. Galway & Claddagh Swan Rescue
Mary Joyce-Glynn (one of my students!) and all her volunteers at the Galway & Claddagh Swan Rescue do so much wonderful work helping to protect swans (and other wild birds) in Galway. One of the great traditional symbols of Galway are the swans of the Claddagh which I and hundreds of others enjoy feeding on a Saturday afternoon. But it is Mary and co that protect so many of these magnificent regal birds