Plans for a Festival of Scarecrows in Galway

Thanks to the enthusiastic efforts of the children of Scoil San Phroinsias Tirellan Heights and the Sunny Meadows preschool as well as local teenagers from housing estates such as Lus Leana, dozens of colourful scarecrows of all shapes and sizes populated the vegetable beds of the Ballinfoile Mór Community Organic Garden as part of last Sunday’s Celebration of Local Community event.

 In spite of the initial heavy rainfall, hundreds of local residents still came attracted not just by the army of scarecrows but also the horse shoes being fired at the blacksmithy forge by members of Cumann na bhFear (Men’s Shed) the giant outdoor clay oven that provided free pizzas to the attendees; the face-painting, the wooden toys workshop; the Smoothies stall and the home-made foods such as apple tarts created from the fruit and vegetable produce of the community garden.

Gabriel Henry with his granddaughter Amy Henry with the scarecrow that she and her class made
The children who visited Sunday’s outdoor community event were so excited to see the scarecrows that they created positioned in the vegetable beds, an enthusiasm that spilled over to their accompanying parents and grandparents. The experience was for them so magical as if each of the scarecrows seemed to have its own personality as well as its unique physical shape. 

So we have decided to discuss with local schools and youth groups the hosting of an annual festival of scarecrows commencing next spring, the season when up until a few decades ago these human-like structures made from old clothes and wood were positioned in fields to discourage birds from feeding on recently planted seeds and growing crops. This garden activity will form part of a revival of rural skills taking place in the locality which has also seen educational classes in blacksmithing and wood turning taking place at the Cumann na bhFear (Men’s Shed Ballinfoile) and the mowing of a wildflower meadow using scythes in the Terryland Forest Park. 

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