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An Gairdín Beo 2037

8 September 2017

South Central


An Gairdín Beo 2037

(Recently the members of the committee of An Gairdín Beo, Carlow were invited to share their vision/dream for the garden in 20 years’ time.)

“As I visit An Gairdín Beo today, almost 20 years on from when it was first established, I look around with great satisfaction.  The growing area is now a hub for grow-it-yourself members.  They come as individuals and as groups to share their knowledge, their produce and their hands.  There is always a great atmosphere in this part of the garden, with young and old involved together.

The buildings are host to numerous courses and one-off events all year round.  The garden has a reputation of being a place where it is not just plants that grow, people grow too.  Even though the rental costs are kept to a minimum (we never let money issues get in the way of a good idea happening), the buildings ensure that the garden has a regular income to not only meet our costs, but to allow us to provide a number of no cost days to specific groups.

The meditative garden is my favourite part of An Gairdín Beo.  It draws you close and because it is now ‘enclosed’ within the wooded area, it has a protective feel. 

The sounds of running water and bees humming blend in natural harmony with the smells of flowers, blossoms and herbs.  Even when other parts of the garden are active, here there is a quietness that those new-fangled virtual reality kiosks just cannot match.

The biodiversity area has become a kind of outdoor classroom for younger children and their parents.  One of the attractions of the garden is that groups like to use the inside and outside parts for their group activities.  You will always find children with grubby hands in this part of the garden.  Extending the pond to a larger marsh area with its boardwalk and muddy path alternatives lets everyone get close to experiencing nature in all its diversity. 

It is hard to believe that the rainwater harvesting system, first installed in 2017, is now a requirement on all newly build houses and apartment blocks.  What was the tennis-court area is now home to a state of the art electricity generating outdoor fitness center.  New technology allows for the electricity generated by using the equipment to be stored and used to heat, light and power the whole garden. 

Finally, the pizza oven.  So many delicious pizzas, so many gatherings, so many conversations, connections, dreams, friendships, ideas, plans and laughter. 

An Gairdin Beo, truly a living garden for Carlow, here's to the next 20 years.

John McHugh, Chairperson, An Gairdin Beo

Mary Carmody rsm
South Central Province


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