Community Stories  >  Case Studies

An Gairdín Beo - In Bloom!

It is hardly a coincidence that community gardens began to flourish in the aftermath of a property crash that left our towns and cities scarred by abandoned sites and gaping stretches of waste ground.

In a very real and literal sense, nature abhorred the terrible vacuum that was left behind. Almost overnight, community gardens began to sprout in every conceivable location: disused car parks, vacant sites and the common areas of apartment complexes.

Unlike allotments or private growing spaces, community gardens provide a common area where both work and the harvest are shared.

An Gairdín Beo is an entirely urban variant of this phenomenon and was established in 2014 at the heart of Carlow Town, on what was formerly a disused, overgrown site close to St Leo’s Convent.

Having agreed a 20 year lease with the Sisters of Mercy, local community groups then set about creating what they described as a ‘living garden’.

From the outset the ethos has been one of diversity, inclusion and sustainability with an emphasis on organic growing methods and indigenous plant species.

An Gairdín Beo proved an unparalleled success and sought to build on that success by making greater use of their available resources. This includes a disused school gym on the site which the project team planned to refurbish to provide better facilities and allow for the development of a wider range of activities on site, centred on community engagement and learning.

Local surveys have identified a clear need for such a resource, as community groups in the area often find it difficult to secure appropriate space for their activities.

The group sought and secured support from Clann Credo for an ambitious initiative that has clearly put down deep roots in the local community.



Location: Carlow Town

Website: http://www.angairdinbeo.org/p/home.html

"From the outset the ethos has been one of diversity, inclusion and sustainability with an emphasis on organic growing methods and indigenous plant species."