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Seed of an idea bears rich fruit for garden duo

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Lifestyle –  Judy Murphy meets two energetic women who have restored an old garden to become a community resource

A special Harvest Festival at Doorus House, four miles south of Kinvara, will take place next September, marking the 10th anniversary of a unique community enterprise.

The Community Orchard Project has seen a derelict, neglected garden brought back to life and production, complete with fruit trees, polytunnels, beehives, pizza hut, a bio-diversity garden and a pergola, in an initiative led by two local women.

The Community Orchard Project was the brainchild of Lynn O’Keeffe-Lascar, who was joined early on by Anna Jeffrey Gibson.

It consists of slightly less than an acre to the rear of Doorus House, which was built in the late 1860s and once owned by the de Basterots, a wealthy French family, who were friends of Lady Gregory. They used it as a holiday home until the 1940s. It then changed hands and remained in private ownership until it was taken over by the Irish Youth Hostelling group, An Óige in the 1960s.

Unfortunately, the hostel has been closed for the past two years, although the women are hopeful it will re-open – it’s the last of the organisation’s hostels to remain closed.

“When we started the walled garden it was a busy hostel and there is also the caravan park at Traught beach, so there was a lot of activity,” explain the two women.

The restoration of Doorus walled garden began 10 years ago, thanks to Lynn, who is originally from Oranmore. She’s not from a farming background, but she always loved gardening and, after her Leaving Cert, did a course in organic gardening in the UK before returning to Ireland.

She didn’t have enough space for a garden in the house she and her husband, Nico, were renting locally, so she put out feelers and the postman told her about the garden at Doorus House. She approached An Óige who were receptive to the idea. At the time it was completely overgrown and they were happy to have somebody take on the challenge.

She put up a sign looking for volunteers and Anna came on board. Born in England and reared in Dublin, her parents were both botanists and she has a degree in science from Trinity College. Like Lynn, she has a passion for gardening. She and her husband, Ivan have their own garden on their farm between Kinvara and Ballindereen, but she was eager to get stuck into this project too.

“The learning curve has been very steep since we took it over,” says Anna with a laugh. 

You wouldn’t think that to look at it now. There are 70 fruit trees – 50 of them traditional apple varieties – three polytunnels, several allotments, a small wilderness garden, and a recently planted herb bed  – made with car and tractor tyres  – containing everything from wild rocket to wormwood.

All the garden’s trees were sponsored by local families, so there is a real sense of ownership among the community and people regularly visit to check on them.

From the get go, the women got involved with the Clare-based organisation, Seedsavers, which works to save traditional Irish fruit and vegetable varieties.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

 

Country Living

Bemoaning loss of innocence in a sport driven by big bucks

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Brazil dazzled the world of football in 1970 with their mix of pace, grace and sheer footballing class.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

I’m not big into trying to resolve the huge issues of the world like wars, climate change or attempting to dethrone the obnoxious Elon Musks of this world, primarily on the basis that my influence would be akin to a moth trying to stop a herd of charging elephants.

And, I suppose at this stage, I have to accept that it’s far too late to try and call a halt to the World Cup proceedings in Qatar but for the life of me, the event doesn’t even send a sliver of enthusiasm through my nervous system.

Maybe, it’s an old-fashioned streak that’s there inside of me, but the thought of watching World Cup matches in the run-up to Christmas just doesn’t seem right. Okay, so it will be about 30°C in the heart of the Qatar desert but watching a World Cup semi-final in the middle of the Christmas office party is just a stretch too far for me.

Alas, World Cup memories go back a long way with me to a late Sunday in July 1966 when as a ‘small boy’ I was given the job of ‘minding’ the house while the ‘rest of them’ saved a small field of hay a couple of miles away from the house.

Of course, at the time there wasn’t even a faint chance of a black-and-white TV in the house, while visits to any abode that might have a telly, were strictly confined to a Sunday with the stipulation that Galway footballers had to be involved.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Artists in frame for MADRA Auction

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Colm O’Donnellan getting ready for the MADRA auction. PHOTO: JOE O' SHAUGHNESSY.

LIFESTYLE – Finding suitable homes for dogs that have been abandoned, neglected or abused is what drives the staff and volunteers of animal charity, MADRA. Its services are under strain currently, due to an increase in the number of animals being abandoned or given up for adoption, coupled with rising costs and staffing issues. MADRA’s founder Marina Fiddler tells JUDY MURPHY about its work and the importance of its annual arts auction.

Well-known city auctioneer Colm O’Donnellan will be in full flight this Saturday afternoon, using his mellifluous tones to best advantage as he encourages people to flash their cash and buy the goods he’s selling.

But instead of the bricks and mortar that are his normal fare, Colm will be auctioning paintings that local and national artists have donated to the Camus-based dog shelter MADRA – Mutts Anonymous Dog Rescue and Adoption. The event will be held at the PorterShed, in the city’s Market Street car-park, and will also be accessible online.

Nationally, those who have donated work for this year’s auction include Kevin Sharkey, Frank O’Sullivan, Paul Crozier, Pádraig McCaul, Jin Yong and Ausrine Kuze.

Here in Galway, Grace Cunningham, Joan Kilfeather, Elena Santos, Rachel Dubber and Aoife Dowd are among the artists who’ve contributed.

Unsurprisingly, many of the pieces have wildlife themes and sometimes these are quirky, as is the case with Lithuanian-born Ausrine Kuze – she and several others have donated more than one piece.

This annual auction is an important event for MADRA, serving as a fundraiser and also helping to raise its profile.

It’s been a busy year for the charity which works to rehouse dogs that have been abandoned, neglected or abused – and there’s no sign that there will be a let-up any time soon, says the group’s founder Marina Fiddler.

As we speak, she’s working to sort out a litter of pups that was left outside Galway Dog Pound. Rather than complaining about this, Marina observes that the person who abandoned those pups didn’t just dump them in the wilds for other animals to eat. By leaving them at the pound, the pups have been given some hope of a future. It’s just one of five litters that MADRA has taken charge of in the past three weeks.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

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The construction of a new wheelchair-friendly footbridge by Galway Corporation over the Friar’s River Canal at Newtownsmith on October 20, 1998. It replaced the old temporary bridge that had become dangerous and could not take wheelchairs.

1922

Posting poor returns

Postal rates and telephone charges in Ireland are at the moment probably as high as they are in any country in the world, higher than they are in most.

The penny post has been restored in Great Britain, following the wage cut, which was introduced without any stoppage in the public service.

And the postal facilities in Ireland at the moment are probably worse than in any civilised state in the world. This is not altogether the fault of those who control the post office.

But, while much of this is due to conditions over which postal officials can have no control, a very considerable percentage of it is due to a badly run post office.

There is something very rotten in a service that loses a million a year, and yet gives the public only very indifferent results; for not merely are the Irish people paying abnormal postal and telegraph rates, but they are paying for the deficit in the form of taxation, so that their letters cost them much more than twopence.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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