Nestled behind the houses just off the North Strand lies a beautiful oasis of trees, flowers and herbs. A garden created by the people, for the people of the area, is a hidden gem in Dublin 3.
Before the community garden, there was housing for the elderly. It was then knocked down to create social housing. The Larkin Unemployment Centre had plans to create a family childcare centre. The economic crash came before plans went underway and unfortunately the area was left derelict. The land then became used as a dump.
Fionnuala Halpin, the now chairperson of the Gardens, lived right next to the land dump and felt there needed to be something done about it. She had asked Tony Gregory, the then TD, to help her in removing it as a dump and use the space for something more constructive to the area. Tony Louth, another local in the community, called a meeting and sought out if people would be interested in making compost and growing their own plants and vegetables. There was already a keen interest for that to happen in this specific location. The idea then flourished for The Mud Island Community Garden.
Fionnuala, John Hannigan and Maeve Foreman were the first three signatories to start the plans for the garden. From 2009 until 2011, they fought to use the land for the community garden. Finally, the three became licensees of the area and that is where it all began. They then started to apply for grants to help fund the development of the garden. Luckily, at the time, the Community Foundation of Ireland had just started creating a fund for community gardens and became their main funder for the first couple of years. The generosity, time and energy given by the volunteers have made the Garden what it is today. It has been a slow and steady effort by everyone involved and from what I can gather a family of close friends has evolved from this magnanimous creation.
If there are no plans to develop in the near future there are hopes that they can have electricity and water provided for the site which will be extremely helpful when running events. Each person that gets involved has something valuable to contribute towards the growing and development of the gardens. The ethos is to give people a shared sense of ownership to the Mud Island Community Gardens.
How to become a member of the Mud Island Community Garden? If you are employed, it is €10 a year and €5 a year for the unemployed. You can take part as much or as little as you like. You can come and enjoy social events or really get stuck into the gardening aspect of things. Either way, I feel this is just a wonderful way to integrate with the community, make long-lasting friends and help to contribute to something special.
These Faces of Fairview (North Strand to be more correct!)