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  • Southside

Locals come together in the Liberties ‘dump’  

Tuesday, 26th September, 2017 1:00pm
Locals come together in the Liberties ‘dump’  

Everyone, young and younger gets involved in the garden.

Locals come together in the Liberties ‘dump’  

Everyone, young and younger gets involved in the garden.

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THE Bridgefoot Street Community Garden staged an open day recently to welcome locals and visitors along so they could experience this unique urban space.

The open day featured a workshop by expert composter, Craig Benton, from Stop Food Waste who demonstrated how to compost effectively, and set up a wormery, and all within your own home and community.

This was followed by an open day where participants dug out the last of the season’s potatoes and cooked them.

Now occupied by a vibrant inner-city community garden, the site for the future Bridgefoot Street Park is still colloquially called ‘the dump’ by some Liberties residents.

Thi is perhaps because this site once provided Dublin with its municipal dump back in the 18th century. 

Since then the area has become one of the most high-density areas of population in the city.

While there is no shortage of tourist attractions, shops, and historical interest within the area, there is also a noticeable lack of green space.

The average Liberties resident has 0.7 square metres of green space, while residents of Dublin 4 and Dublin 6 have 15 square metres.

The World Health Organisation recommends a figure of nine square metres of green space per city resident. 

For this reason the Bridgefoot Street Community Garden, which currently grows on the southern end of the site chosen for the future Bridgefoot Street Park, is all the more welcoming for residents, workers, and tourists who want to take a break from the traffic and concrete surroundings.

Since March 2015, when the garden was first created, Bridgefoot Street Community Garden has provided a quiet and lovely oasis in which to garden, relax, and socialise.

Located within the Liberties, in Dublin’s South City Centre, the garden is a short stroll from Thomas Street, NCAD, and the Guinness Storehouse.

Because of the proximity to many local attractions the garden has hosted plenty of visitors from other countries who arrive in Dublin on holiday.

Over the course of a few brief years the garden has hosted visitors from Britain, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and other European countries.

In common with the mix of visitors to the city, tourists from as far away as America, Australia, and New Zealand have also dropped in on gardening sessions for a chat and sometimes to help out with the weeding and digging.

Bridgefoot Street Community Garden is the only amenity in this part of town in terms of a freely accessible site where people can regularly engage in gardening activity if they don’t own their own garden or access to an allotment.

For this reason participation by local community groups has also been very positive and is increasing.

Because of the garden’s central location, it’s visibility, and it’s relatively large size the garden has also been utilised for more formal gardening events hosted by various groups.

These consist not only of local community groups, but also commercial organisations wanting to provide their staff with an enjoyable day of volunteer work mixed with the chance to pick up horticultural skills.

Since it opened in 2015, the Dublin Mens Shed Group, Diageo, Saint Audoens National School  Google, Navan Road Scouts, Mendicity Kids Club and An Taisce have all participated in various activities.

The strength of the community garden at Bridgefoot Street lies in it being a large amenity that multiple organisations and groups can use for activities, without having to invest in the long term.

These groups might not otherwise have the capacity to manage their own community or school garden.

Dublin City Council has already identified the need for greening the Liberties in its “greening strategy”, and a new park is planned for creation on this site some time in 2018.

To deliver on this strategy notice has now been given for the proposed construction by Dublin City Council of a public park with play facilities upon the wider site that includes Bridgefoot Street Community Garden.

While Bridgefoot Street Community Garden and allotment users are supportive of the plan to include both a community garden and allotment within the planned future park they do have some concerns.

Bridgefoot Street Community Garden held an open evening in August to inform the garden users, residents, and allotment plot holders about the proposed park development on the site, and collected submission comments.

These comments have been submitted along with the request to maintain the community garden within the wider Bridgefoot Street Park, while the new park is constructed around it.

The collected comments also raised the point that the Bridgefoot Street Park Site has become a haven for biodiversity since it has been unused for so long.been re-colonised by wildflowers, Insects and Birdlife. Maintaining the community garden and allotment plots in-situ while the park is developed would also help to mitigate against the disturbance of this biodiversity.

Bridgefoot Street Community Garden and Allotments are an important green space located within the Liberties, Dublin 8. The community garden is also surrounded by a number of urban bee hives, and is an important feeding site for the local Honey Bees, and other insect pollinators.

The results of the Part 8 stage of the planning process for the new Bridgefoot Street Park are yet to be revealed, but it is to be hoped that this community garden can continue to be open to all without interruption, and without the loss of so much hard work which has been put into the site by so many people.

Locals and visitors have enjoyed the activities in the Bridgefoot Street Community Garden.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here