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Dolphin's Barn community garden under threat

category dublin | environment | feature author Wednesday April 19, 2006 00:06author by dolphins barn gardener - dolphins barn gardenauthor email dolphinsbarngarden at gmail dot comauthor address dolphins barn community garden, dublin 8 Report this post to the editors

Is this the DEATH of (y)our garden ?

Builders and machinery have moved in, trees and plants have been taken up and it looks like it might be the end for the Dolphins Barn Community Garden, which celebrated its first birthday on Wednesday the 12th of April. Presently the garden crew has 54 people on its mailing list and there have been at least twice that in the garden.

After nearly a year of what turned out to be a really positive experiment in sustainable urban gardening, re-establishment of community, healthy use of derelict space and the creation of new friendships, things have taken a change for the worse… but it might not be the end. There is the possibility of revisiting matters later in the year, but the gardening project has been put on hold for the moment after a number of meetings with the owners of the land where the garden is established.

On Sunday the 19th of March, 2 days after a very successful open day: Paddy's Day spud planting, we were visited in the garden by one of the directors of the White Heather Industrial Estate, on whose land the garden exists. He had received a letter from the City Council stating that their estate needed to be cleaned up or else they would receive a fine. We had made unsuccessful attempts to establish contact with the owners at the beginning of the project. After that discussion it was felt that “His only real request was that we tidy up a bit”, he mentioned that there might be building work in the future and that we might have to move our newly planted orchard. He also stated that no planning submission had been made at this stage but that they were looking at “development” of the area. Curiously enough at the same time on Indymedia, someone quite irate called Concerned resident Dolphins Barn appeared out of the blue and stated that "One of the factory owners at the moment is very disturbed by these trespassers". From that time on communication was kept up between the garden crew, the industrial estate and the council, who had already given some months previous a €600 grant to the garden. A deadline of the 10th of April was agreed on for a final decision from White Heather as to whether we would be allowed to carry on working in this space, which for many has become a very special space to spend time living, learning and working simply as a human being.

Unfortunately we have not been successful in getting permission from the industrial estate to keep gardening but we have permission to watch the spuds grow. But the story is not over yet, join us this Friday for the first birthday party of the garden and we’ll see how things unfold. We are currently in discussion with the council about looking for another more permanent plot to set up a garden, if you know of any please let us know.

Brief timeline
(Quotes taken from garden email list, many different contributors)

-12 April 2005 – Dolphins Barn community garden comes to life; ground broken, trees planted, dreams realized.

-19th March – Garden crew meets in garden with and has initial discussion with one of White Heather Industrial estate directors, on whose land we have worked on for nearly a year with no problems. Outcome of that: “His only real request was that we tidy up a bit.”

-26th march – Meet again in garden with same director, a different tone this time: “While he acknowledged that there had been some improvement in the garden's appearance compared with last weekend, he told me that at this point he considers that our use of the land is trespass and that we are going to have to leave. He recommended that we remove anything of value.”

-2nd April – First sighting of “a number of workmen on the site from JC Devereux, including a skip, a mini digger and a small loader.”

-3rd April – Meet same director again, this time: “I asked him expressly if we could do any further planting and he said no. We are free to come down and 'watch the potatoes growing' (exciting!!), but nothing further should be done.”

-7th April – By this time a series of discussions had been set up between the garden crew, the city council and the industrial estate director. Mainstream newspapers wanted to run a story about what was happening but the garden crew decided through consensus that it was preferable to put this off until after the 10th of April, which was the date the director had given when he would have a final stand on things.
”I've just spoken with Willie Morrogh (City Council) who had a meeting with the White Heather director and the litter warden this morning. Anyways, the litter warden signed off on the cleanup. Despite this, it appears that the White Heather director is not prepared to allow us to continue to use the site (apart from watching the spuds.......feckity feck). The primary reason given is security (and liability).”

-10th April 2006 – No change of view from directors: “time to take action.”

Where to from here?
It must be stressed that the White Heather Industrial estate have kindly permitted us to use the site throughout 2005. but that due to the landscaping plans for the site, the fruit trees and bushes have been relocated to the Phibsboro garden. We still hope that there will be a community garden in the future where the present garden now exists, but if not there are other avenues open for exploration. In conjunction with the long term plan that prompted the picking of the dolphins barn patch we hope to find somewhere along the botanic spine and with that try to encourage more people to get involved with the result of creating more gardens throughout the city.

So if we have to move there are other possible locations on the Botanic Spine that we are thinking about:
1- The empty green lot, 200m down the canal after Margaret the gardeners, at Donore bridge.
2- IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art); the gardens, this was discussed and some artists said they would help make an official proposal to IMMA, that was originally to be an independent garden if there were numbers.
3- War memorial gardens and accompanying lands, very nice on banks of Liffey: a new Liffey valley plan is being drawn up at present.
4- Phoenix park, huge, definite space there to be used.
5- Phibsboro garden- support what is there and build on it, lots of land up there, that’s where the dolphins barn trees are at present.
6- Sheriff St, I haven’t been there in a while, but that was the catalyst for all this to begin with, we started the tree walk there and planted a good few trees there, there is room in the empty green patch, seeing as the razor fence came down last year, the ground is not the best as it is reclaimed land.

Sites outside the spine:
Landsdowne Valley (some spare land by the Dodder)
Drimnagh Castle.
Also, some of the allotments by Sally's bridge are unallocated.

Development plans for the Dolphins Barn and Rialto area
Planning consultants from the UK came over late last year to carry out a consultation exercise with the local community in relation to the redevelopment of the area. Although the emphasis was on a large triangle of land north of the South Circular Road including the former John Players factory, there will be some attention given to the canal bank area. A harbour and footbridge are currently planned for the area where our garden now is. However, seeing as a community garden is undeniably good for any area, bringing as it does considerable social, educational, ecological and health benefits, we ought to be included in the plan and given our own patch. (http://www.indymedia.ie/article/72988 )

The bigger picture
Although on the global scale the garden has not changed the world, it has been an attempt to turn a simple idea into a reality. For 12 months now our garden has existed, grown and taken on a life of its own, from a small number of rain soaked beginners clambering around a fence to stick a few hazel trees into the ground there are now a large and ever widening crew who have shared their workload, stories, food, skills, jokes, dreams, time together. For many it has already been a beautiful experience. In today’s age we are fast approaching a peak oil crisis, resource wars are already happening as our demand for consumption escalates with the result of ruthless pirating for oil like we have seen in Iraq for the last few years. One major pull on oil reserves is the energy needed to transport the food you eat on your table from where it was grown; food miles.

Botanis Spine, a greenway and CPUL for Dublin City
A recent idea has emerged to remedy this, the CPUL, continuous productive urban landscape, which are local food production threads in cities. Dolphins Barn garden was the first node in what we hope will become a CPUL for Dublin city; the botanic spine, so named as it is a circular feedback loop which connects with the botanic gardens in Glasnevin, which we hope will act as the brain of the network as ecology becomes more of a critical matter in cities. After dolphins barn a second community garden node was created in Phibsboro and there are a series of other spots along the route, which could be turned into local community gardens. Perhaps the city council might embrace this idea and become a leader in sustainable city development. We submitted these proposals to both the head city architect and the head city planner and were twice scheduled to meet the planner, Dick Gleeson, but on both occasions he was pulled away at the last minute.
We also envisage this thread being a greenway, a non motorised transport route, a bikeway or walkway, which would act as a connecter of the communities that the spine threads through. Last year we organised a forum in the community centre in Sheriff Street to discuss all these ideas with one community, but unfortunately that was cancelled, plans are underway for another one. We organise bike rides along the route the last Sunday of the month and there is one scheduled for the end of this month.(http://www.dublin.ie/botanicspine/ )
Heritage council – what are greenways http://www.heritagecouncil.ie/walkways/project7.html

So what next?
(taken from gardener email)

a) I have tried to contact Willie Morrough but so far was just able to leave a message. I would like to get a more formal stance from DCC -

As DCC have established the 60 feet set back for buildings along that part of the canal perhaps we can use that to our advantage. If (long shot) someone in the council is supportive of community gardening initiatives like ours they could consider asking White Heather to allow us to stay as a more active, productive, positive way of landscaping the canal edge. White Heather would be under no obligation to do this probably but if it was suggested to them by DCC who knows?

b) The whole planning process can take ages so possibly we could keep gardening for months if White Heather were agreeable. They may just be using it as an excuse to get us out though.

c) If we are definitely out on our ear I'd be interested to know how many people in the Dolphins Barn area would be willing to campaign for a new space. I think we could find spaces in other parts of the city but it would be a shame to look like we were turning our back on Dolphins Barn at the first obstacle - that is if there is truly local interest. Time for people to show their true colours. We could circulate a flyer in all letterboxes telling people the situation and asking for support.

d) Be it Dolphins Barn or some other part of the city, we have formed a large and ever expanding group of people who are willing to put lots of energy into making their environment into a better place. It has been wonderful to watch people just turn up and ask what they can do - and get stuck in! If all that energy gets funnelled into a more
legitimate, secure place so much the better. We have the pictures to prove how great it can be!

e) I think we should think about putting together a submission to DCC highlighting the need for collectively run 'productive urban landscapes' - places which yield food at a local level but also as places which are social centres and points of interaction between people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. If the Dolphins Barn garden is no longer an option we can use the opportunity to find a properly accessible space without two walls to be climbed!

I know I, and a lot of other people, have left that strip of ground beside the canal behind after a days activity there, fingernails dirtied and totally energised by the experience.

It can only be good.

Related links:
Bringing Nature To Mans Domain - http://www.indymedia.ie/article/69689
Its gardening Jim, but not as we know it (Ireland from below, November 2005, page 5) -http://www.irelandfrombelow.org/
new community garden up and running in Phibsboro - http://www.indymedia.ie/article/74524
CPULS – continuous productive urban landscapes - http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0750655437/ref=sib_dp_p...68643
That eco idea is beginning to kick off in china - http://easa.antville.org/stories/1294501/
Greening the city Dublin - http://easa.antville.org/stories/960542/#1054312
City farmer’s urban agricultural forum - http://www.xaia.ca/cityfarmer/
What will we eat as the oil runs out? - http://www.indymedia.ie/article/70245
Convergence 7- feedback :building healthy communities, inspiring culture, redefining progress - http://www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=69638&sea...gence

-Ruth gives a history of the garden 8mins - http://radio.indymedia.org/uploads/garden-tooth.wav
-Mixing the muck 7.5 mins - http://radio.indymedia.org/uploads/garden.wav

Related Link: http://www.dolphinsbarngarden.org/

dolphins barn community garden birthday party on good friday
dolphins barn community garden birthday party on good friday

author by dunkpublication date Thu Apr 13, 2006 18:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors


we were contacted by other media also
looks like the weather could be nice for tomorows party

author by frpublication date Fri Apr 14, 2006 03:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Your persistance and enthuasism has borne fruit (and veg), dunk, much respect due, and to the others good work.

is the present garden not within the 60 foot set back at the moment or has that deal not come into being yet? So he wants it to return it to overgrown litter trap?

author by cathiepublication date Tue Apr 18, 2006 02:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The representative of the White Heather Ind. Est. with whom we spoke said they already had plans for a "minimum maintenance" kind of landscaping and had consulted with landscapers about it. Would still be an improvement on what was there before but not nearly as satisying or productive as a veg plot!
Their most immediate need of the land currently gardened is for access to where they want to build. So far, they've been quite careful.

author by dunkpublication date Tue Apr 18, 2006 14:31author email fuspey at yahoo dot co dot ukauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

the garden party went nicely, about 10 - 15 people came down, everything looks very bare. we shared food and stories, listened to the fiddle, sang happy birthday. if it is the end then i suppose it was the wake.

happy birthday dolphins barn garden

video from Paddys Day :
spud planting on paddys day

"we'll pop them (the spuds) in the ground and just see what happens"
little did we think that within a few weeks it would all have come to an end.....

an empty garden
an empty garden

that used be our social space - all gone now
that used be our social space - all gone now

thats where all our stuff was - all gone now
thats where all our stuff was - all gone now

machinery tracks in - work has begun
machinery tracks in - work has begun

dolphins barn garden was ere
dolphins barn garden was ere

author by dunkpublication date Tue Apr 18, 2006 14:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors


birthday party in the garden
birthday party in the garden

prezzies from friends
prezzies from friends

the garden billboard - ironic or bad joke??
the garden billboard - ironic or bad joke??

fiddlers green
fiddlers green

author by dunkpublication date Tue Apr 18, 2006 14:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors


birthday cake for the garden
birthday cake for the garden

hi wormy, wheres the gardeners :: i dunno
hi wormy, wheres the gardeners :: i dunno

author by dunkpublication date Tue Apr 18, 2006 14:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors


happy 1st birthday dolphins barn garden
happy 1st birthday dolphins barn garden

author by Niallpublication date Wed Apr 19, 2006 01:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I really liked this project from the word go. Really great what ye did and thanks for all the heartwarming photo reports along the way. Best wishes with your next project.

author by dunkpublication date Wed Apr 19, 2006 14:59author email fuspey at yahoo dot co dot ukauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors


Irish anarchists sow seeds of flower power - sunday times may 8 2005
Irish anarchists sow seeds of flower power - sunday times may 8 2005

community garden to close - village, thr 13 april 2006
community garden to close - village, thr 13 april 2006

deputy lord mayor puts in some weeding time at the garden, sep 05
deputy lord mayor puts in some weeding time at the garden, sep 05

botanic spine - a greenway and CPUL for dublin - click on to enlarge
botanic spine - a greenway and CPUL for dublin - click on to enlarge

author by Pavee Rights Supporterpublication date Thu Apr 20, 2006 01:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It would have been better if the collective had established a halting site fot Travellers rather than get involved in this hedonistic self-gratifying vegitable growing.

But no - Travellers Rights take second place to having fun!

author by anonpublication date Thu Apr 20, 2006 01:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

keep em coming

author by Me - blahpublication date Fri Apr 21, 2006 11:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

yeah I'm sure the travellers would have loved lifting their caravans over the gate and across the wall.
The space would have been really useful to them.

author by Spuds Murphypublication date Mon Aug 28, 2006 16:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Eglantine Community Garden, or the “Anarchist Plot” began life at a visioning day in Belfast for community, peace, social justice and environmental activists in February 04. We now have a number of veg beds, a beautiful array of flowers, about 20 willow trees and some soft fruit. Many new friends have been made. The garden has a community atmosphere, and neighbours who live in the nearby streets are using the garden as a relaxing place to sit. All are equally welcome.

Related Link: http://eglantine-community-garden.blogspot.com/
author by dunk - db garden crew / el barco garden crewpublication date Sun Feb 25, 2007 09:58author email fuspey at yahoo dot co dot ukauthor address CSO el barco, barcelonaauthor phone Report this post to the editors

more spuds being planted

article about climate chaos in ireland which talks about the gardens in dublin

Dolphins Barn community garden # 3 : Sallys bridge

and we have just created our first garden here in barcelona : huertohorta, by the el barco gardenig crew
And info about our new home / pirate ship / social centre:

things really taking off again after that winter...... the new dawn is here now.


dolphins barn recent minutes:

Meeting in Seomra Spraoi on Friday 23rd February re
plans for community gardening in Dolphin's Barn area.

Kevin, Lara, Ruth, Patrick, Penny, David came along.

Dolpnin's Barn Garden
We talked about applying to the Vodafone fund for
extra funding for the Dolphin's Barn Garden but
decided that we should really get a garden going
before applying for any further funding.

Kevin had had a talk with BP. There won't
be any work done on the site for another few months at
least. Although he didn't go so far as to say it would
be acceptable to him for us to start gardening there
again, he remarked that the drug addicts had started
using the site again and that he preferred gardeners
to drug addicts. We discussed the pros and cons of
returning to the Whiteheather site vs starting afresh
on the Sally's Bridge site. We figured that if we are
going to contine to negotiate with Brian Pasley we are
going to have to ask him for a right of way across the
yard ( Whiteheather don't actually own the land right
beside the canal) and sign some sort of waiver of
liability. We agreed to go with the new site. There
would be less work involved in starting up in the new
place because the grass has been kept short, compared
to hacking through the undergrowth (again) at the
Whiteheather site. And while it is more exposed, it is
also more accessable and this is important so that we
can attract more local interest. People with a casual
interest are more likely to get involved if they don't
have to climb two walls to talk to us. The site's
openness does raise the question of where to store
tools. There's the possibility of asking the Mosque
but for the time being, Patrick will take them. As
regards the legality of starting to garden on the new
site, Waterways Ireland will not give a definite yea
or nay because they themselves are not 100% sure if
they own the site and don't have the resources to find
out. At least it will be no less legal than what we
were doing on the Whiteheather site as this was also
probably owned by Waterways Ireland.

There is a local man who uses the site to exercise
his dog. The path worn by the dog is visible in one of
the photos that Patrick sent around recently (212044)
. We could either leave a strip of land unused,
running all the way to the fence or the dog can run a
few more lengths to make up for the shorter distance.
Ruth brought along a draft leaflet/poster which would
serve to inform the local community about our plans
and give people an opportunity to object or comment.
The current text goes like this:
this year there could be vegetables, herbs, and fruit
growing here

a communal effort - share the work, the fun, the

do you want to be involved??

do you object??

phone (Ruth's mobile, Patrick's mobile)
email dolphinsbarngarden@gmail.com
(Photo shows potato plant beside spuds in barrow with
A revised poster/leaflet will show a map of the area
with a point indicating where we propose to garden.

We decided on a change of name from Dolphin's Barn
Garden to Canal Communities Garden. Patrick will put
together from wood a large notice saying "Canal
Communities Garden".
We agreed that we will have to keep the new site
tidier than we kept the old one.

Dates for your diary:
25th February - From 3pm Patrick, Kevin, David MIGHT
start a bit of digging on the new site and/or knock on
doors in the locality to talk to locals about our
plans, seek opinions, hear any objections that there
might be.

3rd March - Ruth, David and anyone else who is
interested will do some leafleting / knocking on doors
so as to inform and engage with locals.

24th March - Planting Spuds A Week After Paddy's Day.
Beginning at 2pm. Was originally going to be 17th but
half of us couldn't make it!

Finglas Garden
Lara announced some expenditure from the Finglas
Garden grant: organic slug repellants, something badly
needed. She also plans to start working in the Finglas
garden again on Wednesday evenings in the near future,
so anyone who's free will be able to garden there.
Tree planting on 10th March.

Phibsboro Garden
There are some trees that need planting in Phibsboro
Garden and given the hassle involved in moving them to
another site, we agreed that it would be best to plant
them there. No was date decided for this.

Thanks to Kevin for feeding us kale from the Dolphin's
Barn Garden with rice!!!

from Dublin to Barcelona, new garden and greenway idea growing
from Dublin to Barcelona, new garden and greenway idea growing

Canal Communities Garden : sallys bridge
Canal Communities Garden : sallys bridge

author by dunk - dublin ecgpublication date Thu Apr 19, 2007 11:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

from the dolphin barn garden list:

McDermott forms Canal Plus action group ( http://www.tonymcdermott.ie/fulcrum.html?ep=19 )

GP Dail candidate for dublin South Central, Cllr Tony McDermott today announced the formation of the Canal Plus action group, which has received the support of GP leader, Trevor Sargent.

"The stretch of the Grand Canal, which divides Dublin's 8 and 12 postal districts, is a hugely underdeveloped community and tourist resource, explained Cllr McDermott. Waterways Ireland has done a great job of refurbishing the canal from Harold's Cross to the harbour, and South Dublin County Council has published a comprehensive plan to upgrade the canal eastwards from the outer suburbs to the city boundary.

This area, from Harold's Cross to Inchicore, is continuing to be neglected. This is unfair and I will do something about it.

I am asking people who are interested in seeing the canal restored to its rightful position as an invaluable public amenity to register on my website, www.tonymcdermott.ie . I will book a hall and arrange a public meeting in the near future which all interested members of the public can attend. The principle concerns which members of the local communities in Rialto, Kilmainham, Crumlin, Tenters and Harold's Cross have raised with me are:

Health & safety, maintenance and cleaning, signage, litter, public lighting and policing under the bridges.

"There is also a considerable amount of public land on the north side of the canal, especially around Sally's Bridge, which was used for allotments but has now fallen into disuse. I want to see these allotments reinstated." concluded Cllr. McDermott.


greenway and cpul for the city:

Dublin : first Greenway cycle of 2006

the irish community gardening experience

green corridors in cities

Ireland and Climate Chaos

author by Johnpublication date Thu Apr 19, 2007 11:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I will register after this post. Just wondering will the canal have to be dredged?
Consideration will have to be made for the demolition of Dolphin House, I also heard this land was in the process of being re-zoned for commercial use, any truth in that?

It would be fantastic if we could cultivate the allotments and get the whole community involved with growing their own veg and the like. Theres good people around here, they deserve this kind of initiative after years of neglect and under-investement from the government.

author by dunkpublication date Thu Apr 19, 2007 12:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

for 2 years now the dolphins barn gardening crew, or canal community gardening crew as i think its now called have been busy trying to do this. More and more initiaves could be created, and when peak oil hits us these are the places that could be the difference between life and death. But before that doomsday scenario these spaces and projects can, and indeed hopefuly, will be spaces for community interaction, learning new eco ways, skill sharing, social get together and all that.

As far as i know, the latest dolphins barn situation is that they occupied sallys bridge and were evicted. or else they asked for permission and were refused. That site opens up to the back of the mosque and would have been, or still might be, a super projec for the city

a grant of €1000 was given to the garden crew by the canal communities drug rehab board. and previously €600 was given by the council, so there is support for this and other type projects.
seomra spraoi were also, at one point, talking about getting involved in outside spaces and connection with local communities.
(Recently they participated in the controversial "hotel ballymun" project : http://indymedia.ie/article/81761
they meet tonight in the dublin social centre, seomra spraoi, 6 lowe ormond quay
Related Link: http://www.myspace.com/seomraspraoi )

im not sure where these projects are going but i feel they could definately go a lot further, that more people might be interested but presently havent heard of them, anyway, things are happening which is good.

example of what a future sustainable world will look like, the model some of us are trying to work toward and realise now:


I now live in Barcelona where a very successful eco initiave is running out of what was an unused part of a hospital with unused land around it. now that place, Can Mesdau is hugely successful. In fact, due to it being taken by squatting, when the police came to evict the "squatters" over 100 local people some in their 80's said "arrest us, we are squatters too" due to them planting food in the now used land. Its simple and its amazing
you can read a fine essay on that project with photos here : rurbano revolution

their site

and our attempts to bring these ideas and action into the city:

author by frpublication date Thu Apr 19, 2007 15:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I thought there was already a competition and tender for a linear park there http://www.riai.ie/?id=6597 latest I can find on it is 2005 though.

http://www.ddda.ie/uploads/Linear%20Park1.pdf http://www.ddda.ie/cold_fusion/news/press_releases/pres...r=127
heres one guys idea http://vincent.callebaut.org/page1-img-dub.html wow park bridges.

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