Launch of Flanagan's Fields Community Garden and Grow Dome

On Saturday 20th September 2014 at 3 p.m. the Lord Mayor, Christy Burke, will officially launch the community garden and recently installed Geodesic Dome, located on Reuben Street, Dublin 8.
Speaking about the garden the Lord Mayor said “I am delighted to be associated with this community garden here in the heart of Rialto and Dolphin’s Barn. To see this site transformed into such a beautiful place where people can come and enjoy working with nature to produce organic vegetables and fruit, is a credit to the local community and those who have been involved with this project. The addition of the grow dome will enable the people who garden here to extend the growing season by using state of the art technology. This is a true community effort and I congratulate all those who have been involved in developing this garden over the last three years.”
 
Flanagan's Fields Community Garden, which stands on part of the site of the former Fatima Mansions, has been developed over the last three years by local groups and organisations with the assistance of Dublin City Council. The garden has had a major impact on the local community by bringing a diverse group of people together with the shared interest in growing organic vegetables. Locals can drop in and chat with the gardeners and experience this uplifting space for themselves.
 
The garden is maintained through organic gardening practices which include biodiversity and companion gardening techniques. It is a learning ground for youth projects, schools and interested groups in the area and provides an area for workshops for new community gardening ideas. In addition to the twenty volunteers who regularly tend the garden, work parties from Google and nearby Diageo have also helped out on occasions.
 
The garden has beautifully recreated in miniature what much of this area looked like one hundred years ago. For details on the name Flanagan’s Fields see below. Cathy Scuffil, historian, will speak about the history of this site at the launch on Saturday.
 
The garden is now home to Dublin's first geodesic grow dome. This 11 metre wide intensive, all-year round sustainable food growing tool is an iconic artwork in its own right. Completely off-grid it uses harvested rainwater and a static hydroponic technique which can produce crops all year round. The Grow Dome Project is the work of four local residents, Niall O'Brien, Jamie Roche, Eoin O'Neil and Ivan Rynn. See thegrowdomeproject.com for details.
For further information contact:
Dublin City Council Media Relations T: 01 222 2170 M: 087 740 0277
Notes to the Editor:
 
The Back of the Pipes Resident's Association was granted a licence by Dublin City Council in 2011 and has led the way in developing this garden. Volunteers have given their time and expertise to create the garden and make it accessible to all age groups and cultures. Dublin City Council local community development section was instrumental in helping to set up the space.
The Tús program and workers have been a great asset to the development of the garden and infrastructure. Small local businesses have also been incredibly supportive.
Why is the garden called Flanagan’s Field?
 
The name commemorates one Michael Flanagan, born in 1833. He was to become, in time, a Dublin City Councillor, an Alderman, (1894) a Justice of the Peace, a not insignificant landowner and local employer - occasionally termed an ‘agriculturist’- a farmer, and a hugely successful market gardener. From quite modest beginnings at his father’s holding in Greenhills, he established a thriving business over the years supplying fresh vegetables for the then rapidly expanding city of Dublin. The area he ultimately farmed from 1866-1925 stretched around south west county Dublin and at its height the massive Flanagan estate was estimated to cover at least 500 acres and possibly up to 1,000 acres of prime market garden land.
 
Michael Flanagan married Anne Collins in Crumlin in 1866. For a short after their marriage, the couple lived at the Garden Lodge, Royal Hospital Kilmainham, where the first of their eleven children – William Joseph (Willie) Flanagan, otherwise known as "The Bird Flanagan" the famous practical joker, was born. Shortly after the Bird’s birth the family moved to the substantial landmark Portmahon House, South Circular Road, Rialto which became the main family home. 
The estate was built up almost entirely by the Alderman from the 1860s, until his death in 1931, as he established his market gardening business to serve the growing Dublin population. At its peak the estate land included fields and land leases in Crumlin, Drimnagh, Rialto, Dolphin's Barn, Walkinstown, Greenhills, Tallaght, Kilmainham and Rathfarnham. It was said that at the time ‘all of Crumlin was under cabbage’.
Michael Flanagan never ran for parliament but was an Irish Parliamentary Party and later a Nationalist Party local or ‘town’ councillor and ultimately an Alderman on Dublin Corporation. The Alderman would, in 1919, celebrate a family wedding when his daughter Louisa married his close colleague and friend from Dublin Corporation, William T. Cosgrave of James’s Street who had been a councillor since 1909. In the years following his marriage to Louisa, William Cosgrave would become the first President of the Irish Free State. Their son, and the Alderman’s grandson, Liam would later become Taoiseach.
 
The Alderman finally retired from Dublin Corporation 1919, age 86 yrs. He was to live in retirement at Portmahon until his death there on 16th October, 1931 age 98 years. His funeral was attended by his son-in-law, W.T. Cosgrave, President of the Irish Free State, the entire cabinet and numerous clergy and politicians including among others Eoin MacNeill, John A Costello, Sean MacEoin, the Ceann Comhairle, the President of the High Court and the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Alfie Byrne. He was buried in the family plot in Glasnevin Cemetery with his wife and his young children who had pre-deceased him. (Written by Cathy Scuffil)
 
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