A ONCE derelict site in Ballynanty is set to bloom this summer, as locals have taken over the site to produce their own fruit and vegetables.
Nestled in the shadows of Thomond Park, the allotments in Ballynanty have now been transferred from Limerick City Council to the St Munchins’s Community Centre for management.
Sinn Fein city councillor and election candidate Maurice Quinlivan is among 24 local residents who have an allotment on the site, where his family formerly lived for 52 years before the houses were knocked down.
“We’ve carrots, parships, strawberries, cucumbers, and peas. The idea is not just for people to grow their own produce, but to come down and build a greater community and interact with each other in a healthy way.
“It was a derelict site when the houses were knocked, and under Maria Byrne’s mayoralty it was opened as an allotment, but it didn’t really work as it was too expensive for people, some €200 a year. Now the community have taken it over, and €20 a year, per person, goes to St Munchin’s community centre for the upkeep of the area,” he explained.
Aoife and Eimear O’Connor, age six and three, from Greystones, will be among those enjoying fresh produce on the table, as dad James has always been a keen gardener.
Fine Gael councillor Michael Hourigan, the vice-chair of St Munchin’s Community Centre, said this is “an exciting new initiative for the community”.
“Everyone is now concerned about their good health, which is not just down to eating good produce, but also to the physical activity of being involved in something like this,” he said.
Furthermore, he said the allotments will be of great educational and nutritional benefit to children in Ballynanty school. Linda Ledger, manager of St Munchin’s community centre, said all the local schools have taken an allotment, and they hope to have garden parties on the site in the coming weeks. “It’s educational, but it’s fun too. There’s a great mix of gardeners here, with people from Moyross, Thomongate, Ballynanty, Kileely, the North Circular Road and the city centre.”