09 Aug 2022

Island in bloom as barren Limerick field grows into allotment

Island in bloom as barren Limerick field grows into allotment

At the opening of the King’s Island community allotment were Ciara Dempsey, Billy Dopchie, Nicole Lewis and Majella Cosgrove | PICTURE: Dave Gaynor

IT was a red – or perhaps a green – letter day in the King’s Island as a new community allotment opened in the area.

For the past two years, Majella Cosgrove, a student of the University of Limerick (UL) Community, Wellness, Empowerment, Leadership and Life Skills programme (or Cwell), has been striving to get a space where people can grow fruit and vegetables in the heart of St Mary’s Park, off the ground.

And over the weekend, a space which was once a barren field beside the local community centre was introduced to the community as a bright new allotment space.

“I’m feeling great. This was a vision I had, now it's a community amenity,” Majella smiled, “They needed this space. There was a lot of negativity around. Just look at the kids now: this is what its about.”

Mint, potatoes, beetroot and a variety of other flowers and food items are being planted in readiness for the summer season when the space will be in full bloom.

Kyrah Crawford, 7, St Mary’s Park, said: “I love planting healthy food. I hope to come down here lots of times now to see how my plants are growing. Before this was here, it was just a field. It was very boring.”

For Morgan Roche, also seven, the opportunity to dig holes in the soil was enough.

“This is great fun,” he grinned.

Majella, alongside Christy Flanagan and Garry Hyland, were the original participants on the Cwell course in St Mary’s Park.

Their project to develop a community space became the Limerick Leader’s representative in the national Get Involved sustainability competition for 2015/2016.

UL research assistant Ciara Dempsey, who worked on the scheme, said: “It’s a great day. Huge credit must go to Majella for getting it from a vision she had in her head onto paper as part of the assignments she has done. To see the community here today is amazing. Things like this don’t come out of nowhere: they take a lot of hard work.”

It’s hoped the community allotment will be replicated in other regeneration areas.

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