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Wednesday, 27 May 2015

News From GIY Ireland

I was lucky enough to meet one of my all time heroes at Litfest at Ballymaloe last weekend. Alice Waters is owner/chef of Chez Panisse, the Berkeley restaurant widely acknowledged as one of the best in the world. Opened in 1971, its founding principles were to use only the finest and freshest seasonal ingredients produced sustainably and locally. Chez Pannise was literally decades ahead of the local food movement, in much the same way that Myrtle Allen was decades ahead when she opened Ballymaloe House in Shanagarry in the 1960’s.

At her Litfest talk, Waters told instructive anecdotes about the early days of the restaurant – how she hired a full time forager before the term forager was commonly used; planting the whole back yard at the restaurant in Mesclun salad to ensure a regular supply; and how her ‘patchwork of suppliers’ included a local couple who would bring in a handful of fingerling potatoes in exchange for lunch. “I had no interest in making money,” she said of that time, “I just wanted the food to be good.”

In later years Alice Waters spread her passion beyond California becoming one of the world’s leading activists for local and seasonal food. The Edible Schoolyard programme, which she started in 1996 at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Berkeley contained a one-acre garden, adjacent kitchen-classroom, and an “eco-gastronomic” curriculum – helping students to connect with all aspects of food, from growing to cooking to eating. She would later partner with Catherine Sneed’s remarkable garden project at San Francisco County Jail, with Chez Panisse serving food that was grown by the prisoners in their garden. Waters got emotional as she spoke about meeting one prisoner who said his first day working in the prison garden was the best day of his life.

Happily there are restaurants in Ireland following a similar approach to Chez Pannise – restaurants where the head grower is as revered as the head chef – the remarkable Harry’s restaurant in Inishowen, Loam in Galway; Mount Falcon in Sligo; Belleek Castle in Mayo and many more. The idea behind our own GROW HQ, which will open in Waterford next year, is that all of the fruit and vegetables being served in the café will be grown right there on the site. All of these projects turn the standard restaurant modus operandi on its head – seasonal produce driving the day’s menu rather than set menus driving the acquisition of produce. Exciting times indeed.

Give Peas a Chance at Work

With our friends in Cully & Sully, we’re looking for 500 workplaces to take part in our ‘al desko’ food growing challenge by growing peas on their desk at work. Sign up today for a free Give Peas a Chance growing kit for you and up to 5 colleagues. Each week we will be picking our favourite growers to win cool GIY prizes and the top prize is worth €5,000 including a €3,000 garden which you can donate to your local community. Sign up at

Friday, 22 May 2015

Ballydehobs Purchase of Former AIB Bank 'a Great achievement'

James O’Neill acting Director of Services with Muintir na Tire has hailed Ballydehob's  community council’s purchase of the former AIB Bank in the village as ‘a great achievement’ and he applauded the fact that the council is on schedule to have it paid back within a number of years.
‘The council’s success with this project tells me this is a very proactive community,’ said Mr O’Neill, ‘and I wish them well with their endeavour.’
The Munitir na Tire representative told The Southern Star it was agreed that a public meeting would take place soon, at which details of the feasibility study for the former bank would be put on display and public submissions sought.
Mr O’Neill made the observation: ‘Community groups tend to spend a lot of time focused on their next project, but I believe it is imperative to take time out and celebrate what they achieve in their voluntary capacity, and to celebrate that once a year.’
Mr O’Neill said 'this is a community that is passionate about its sense of place.’ 
Congratulations to all involved

Mizen Community Councils unite to reveal Development Plan for Peninsula (Sarah Canty)

Members of the MCP revealed their Integrated Strategic Local Development Plan for the Mizen peninsula along with their smart new logo to an enthusiastic crowd at the Mizen Head Visitor Centre Recently. The plan has been over two years in the making. In 2013 the Goleen and District Community Council under the advisement of the West Cork Development Partnership (WCDP) undertook the job to establish a clear strategy that would benefit the peninsula as a whole.  The Goleen council was paired with a village council from Finland to brainstorm on how their communities could achieve self-sufficiency.  Ultimately the WCDP also encouraged Goleen to team up with Schull and Ballydehob to form a peninsula-wide partnership that would pool resources and better channel funding and support into the area.
Unifying the 3,380 permanent residents was the most important task, and possibly the most daunting.  The people of Mizen have fostered a friendly competitive spirit over the years and joined-up thinking will be a new way of doing things.  The audience chuckled knowingly as MCP chairperson Gene Griffin thanked the three community councils of Ballydehob, Goleen and Schull, ‘named in alphabetical order in case anyone was worried.’
To facilitate this new combined effort, the WCDP and the Goleen Community Council commissioned professional researchers to analyse the Mizen and produce the 40+ page plan to clearly define its demographic, strengths and weaknesses.  This information helped inform what the tenable objectives would be, primary of which was to encourage a unified identity. Said MCP secretary Bernard O’Sullivan, ‘The key point of the vision was to work together and look after each other.’
The report reveals fascinating information about the people and natural assets of the area.  Among other things the report explains how, common for rural areas, the Mizen has a small workforce relative to its dependent population of minors and pensioners.  This is of course due to the amount of young adults who either go to university or emigrate for better jobs. 
The report also identified constraints, or weaknesses that could impinge on progress.  For example the peninsula’s infrastructure lacks sufficient roads, signage, public transport and broadband service. Accommodation and amenities for tourists could also be improved.
Fortunately Mizen boasts clear strengths as well that will assist in overcoming all these obstacles.  Chiefly, the Mizen demonstrates a strong history of community volunteerism and resilience. This has certainly been proven in the work the MCP has managed in the last six months and will help future plans to build on other existing assets such as natural landscape, recreational facilities and a wealth of historical landmarks.
When it was decided last autumn that the MCP would first focus on three main objectives (out of a total of 25), three sub-groups were formed to carry out those objectives: to bolster Mizen tourism through its heritage; to research ways to stimulate the local economy through its well established food producers; and to achieve unity and market the peninsula as one identity.
To this end, local historians Noel Coakley, Jim Campion and Denis O’Neill were asked to identify and gather information on all the major historical sites on the peninsula.  ‘We researched the history and came up with major points from mining to monuments and castles and looked into accessibility.  We have all of that done and our ultimate aim now is producing a brochure – we just need to find the funding for that now,’ said Coakley.
Produce grower Joel Davis, farmer Tom Notter and Susan Shields, wife of a fish merchant, all have a vested interest in the local food supply so that is where their work began.
 They are keen to better link local food producers with local buyers to create an independent economy calling it ‘import substitution’.  Davis explained that even though onions and beetroot and cabbage are indigenous crops, ‘no one here is growing them.’  By encouraging local producers to meet the demands of the local buyers he believes the peninsula could become self-sufficient.
The shared brand and logo will help set the area apart as somewhere unique and distinctive.  Julia Zagar who undertook the branding initiative with Brendan Launders and Owen Kelly wanted the new image to reinforce the vision established by the partnership ‘to work to the mutual benefit of all’.
For months they consulted with local graphic designer, Jonathan Parson, to create the right look to capture the essence of their mission. ‘We were concerned that this was not just a tourism initiative.  We will support all people who live and work here.  And we needed to think in a regional way instead of a local way.’  The resulting waves that form the fluid letter ‘M’ do remind one of the sea and the land that make Mizen so singularly exquisite.
The enthusiasm that buzzed around Mizen Head that bright morning was palpable. 
The plan is well researched and practical.  With its long and short term goals listed methodically it will employ the diverse skills that abound on the peninsula.  The plan is ambitious and reachable at the same time.
As Ms Griffin shared with the audience, ‘It has been an interesting journey for the Mizen Community Partnership.  Local politics are often bedevilled by division and misery and the exact opposite has been true of our experience.  I can honestly say that our meetings have been great fun . . . and we went away from every meeting having achieved something.’ 
If this kind of hard work and enthusiasm can maintain its momentum, Mizen Peninsula will be flying it in a few short years. 
• To request a PDF of the Plan or to further ideas you have for the mission people are encouraged to contact Bernard O’Sullivan at or 086-1947835.

Carriganima unites to save their village

Carrigganima National School
Carriganima is a little village in north-west Muskerry on the main Macroom to Millstreet road. The recently formed Community Association will deliver traditional Rural Transport with its own mini bus plus a wide range of community/social transport services. This will include the provision of accessible transport and out of hours transport also.
The Social Impact of such a local Community Transport is quite considerable and will make a significant difference to many people in the Carriganima area. For instance it will give people who traditionally had a bus pass but could never use it the opportunity to do so and travel to the local towns and villages to access health and social services. This is because the mini bus will deviate off the main roads and collect people at or near their homes where possible. Also when they get into town the mini bus will facilitate them to do shopping, visit the doctor, collect a prescription or call to the hospital. This in vital for older people where traditionally they were dropped off in the town centre and had no way of getting to the said hospital or clinic.
There is also tremendous Social Interaction on the mini bus and people look forward to the weekly trip out. They also help local families by providing a school run easing the burden on working parents or those without transport. Muintir na Tire wishes Carriganima all the best with this great initiative. This is an example of just one more initiative which helps villages in rural Ireland survive. Congratulations to the newly formed Community Association and we look forward to working with you.

Autumn Health Seminar Schedule to be agreed

Conor Cusack Speaking in Mitchelstown

Mitchelstown November

The Muintir Community Care Team are  meeting in June to discuss the 2015/ Autumn / 2016 Spring Health Information Seminar schedule. The team comprising Finbarr Motherway and Patricia Kirby of Killeagh Seamus Forde and Gretta Cronin of Carrignavar, Therese O'Keeffe from Ballynoe , Annette Lane Carrigtwohil along with Brendan Scahill HSE and Denis Kelly Muintir are now looking for venues for our Seminars. If your village Town is interested in hosting a seminar Contact Denis Kelly at 0214500688.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Annette Lane to Lead Cork County Federation

Annette Lane of Midleton has been re-elected as Chairperson of Cork County Federation Muintir na Tire for the coming year. In her address to the AGM Annette said ' It gives me great pleasure to report that during 2014 Cork County Federation Muintir na Tire made significant progress in the delivery of our main work programmes. In  community development we continued our supports to Community Councils. We have also been very busy in setting up Regional Networks in Co Cork. These Networks have been set up as part of the Federations Development Strategy. We also continue to forge strong links with other groups and agencies. We also contributed to the second County  Mayors Awards for the Community and Voluntary sector. We organised a series of four very successful Health Information Seminars during the year in conjunction with HSE Cork North  Community Work Department , Mitchelstown and Fermoy Community Networks The National Office for Suicide prevention, and Ballyhoura Development. We also  organised a very enjoyable East Cork Seniors Jamboree in Garyvoe.  We also organised a very successful ‘Pride in our Community Amenity’ & School Garden  competition in conjunction with Cork County Council. These continue to be very inspirational & reflect the huge voluntary commitment around the county by volunteers, teachers & children.  I would like to thank my fellow directors, our staff, and especially the dedicated members of Community Councils and community groups all over County Cork for the huge contribution they make to their local areas every  year. I want to pay tribute to them for their dedication and commitment to maintaining and developing services and facilities in their local areas. We would like to thank all those who helped the County Federation during 2014 especially the HSE Community Work Department  Cork North,  Environment Department Cork County Council, Department of Social Protection and all who helped us in any way.  She thanked the Board for putting their  trust in her again for the coming year and looked forward to working with and for communities in County Cork.

HANGING BASKETS by Margaret Griffin

summer breez basket
The Summer Breeze

Heavenly hanging baskets are a lot easier to create than many people think. Margaret Griffins top tips will ensure that Cork will heave the best hanging baskets this summer.

Firstly you need to decide where you are hanging this basket? Full sun or shade

Then what size basket? Smaller than a 14” basket can be very hard to keep watered during the summer.

What style basket would you like? One block colour can be very striking and visual from a distance. While a basket with a mixture of colours and plants will reward you with personality and colour

Here are a few of my favourite Hanging basket recipes

The Summer Breeze. (Pictured above)
Vibrant Colours of the Coast has inspired this recipe. Sky blue and Lime surfinias, yellow biden and blue bacopa. Plant the Biden in the middle and feed it through the other plants.

White Icing.
The elegance of a white hanging basket is second to none. Create this look with a mixture of plants that are pure white, White ivy leaf geraniums, bacopa , Verbena, lobulaira princess and White surfinias. If possible during hanging this where a light reflect on it and it will shine bright through the night.

County Pride.
Support your county with a basket overflowing with a mixture of reds and whites. The rich velvet verbena, red Surfinia mixed with a white verbena, bacopa and the fragrant Lobulaira princess will create a proud basket

Mediterranean Dreams
Ideal for a windy position as geraniums do not need much watering.
The ivy leaf pink geranium is vibrant yet elegant. It will flower all sumer long and ideal for a hard to reach baskets. ( tip a geranium basket require less feed and water than most other summer plants).
 mediterranean basket

Shade loving blooms .
The proven winner for shade loving baskets are begonias. They will keep on flowering till late autumn. Have you tried a million kisses begonias? The name says it all
Top tips for all baskets

  1. The larger your basket the easier it is to maintain and keep watered.
  2. Always tilt trailing plants when planting. They will perform much better and create a basket that is overflowing with colour
  3. Never leave your basket dry out. Always Increase the watering as the baskets get bigger
  4. Use a good quality compost. I always use Grosure container and hanging basket compost.
  5. Add extra feed with a Slow release tablet. Grosure tablets will ensure that you basket gets a constant feed all season long
  6. Regularly remove spent flowers and your basket will continuously produce new blooms.
  7. Plant the right plants to suit the environment. Certain plants are shade lovers while other prefer to get the midday sun.
  8. I often drop my baskets down to see if they need extra compost, to remove all dead heads and to water the basket well. It is so worth doing this every few weeks. Add some tomato feed to the water can when you are doing this

Shade loving plants:
Begonia's, Fuchsia, Diascias

Sunny Position:
Geraniums, Surfinia, Verbena, Nemesia, Bacopa Million bells, Lobularia,

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

News From GIY Ireland

I like growing all vegetables, but I love the ones that are sown once during the year and store well, so for example carrots, parsnips, onions, garlic and so on. These are the real high-return crops, where it’s possible to become self-sufficient (or close to it) with a single act of seed sowing. Squashes are another good example of this type of vegetable – thanks to their hard-as-nails outer skins they will store very well from harvest time (around October) right through to the following May which is an impressive 8 months. Though we’re in mid May now, I still have a couple of squashes left in the kitchen (variety Uchiki Kuri) from last year’s growing. They are an incredibly versatile and delicious veg to have around – equally at home in a salad, risotto, stew, roast, tart or quiche – and the bigger ones have a serious amount of eating in them. It will be a bittersweet moment when the final one is hacked open and eaten.

So easy are squashes to grow, and so well do they store that I always find it strange that more commercial growers here don’t get in on the act, particularly with the more unusual varieties of squashes. Generally speaking most supermarkets only stock butternut squash (and usually imported ones) – it’s a shame they are not more adventurous because there are far sweeter and more flavoursome varieties out there. My favourite of all squash varieties is the ghostly, grey-blue Crown Prince which despite its enormous size and pumpkin-like demeanour, has an incomparable sweet flavour. I’ve seen an imported version on the shelves of a well-known Dublin artisan supermarket for a whopping €12, but never an Irish one (and from then on treated my own stock with a new-found reverence!).

It’s a good time of the year to sow squashes, so this week I got stuck in (see details below). I am growing the squash varieties Crown Prince, Delicata and Uchiki Kuri, and the pumpkins Baby Bear and Vif Rouge d’Etampes. I have sown about 30 seeds in all, but will probably not have enough space to plant them all out. If I can produce about 40-50 fruits in total I will be happy that there are many months of good eating ahead this winter.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Public consultation shaping Ireland’s Future Electricity Grid

Irish Rural Link cordially invites you
to participate in a public consultation shaping 
Ireland’s Future Electricity Grid
Fintan Slye,  CEO Eirgrid
Saturday 23rd May 2015
River Lee Hotel
Western Rd, Cork
11.00am – 2.30pm

This public consultation is aimed towards gathering feedback on the recently published draft national transmission strategy.

Registration Tea & Coffee from 10.30 am 
For More info
call (090)6482744 or email

Maria Pettit
IRL Administrator
Tel. 090 6482744
Mob. 0863294323

Volunteer Management Training

Volunteer Management Training

Due to popular demand Cork Volunteer Centre is holding an additional  Volunteer Management Training on Wednesday 10th and 17th June from 10am - 4.30pm in Cork City Partnerships, Heron House, Blackpool, Cork.

The Training Consists of the following:

Module 1 Planning for Volunteer Involvement
Module 2 Volunteer Recruitment and Selection
Module 3 Day-to-Day Management of Volunteers
Module 4 Designing a Policy for Volunteer Involvement
Attendance on both days is required for successful completion of the course. All participants who complete the course will receive a certificate. 
Places are limited to 14 and will be secured on a first come, first served basis. The cost is 50 euros per person. If you are interested contact

Marie O'Mahony
Placement Officer
Cork Volunteer Centre
70 Shandon Street, Cork

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Holding Community Council Elections?

For advice and guidance on planning your Community Council Elections Contact Denis Kelly Community Worker Muintir na Tire at or ring 0872034876

Willing to Host a Health Information Seminar and Social Evening this Autumn?

Cork County Federation Muintir na Tíre feels that information on health matters
can best be given directly to people in their own communities.

That is why we organize a series of community Health Information Seminars around the County aimed at giving people information about health matters in a friendly and enjoyable setting.

Cork County Federation Muintir na Tíre is delighted with the support we are getting from local communities all over county Cork and HSE North Cork.

Seminar sessions are split into two distinct parts. The first part of the session is where experts come in and speak to the group and answer questions. This is followed by supper and a social event and people really enjoy the events.

Is your Community  willing to Host a Health Information Seminar and Social Evening this Autumn?
We are looking for community groups willing to host one of our Community Health Information Seminars this Autumn If you have a local community venue with catering facilities (Tea and Sandwiches Etc) and room to dance.

 If there is a topic that the community is interested in discussing. 

Please contact Denis Kelly at 0872034876for further details.

Plants you can trust to create a beautiful, easy-to-maintain garden.- Margaret Griffin


Looking for plants you can trust to create a beautiful, easy-to-maintain garden? All you have to do is look for the Proven Winners name to know you're getting the most distinctive plants on the market. That's because Proven Winners have been tried and tested by our head grower John to ensure our varieties are vigorous, healthy, vibrant, and unique.
Proven Winners plants are:
Easy to grow and care for
  • Covered with blossom and blooms
  • Bright and colorful
  • All-season bloomers
  • Disease free

I am sure my favourite proven winners will also be your when you test them this year

Osteospermum symphony Orange . Vibrant orange daisy Flower with a purple centre. Loves a sun position and very good drainage.
Beautiful in pots, hanging baskets and beds. Low maintenance and no deadheading required. Combine with purple surfinia in a sunny window box
or pot and this plant will reward you all summer long.
Nemesia Trio Mio Alegria: trio mio creates the perfect summer pot or basket with one easy plant. Three varieities of nemesia have been carefully
selected and planted together as a recipe to make a beautiful display. Bright, cheerful and sophisticated. Alegria combines the best of early flowering
Nemesia in red, yellow and white, all with coordinating yellow eyes on green semi-trailing foliage.
algeria 2
Verbena Vepita Dark red , White or Hotpink.
Verbena have a beautiful large round clusters of bright dainty blooms that appear against luxurious green spreading foliage. These trailing plants are so easy to maintain when planted in grosure container and hanging basket compost. They love full sun and flower from the end of April to October.
Perfect mixed with other seasonal plants for bowls, baskets and other containers, alternatively they can be planted on their own.
verbena dark red
Nemessia Cherry on Ice The unique red and white bicolour flowers of Nemesia Sunsatia™ 'Cherry On Ice' make it ideal to grow in a
courtyard pot, in a basket or for stunning garden display. Flowers from May to October, easy maintenance with no deadheading. Feed with slow release
granules when planting for a longer flowering period

nemesia cherry_on_ice_pot
Million Bells Double RUBY also known as Calibrachoa SUPERBELLS are delightful, interesting and easy-to-grow annuals that flower all summer.
Superbells ‘DOUBLE RUBY’ is a novelty in Calibrachoa with fully double flowers which resemble small roses in a beautiful ruby red colour.
It has a slightly trailing to upright, strong and rich growth. Prefers a sunny spot, but is resistant to rain and wind. The greatest winner last year
for my front door basket

Buddleja Buzz ivory, lavender and sky blue. Three of the best varieites of small buddleja A Buddleja for the pot!
A revolution in Buddleja, the Buzz series has been bred to be suitable for the container and border planting.
Great for butterflies and bees too!
Buzz ‘Ivory’ are strong, elegant plants with gorgeous, white flowers.
Buzz 'Lavender' Wonderful violet-lilac flowers with an orange eye on good container performing habit.
Buzz sky Blue Sky-blue flowers emerge in early summer attracting butterflies and bees.

Salivia Hot lips This variety flowers from June right through to November! It's a very easy Salvia to grow and if we get a 'normal' Irish winter,
it should flourish again next year. 'Hot Lips' is a wonderful for patios and it's striking red flowers really stand out in a container.
It has won numerous awards in UK flower shows and are well worth having as an outstanding addition to your patio garden!

Ten Reasons to Volunteer in your local Community.

Thinking of becoming a volunteer? This is a  list of reason s that will help you make up your mind.

10: It's good for you.

Volunteering provides physical and mental rewards. It:
  • Reduces stress: Experts report that when you focus on someone other than yourself, it interrupts usual tension-producing patterns.
  • Makes you healthier: Moods and emotions, like optimism, joy, and control over one's fate, strengthen the immune system.

9: It saves resources.

Volunteering provides valuable community services so more money can be spent on local improvements.
  • The minimum value of a volunteer's time is at least €10 per hour.

8: Volunteers gain professional experience.

You can test out a career. A role in a community council requires many skills and talents, from management of Community Facilities to being an officer on a management board. You can learn these skills in your local Community Council.

7: It brings people together.

As a volunteer in your Community  you assist in:
  • Uniting people from diverse backgrounds to work toward a common goal
  • Building camaraderie and teamwork

6: It promotes personal growth and self esteem.

Understanding community needs helps foster empathy and self-efficacy.

5: Volunteering strengthens your community.

As a volunteer you can help:
  • Support families (daycare and eldercare, meals on wheels etc)
  • Improve Education (tutoring, literacy)
  • Support youth (mentoring, Youth Clubs, Youth Cafes, and after-school programs)
  • Beautify the community (beach, park and village cleanups)

4: You learn a lot.

Volunteers learn things like these:
  • Self: Volunteers discover hidden talents that may change your view on your self worth.
  • Government: Through working with local non-profit agencies, volunteers learn about the functions and operation of local and national government.
  • Community: Volunteers gain knowledge of local and national  resources available to solve community needs.

3: You get a chance to give back.

People like to support community facilities and services that they use themselves or that benefit people they care about.

2: Volunteering encourages civic responsibility.

Community service and volunteerism are an investment in our community and the people who live in it.

1: You make a difference.

Every person counts!

Monday, 11 May 2015

Community Groups please Update Your Contact Details

To all Community groups affilliated to Muintir na Tire

Have your officers changed?

Please update your contact details for all correspondence.
It is very important that these details are updated when new officers are appointed. It will ensure that your Community group will receive regular updates from Muintir na Tire.

Community Group Contact details

Friday, 8 May 2015

Muintir President Visits Cork for AGM

Muintir na Tire National President Paddy Byrne visited Cork last week to attend the Annual General Meeting of Cork County Federation. Wexford native Mr Byrne updated the membership on the issues facing Muintir na Tire and rural communities in the aftermath of the collapse of the Celtic Tiger.
He particularly emphasized the threat of villages losing their local doctor because it was no longer viable for GP's to set up practice as a result of government policy.
"After the closure of post offices, banks  and garda stations, now many rural areas won't have a GP. That is our fear," said Mr Byrne. Cuts in government supports have made setting up a country practice financially unviable. He said that rural GPs have been hit hardest by cuts, which means many young doctors feel a career as a country doctor is simply unsustainable. He said hundreds of older GPs are due to retire in the next year, which will leave many communities without a permanent local doctor"  He urged the HSE and the government to take corrective measures as the current trends in emigration and retirement will result in fewer general practitioners to treat patients in rural areas in the next 10 years,"
Despite all these threats Mr Byrne said that many rural communities remain vibrant with local people coming together in Muintir na Tire Community Councils to do all they can to keep their communities sustainable. Millions of Euro have been leveraged by community groups in an effort to make rural areas better places to live and grow up in. This has been done by local fundraising, County council funding and Rural Development Funding. He urged all communities to get organised in order to avail of any supports available to them. He said that Muintir na Tire would continue to give support to any local group to help them with their organisation and structures. He said that Muintir will be setting up focus groups all over the country to ensure that Muintir na Tire remains focused and as relevant as ever to rural Ireland.

Important Dates for School Garden Competition

Get busy in your garden and keep working. The soil is getting warmer and the danger of frost should be gone by mid May.  Schools who have completed an entry form must submit a PowerPoint Presentation before the end of May 2015 in which they tell us what have done in their garden.

The PowerPoint presentation should tell the judges all or any of the following:

Who was involved?

Teachers, Gardener, Parents, Which Classes, Local Community, Men's Shed Group, GIY Ireland,Community Council, Tidy Towns. etc.

Is it a new or established garden?

If it is new, Who was involved in planning and construction?

Unique features?

Tell us about them.

What did you grow?

Vegetables, flowers, trees, shrubs, grasses.

Bidiversity and Environment elements.

Contribution to biodiversity, water conservation,reduce reuse re-cycling etc.

Size of Garden (approx)

for schools entering with limited space, window displays,courtyards Tubs and Container Gardens.

Any other feature you would like to highlight.

Please note PowerPoints must be limited to TEN slides and should include lots of photographs. Please do not include animations or music.

Closing Date for submission of PowerPoint presentation is 5pm Friday May 29th 2015

All schools who confirm entry to the competition will be visited by members of the Judging Panel in Late May or Early June 2015.

The Judges will include a Horticulturist, experts in Environmental Awareness and Biodiversity and members of Muintir na Tire.

The Awards Ceremony is fixed for Wed 24th June In County Hall 

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Mitchelstown Community Council AGM hears of Forest Hall Development as Community Facility.

Forest Hall Building at New Square Mitchelstown

I attended Mitchelstown Community Council last week to hear all about the great work going on there. The biggest news from the AGM is that the Muintir na Tire Community Council are about to aquire the lease on
the Forrest Hall building situated at New Square, Mitchelstown. It has at last been secured by Mitchelstown Community Council for use as a community facility from Cork County Council.

“The 5,700sq ft building, which has an additional 1,200sq ft yard area, will be used as a community hall in liaison with local groups and associations, subject of course to planning permission,” the chairman of Mitchelstown Community Council, Sean Finn told the meeting.

“This is great news for the Community Council and for the community as a whole. .
“Negotiations are still ongoing regarding Forrest Hall and we would like to thank Richard Keating of Cork Co Council for his time and commitment to the project. Special thanks must go to Cllr Frank O’Flynn who got the ball rolling and who fought on a regular basis to have Forrest Hall secured for a community initiative.
“Plans for the building by Declan Finn of DF Engineering, Mitchelstown were on display on the night.  Sean said "we are most grateful as Declan has done much work already on the project on a voluntary basis,”


Sean Finn went on to state that there is further good news for the town with the appointment of a permanent supervisor for both TUS and the Rural Social Scheme.

 We thank those taking part in the schemes as they are contributing greatly to the tidy towns initiative and the Probation Scheme is also making a significant input.”

“The wall at Ballinwillin was recently completed and is a huge improvement to that area. This was a joint effort by Community Council and AROMA and we would like to thank AROMA for their co-operation with the project,” the chairman said.

Mental Health Seminar 

Sean also reported on a very successful Mental Health Talk by Conor Cusack and John Arnold at St Fanahans Secondary School. This was run in conjunction with Muintir na Tire and Ballyhoura Development Company with support from the HSE Community Work Department North Cork and the National Office for Suicide prevention. Sean thanked all involved in making the project a huge success.

The AGM of Mitchelstown Community Council was held on Tuesday, 30th April at 8pm in  the Town Hall and was very well attended. All of the outgoing officers were re-elected. The elections were overseen by Denis Kelly Community Development Officer Cork County Federation Muintir na Tire.

Parsnip Plotting By Michael Kelly of GIY Ireland

By Michael Kelly

This week I will be sowing my parsnips outside in the veg patch. Unlike carrots, they are relatively easy to grow (once you have persuaded them to germinate), and since they store well in the soil over the winter they are a valuable winter storage crop.  I grow around 40 parsnips which is more than enough to keep us happy between around November (when we start hankering for root crops) and next March.  To do this I need to allocate around 2m of growing space (in a standard bed you will get three rows of parsnips).
Though I practice mainly a no-dig type of growing I always put a bit of work in to the root crop bed (where carrots and parsnips will be sown) – I start by turning over the soil with a fork (to a depth of a foot) which I think is the key to a decent crop since the roots can descend in to the soil happily, with no obstructions such as hard soil or stones to thwart their growth.  I then rake the soil well to even it off before sowing and break up and large clods of soil.
Most parsnip seed packets will tell you to sow them in February - don't do it.  Far better to leave it until around now when germination will be more reliable thanks to warmer weather.   To sow, make a drill 2cm deep – if soil is dry, dampen.  Sow one seed every 5cm in rows 30cm apart and cover in with soil.  Germination takes up to three weeks.  When seedlings appear, thin to 10cm apart for medium sized parsnips.  Once you have sown them...READ MORE
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Suicide or Survive - Announcing the launch of our new, free SOS App!


Ever heard people say “There’s an app for that?”  Well now there is an app for looking after your mental health!  The new Suicide or Survive Mental Wellness App has been developed to enable you to work towards better mental wellbeing and to provide you with the tools required to improve, manage and maintain your mental wellness.

So whether you’re sitting on the bus, or at home with a cup of tea, the free SOS app provides practical tools that you can use whatever your circumstances.   The app features include:


How to take a mindful minute

Mindfulness diary and timer

Tracking device for your mental wellbeing over time

Feed your Wolf of Hope

Watch short video presentations 

Within your app store, search for Suicide or Survive and download it free-of-charge.  We hope you enjoy using it and would love to hear any feedback you may have. 

Best wishes,

The SOS Team




WED 13 MAY 2015 

Women having some fun at the AOSTA (Association of Services to the Aged) annual conference, held recently at the Charleville Park Hotel.

    •  9.30-10.00 Coffee Registration
    • 10.15-10.30 Introductions and Exercise
    • 10.30-10.40 Opening Address
    • 10.40-11.30 The Irish Gerontology Society
    • 11.30-12.15 Carers Strategy, Donal O Suilabhain
    • 12.15-12.35 Liam's Lifts, Fermoy
    • 12.35-1.00 Fermoy Carers Support Group
    • 1.00-2.15 Lunch
    • 2.15-2.45 Entertainment with Paki O'Callaghan
    • 2.45-3.45 The latest in Flower Arranging