Welcome to the School Garden
Our Garden is approximately 2 acres in size and to the teachers and children it is fondly known as the classroom without walls.
In 1990 the idea for this wonderful space was the brain child of a school parent, Gabrielle O’Hurlihy. Embraced by the Principal of the time Gabrielle ventured into the 2 acre rubbled waste at the back of the school with a handful of willing parents, a never ceasing vision, determination and enthusiasm and over the next 25 years nurtured the space to become the most amazing wilderness garden for the children. Gaining celebrity status on RTE several times the garden has yielded Bronze Age artifacts and biodiversity recognition nationwide. The school has also attained 6 Green School Flags showing our committment to the planet we live on.
As the garden grew, funding was needed to manage the space and develope and run the educational programmes that exists today and are so beneficial to the children. The Department of Education supply no funding for this so the Parents Assocation support this through an annual fundraiser every year simply known as ‘Garden Day’. This is a most wonderful day. A chance for parents, prandparents and families to experience the garden at first hand as it is opened up to the public for all to see.
The garden is really a biodiversity science project and with the support of the teachers as much of the curriculum as is possible is taught through the garden. After 25 years of running the garden Gabrielle retired but she left the garden in the most capable hands of another wonderful woman, Fiona Fullam. Fiona volunteered in the garden right through her two daughters attending the school. A teacher herself with a passion for horticulture Gabrielle could not have placed the garden in better hands. Through Fiona’s love of teaching and knowledge of the garden the children’s learning there is supported by the school teachers, the teachers are supported by the Garden & Green School Committee and the Garden Committee’s support comes solely from parents.
This Committee has approx eight volunteers. They are an amazing bunch of parents who come and weather permitting work their magic. Meeting every Wednesday during terms only some come every week and others whenever they have a spare Wednesday and others row in for the build up to Garden Day. When you visit the garden, it is amazing to see how much work these few volunteers actually get done over the school year.
If you have never visited the school on Garden Day before then you are missing a real treat. The children prepare projects for the day and the Green School Committee are on hand to bring you to where the 6th class girls will give you a wonderful tour of the whole garden.
The 6th class girls prepare for this day during their last term in Primary School. The school holds a private Garden Day for all its students from Junior Infants to 5th class annually the day before the parents get to come. When the girls enter 6th class, it is seen it as an honour, and a rite of passage, to present the garden to the younger classes and outside visitors. They do so with pride as they prepare to leave St. Brigid’s. It is amazing to hear them speak with such confidence and knowledge about their garden and its inhabitants. You can visit the archeological site where the Bronze Age axe heads were found and see all the other amazing projects the children have worked on throughout the year plus keep an eye out for the local wildlife from Badgers to bugs.
On Garden Day you can purchase crafts made by your daughers, good quality plants from the plant stall or notelets printed with scenes from the garden. There are fresh strawberries and cream to be had with coffee, tea and cakes on sale too. Some years we even get to sell homemade jams from the fruits harvested from the garden. You can purchase tickets for the raffles and avail of the secondhand uniform & tracksuit sale again supporting our desire to recycle as much as possible. The garden tours are free and the school choir and orchestra also delight with music recitals and songs in the school hall.
All the money raised on this day is used to support the running of the garden but most important of the girls get to showcase one of the things they love most about their school.
It’s a great way to see what the Garden is all about and why the children are so proud of it!