Friday, 20 April 2012

The Nano Nagle Centre

The Nano Nagle Centre
I'm just back, (in several pieces)! from an afternoon spent near Mallow Co. Cork at the Nano Nagle centre. Once upon a time it was famous for its presentation order of nuns, now it's more famous for workshops, retreats and it's organic garden and farm. I took a community group from nearby Kildorrery to get some ideas of how to layout their new tunnel and organise their allotment.

The Allotments
The nuns run two gardens really, one to produce food for the restaurant in the centre and one as an allotment for anyone who wants one. There are rules and regulations; its strictly organic, must be kept well and a fee paid yearly of €100 for the use of the land, the provision of manure and water and the use of a tool shed to keep tools. The smiling guide told me several people had been "evicted" for using chemicals-they are serious about being organic!

They hold a farmers market every month in one of their three tunnels, keep a variety of farm animals(free range and organic of course)! and run all sorts of interesting courses and retreats. They also use one of the tunnels as a teaching tunnel for students.They have a kind of three fold mission in that care of the earth is bound up with their own brand of spirituality with a dollop of Heritage thrown in.

the teaching tunnel
I don't know if everyone who came today got the worth of the visit. Sometimes its easy for me to see what you can learn from other places but people very often miss the essential things or see everything but observe nothing. I was saying this to one of the group over tea and scones at the end of the visit but she reckoned you can lead a horse to water but you cant make it drink!! Amen to that!!

beautiful scenery on the way home
I had picked up Jack at lunchtime and he came with me. Discussing the place on the way home he was very struck by the professionalism of the whole place, the neat layouts of the teaching tunnel, kitchen garden, small tunnel and allotments. Everyone had been asking about Kitty Scully, our guide told us she left them for 6 months to work in television and came back looking for part-time hours but couldn't get them. This afternoon they were interviewing for a new farm manager to fill her shoes. I cant help but feel they should have given her the hours. Her public profile could only have been of benefit to them.

Anyway here in pictures is what I took from the visit. We were lucky with the weather, thunder was grumbling as we left Kildorrery and the sky was inky black, but the sun shone while we were walking around in Ballygriffin.

deep heat mat propagator with under storage in the tunnel
beautifully built 4 bay compost system
and around the other side clever water collection!
beautiful curved covered pergola walkway to the gardens

great crop signage-just what I need in the garden!
beautifully made potting bench and storage underneath
Protected spuds-1st earlies kept protected for early cropping

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