Emigrant garden a real departure for new arrivals
TWO returned emigrants have grown their hardships into a thought-provoking garden at this year's Bloom festival.
Friends Cillian McDonald and Luke Byrne, both 24, emigrated to the US and Portugal respectively after they were unable to find work at home.
They returned to Ireland to set up their own gardening business in Cabinteely, Dublin, last January and have designed a garden called 'Departures' on the theme of emigration for this year's Bloom in Dublin's Phoenix Park.
The garden features stacks of bailed hay and stands of lime trees. Inter-woven in the trees is a ribbon featuring the photographs of 10 family and friends who have emigrated recently.
Visitors to the conceptual garden can don headphones to listen to interviews with the emigrants.
"Some of them had to leave for work, others wanted to travel and see what's out there," explained Luke.
He told how he was unable to get work in Ireland so went to Lisbon in Portugal.
"I worked with an architectural firm there just to get experience," he added.
However, since their return to Ireland, the pair decided to set up their own design firm and already have a number of gardens under their belts.
Elsewhere one of the youngest gardeners ever to exhibit at Bloom, 19-year-old Ben Landers from Killeagh, Co Cork, turned his passion for growing into a full-time career.
The design for his garden 'The Birds and the Bees' came to him in a dream and has a 150-year-old olive tree at its centre.
Bloom continues until Monday evening and is open 10am-6pm.