Urban garden brings touch of paradise to troubled estate
RESIDENTS of one of the country's most troubled housing estates experienced more signs of social regeneration yesterday when an area of wasteland was transformed into a piece of urban paradise.
Following 12 months of hard work and no official funding, a community garden has been unveiled at Delmege Park in Moyross, Limerick's largest council estate.
The project was spearheaded by the Moyross Residents Alliance and the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, or the 'Moyross Monks' as they are more commonly known.
The St Francis Community Garden is located on the site where three houses were demolished by Limerick City Council over a year ago. It is also across the road from St Patrick's Friary, which was opened by the Moyross Monks when they moved to Limerick from the Bronx, New York, in July 2007.
To celebrate the opening of the garden by Moyross-born Munster rugby player Keith Earls, the monks staged a rapping contest for local teenagers.
'Stars in the Hood' was organised by local youth worker Jamie Daly to help "stop young kids in the area from ruining their futures".
Jamie's father, Tommy Daly, who is chairperson of the Moyross Residents Alliance, said: "The best thing about the garden is when you come out of your house in the morning you no longer see the eyesore that was there."
The project was funded through various donations, including €5,000 from Co Limerick businessman JP McManus.
German-born friar Brother Paulus manages the garden, which is home to a wildlife pond, apple trees, strawberry bushes and an herb garden. He worked alongside Jason Hamilton, an organic horticulturist from Belfast, who worked on the project on a voluntary basis.
"Everybody pulled together. It certainly taught me about the value of community," said Mr Hamilton.