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Kelly's Bay residents’ hard work bears fruit as community orchard opens

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Sylmara Santos, Patrick and Pedro Santos Moore at the planting of the community orchard in Kelly’s Bay Green, Skerries.

Sylmara Santos, Patrick and Pedro Santos Moore at the planting of the community orchard in Kelly’s Bay Green, Skerries.

Sylmara Santos, Patrick and Pedro Santos Moore at the planting of the community orchard in Kelly’s Bay Green, Skerries.

fingalindependent

Kelly's Bay in Skerries became an altogether more colourful place last weekend, as Sustainable Skerries planted its first open orchard in the town.

On Saturday, February 12 2022, local ‘tree guardians’ and other volunteers met in the large Kelly's Bay Green, between Kelly's Bay and Mourne View, and planted 18 trees.

The new trees consisted mainly of apple (both eating and cooking), pears, plums and hazelnuts, all open to the Skerries public to enjoy or to take home and bake pies.

Sabine McKenna, Chairperson of Sustainable Skerries, explains: “We have volunteers, and Sustainable Skerries is behind it. We’re a community group that’s part of the Skerries Community Association, and we are getting people involved locally.

"We have a steering committee called Skerries Open Orchard Project, which abbreviates to ‘SKOOP’, and the first orchard that we are now planting is in Kelly’s Bay.”

Sabine adds: "We wanted a location that’s overlooked by many houses, we have some people living nearby who can actually see where the trees are growing, and we kind of leafleted those areas in December/January.

"It was just one location we saw that had a bit of green that wasn't used for playing ball or anything like that. It would just be a good example of where to try things.”

Having received funding from Accenture through ChangeX and the strong support of Fingal County Council, Sustainable Skerries was eager not to miss the planting season.

Fingal County Council has been particularly helpful, as Sabine explains: “Fingal are going to help out with some signage, we're going to get some signage put up, but not yet. 

"We’ve been meeting some very good people from the (council’s) Parks Department on location as they say, and they were very interested in seeing how it works out as a pilot and what we could do in the future.”

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As far as Sustainable Skerries is aware, the open orchard is the first of its kind in the area, and should be a major and beautiful attraction to the town. 

The group now plans to plant more orchards around Skerries, should their work bear fruit.

The event saw a large crowd from Skerries sign up to come along and plant the trees, both local residents and also residents from around Skerries who wish to be part of the wonderful initiative.

Sabine says: “The tree guardians are the main ones giving us the help with the planting, but they will also keep an eye on the trees and water them if it’s very dry, etc.

"So if there’s anything to be done, for instance if we go through a very dry patch again they would make sure that the trees are being watered and that the trees are looked after that way.”

Residents brought refreshments on the day and had ‘a little party’ to celebrate the planting of the open orchard's 18 trees.

Local councillors, including Cllr Seána Ó’Rodaigh (LAB) were also expected to join in the celebrations.

If anyone else in Skerries is interested in having an open orchard in their area, contact: sustskerries@gmail.com.


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