Following on the success of St Joseph’s GAA Club Social Initiative outings in 2013 and 2014, the Club renewed it’s efforts to remain rooted in the community.
Fiona Coen, the Club’s Social Initiative Coordinator organised their first trip for 2017 – a unique visit to Dublin. On a beautiful May Day, a group of 20 members of the Kilteevan community boarded a bus to the Capital to visit Farmleigh House and the National Botanic Gardens, under the GAA Social Initiative Scheme.
The age profile of the group was 40-85 year olds, all having expressed an interest in visiting the state-held guest house for foreign dignitaries. This was an experience most would not have had the opportunity to do without joining this locally organised tour.
On arrival, there was tour of the interior of Farmleigh House – an interesting insight into the architecture, history and traditions of the former owners (the Guinness family) throughout the years, right up to the present day.
The early Summer garden was spectacular with beautiful magnolia, the size of goblets; well-kept and precise walled garden with orchard and glasshouse; and of course lovely examples of seasonal flowers. Given that this was one of sunniest days of the year so far, St Joseph’s really did see Farmleigh at its best! Following lunch at the Halfway House in Castleknock, the group continued to the Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin.
The worthwhile pre-booked organised tour enhanced by an excellent guide, Melissa, brought the group to various exhibits within the gardens. Of particular interest was the Viking House, a replica of one of the dwellings which were discovered during the redevelopment of the Civic Offices in Dublin City. The group reflected on Kilteevan Tidy Town’s project as Sustainable Initiatives were referred to including recycling, growing what we need to eat, the suggestion being that perhaps we need to revert to old fashioned ways.
In the Rain Forest Glasshouse the group learned about the Banana Tree and the amazing Baobab Tree. Baobab, ”the tree of Limitless Good” was in fruit the day the group visited. This was definitely a once in a lifetime experience for all of the St. Joseph’s Social Initiative group.
By way of total contrast in the Native plants area, the group was amused to see a “field” which had been transported all the way from Ardrahan Co Galway to Dublin, to monitor the effect of climate change on the plants growing within it.
Feedback from all those on St Joseph’s GAA Social Initiative tour was overwhelmingly positive. The GAA and St Josephs continue to ensure that the health and wellbeing of members, clubs, and communities is at the core of all GAA activity.