In October 2009 Pearse College identified the general areas of Horticulture and Sustainable Practices as key sectors for growth. The expertise of the staff along with our facilities meant that we had the resources available to allow us to develop further in these areas and so Pearse College and the City of Dublin Education and Training Board developed some of its land to set up allotments.
The piece of land in question has been used for educational purposes for over 45 years and the development of these allotments in the first instance is a direct result of the interest and needs of the courses within the Environment Department in Pearse College:
- Amenity Horticulture
- Organic Gardening
- Architectural Draughting
- Computer Aided Design
- Sustainable Construction
- Landscape Design
- Sustainable Landscapes
- Ecology in Ireland
In conjunction with Dublin City Council and local community groups, Pearse College drew up a plan that would meet the needs of the local community as well as our own.
There are 133 plots in total, each measuring 80sq. metres, aside from 5 raised beds which provide wheelchair accessible growing spaces. 10 of the plots are retained by the college for use as common areas and student plots, and the remainder are leased to local people.
The Allotments are a wonderful example of the mutual benefits of situating a community allotment within a horticultural college, and the college teachers and students link directly with the plot holders regularly. The sharing of expertise is a two way street as the older allotment holders have a reservoir of knowledge and experience which they are happy to share,
The plot holders have access to a number of free facilities, including:
5 large storage containers that provide storage space for tools and equipment,A clubhouseOur own water, pumped by a wind turbine from a well and fed throughout the siteBark mulchHorse manureA small shared composting facility, though allotment holders are encouraged to compost on their own plots.Access to shower and toiletsAn orchard, planted with fruit trees and shrubs.A common area consisting of a BBQ area, seating, lawn and flowerbedsA wildlife corridor, with native trees and shrubs and plans for bee hives.Communal herb plantersA safe play area in the centre of the site for small children.
The plot holders are for the most part local residents drawn from the Dublin City Council, Crumlin and Drimnagh Allotment waiting lists. This area of Dublin has a long tradition of allotments and in recent times the number of people wanting them far exceeds the amount available.
An important aspect of allotments is the development of a community. Many of the plots have been taken up by families and groups of friends. Therefore the Pearse College Allotment community is made up of between 130 and 250 individuals. Plot holders and their families spend weekends, evenings and sometimes weekdays on their plots. People help out neighbours, more experienced growers have advice and tips for beginners, and people gather to chat when taking a break from their work.
One of the best aspects of this sense of community is the amount of “gatherings” that take place over the year. Some are organised by the Pearse College Allotment Committee – open days, talks, sales of plants and seeds, competitions for the best storage container or the biggest turnip, harvest and midsummer parties, and some are impromptu – when the sunny days bring everybody out to their plots, the BBQs are lit and groups of friends and neighbours gather to chat and share expertise and experiences…
There is a waiting list for any plots that might become available. Contact the general office in Pearse College on 01 4536661 to add your name to the list. The annual fee for a 80m² plot is €200.
The allotment committee have set up a page which you can visit on pearse college allotments advice