Over a five year period, approximately 100,000 native Irish trees were planted by the people and schools of Galway city, thus creating an expansive natural habitat for a wide variety of flora and fauna located not far from the city centre that connects into the vast Lough Corrib waterways, one of the most cherished areas of biodiversity in the country.
Within its grounds or on the park’s periphery, lies a rich fabric of Galway city’s history that includes working farmlands, the ruins of medieval castles, forgotten canals, the remains of a Georgian garden and WW2 urban allotments, Victorian railway lines and engineering waterworks.
A multi-sectoral steering committee was re-established in 2012 to help promote community engagement and to develop a long-term strategic plan for this wonderful green resource. Under the auspices of Galway City Council, it includes representatives from the City Parks’ department, Galway Education Centre, HSE, An Taisce, the Community Forum, GMIT and NUI Galway.
Unfortunately it was cancelled by city council in 2014 but it is expected to reconvene later this year with a new format.
Regular annual events include nature detective walks, native tree plantings, wildflower seed dispersal projects, third level science research programmes, organic gardening and a harvest festival. One particularly interesting initiative is ‘Slí na gCaisleán’, a pioneering pedestrian and cycling Greenway connecting Terryland Castle to six other castles that has the potential to become a world-renowned amenity to be shared by tourist and local alike.
In the early years of its formation, a programme of family picnic days, outdoor theatre, art workshops, community tree and school children bulb planting days took place in the park that often attracted thousands of participants. These activities hopefully will be revived post COVID.