Ireland's largest Urban Forest Park Community Project

The Terryland Forest Park was the largest urban neighbourhood forest project in the history of the Irish state when it commenced in January 2000. Initiated as a result of years of campaigning by resident groups, 120 acres was zoned by Galway City Council for a new woodland and riverine park.
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.

 
Harvesting in 2022 the Fruits from Trees planted by volunteers in 2013

 Over the last few weeks the Tuatha volunteers have been picking apples from trees planted by volunteers in 2013, as part of that year's annual community Plantathon in Terryland Forest Park.
The apples once picked (after leaving behind windfall fruits for the rest of nature to enjoy) were converted by my good wife Cepta (with a little help from me!( into delicious tarts that were happily eaten by volunteers onsite!

Top of photo shows four volunteers from 2022 (Paul, Ruth, Victor & Tobias) holding a wicker basket of apples made possible by the efforts of Terryland volunteers from 2013 including the four people shown in the lower part of the photo, namely Caroline Mc Donagh and daughter, and Sarah Knight and son Cian.
We thank these four people and the other great volunteers of nine years ago as well as all of the thousands of volunteers who have given their time and effort since 2000 to rewild what is now a Terryland Forest Park comprising a mosaic of diverse wildlife habitats in the heart of urban Galway.

Earlier this year volunteers planted in the same area a linear orchard of rare varieties of native Irish apples donated to us by Martina Finn who obtained them from Seedsavers. Looking forward to harvesting their fruits in future years.
Finally a big 'bualadh bos' to Cepta Lynch Stephens who donated the lovely handcrafted wicker basket to me a few years ago.
 
p.s. Join us every Saturday morning from 10am at the Sandy Road entrance to Terryland Forest Park