The cork garden will create a positive space for all


What is a garden for? This is something you may never have thought about or, if like me, you spend your life in gardens and create new ones, then it is a question that is on your mind constantly.

They may need a space for the children to play, they may want a place to grow their own food. A utility area for composting trash and storing trash cans and the like will almost always be needed.

Irene and Eoin O’Connor turn the lawn in Carrigaline Community Park for the Heart Angel Garden. Also pictured are Peter Dowdall, Irish Examiner gardening columnist, and Paul McCarthy, Full O’Beans. Photo: Dan Linehan

There are many wants and needs when it comes to private gardens, so every garden is different.

Public gardens have a different set of rules, as public safety and the needs of the wider community must be met. However, every garden plays many more important and universal roles, those of counteracting the effects of climate change, of providing shelter for wildlife and thus helping to reduce the rate of species extinction, of helping us all with our mental health and to provide a space where we can improve our physical health.

There’s something special going on at Carrigaline Community Park, Co Cork right now.

The community is coming together to create The Heart Angel Garden, and I met the dedicated team there when the shotgun was shot on January 15th.

“The purpose of this garden, which will be created within the larger park, is to be an interactive space, for specially designed programs such as play therapy for children, head space, and to encourage and to educate people about rewilding and its importance to the environment,” said Irene O’Connor, co-founder of The Heart Angel Charity.


It is designed by garden designer Maura Duffy, and it is hoped that the garden will create an inspiring and positive space for the community.

“I want to inspire everyone to live their best life, and it’s designed around #theheartangel challenges designed for elementary schools by The Heart Angel Charity,” Maura said.

In addition, there will be a space for children in the community who cannot run and jump in the park to go and have fun, a quiet space for young parents and toddlers, a place for all members of the community who need headroom, time – amidst the beauty of trees, shrubs and wildlife.


This whole garden project is brimming with positivity and will showcase everything a garden should be, which is a joyful and interactive space.

For me, a garden is not just something you admire from the sidewalk or from inside a window. It should invite you in, want to be a part of it, and it’s not just a statement aimed at children.

We all need to get our hands dirty, feel the birch stalks brush our hair (or lack thereof, in my case!), feel the breeze, hear the ducks, and just “be” part of the garden.

Broadly, the garden will be designed around eight individual sections located under existing trees, which will be planted with wildflowers.

Each of the eight sections will be full of brightness and inspiration, individually designed by a commissioned artist, each around one of the eight themes of the #theheartangel challenge.


Each section in front of each tree will inspire a different purpose: Kindness, Forgiveness, Inclusion, Joy, Courage/Bravery, Love, Gratitude, and Happiness.

A central area of ​​the garden will be designed on a large black circle. This will act as an interactive blackboard where wishes, positive messages and images can be chalked out and washed away in the rain.


Three curved benches will be located around this central space, again enticing visitors to stop and blend into the landscape.

The driving force behind this garden is local woman Irene O’Connor, and it could not become a reality without the inspiring and cooperative members of the local council.

At the launch of the Heart Angel Charity in memory of Béibhinn O'Connor, her mother Irene and her cousins ​​Brooke and Jacob O'Connor at Cork Town Hall.  Photo: Siobhan Russell
At the launch of the Heart Angel Charity in memory of Béibhinn O’Connor, her mother Irene and her cousins ​​Brooke and Jacob O’Connor at Cork Town Hall. Photo: Siobhan Russell

Irene and her husband Eoin heartbreakingly lost their young daughter Béibhinn 16 months ago and feel inspired by her life to create this positive and inclusive space where the whole community can feel part of it.

Béibhinn O'Connor in whose memory the garden is created.
Béibhinn O’Connor in whose memory the garden is created.

While the idea may belong to Irene and Eoin, many local groups and volunteers are getting involved, including local artists and community organizations, and at the center of the Carrigaline space will be a sculpture that will reflect new beginnings. , rebirth, hope and light.

When complete it will include stained glass windows that are colored to give a burst of energy when the southern light hits and which will give a completely different form of light and energy when the western light hits.


It will create rainbows and bursts of energy and light of different colors.

Currently, this space is mainly used for yoga classes and meditation. These lights will therefore be very suitable for anyone taking up yoga and will reflect the light of our chakras and the energies that inspire us.

Irene and Eoin O'Connor.
Irene and Eoin O’Connor.

I’ll leave the final words on this garden to The Heart Angel’s founder, Irene.

“Our charitable mission is and always will be kindness, and in the years to come it will go far beyond our first project The Heart Angel Garden in Carrigaline. I understand that we can’t change the world, but…..”

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