Coal Quay gets veggie garden as volunteers dig in for city

Coal Quay gets veggie garden as volunteers dig in for city
Mad About Cork volunteers working on a new vegetable garden on Cornmarket Street.

A new vegetable garden will be added to the Coal Quay in the coming weeks as Mad About Cork continues their efforts to brighten up the city centre.

The group is planning to grow potatoes, cabbage and onions, along with other vegetables which would have traditionally been sold at the markets in the area.

The project is to be funded by a €2,000 grant from GIY Ireland and Energia, with members of the group describing themselves as 'over the moon' to receive the money.

It is the latest in a long line of projects pursued by the group, which established itself as an offshoot of Reimagine Cork in recent months.

While the latter sought to focus on bigger projects, including proposals for a 'living wall' of plants at Cork Opera House, Mad About Cork were keen to keep their weekly meetings and cleanups going.

Group member Kevin O'Brien said, "We are meeting every Wednesday and Saturday and we are getting 10, 15 or 20 people each time so the interest is still growing."

This week, the group met at North Gate Bridge to replant the colourful flower boxes that have been hanging in the area since last October.

They were planted with winter seeds last year, with some newer, colourful plants added this week.

Leader's Menswear sponsored the materials for the project, with flowers expected to sprout in the coming weeks.

"They don't look like much right now," Mr O'Brien said.

"But give it a few weeks and stuff will start to grow."

Concerns were raised when the initial flower boxes were added to the bridge that they would be damaged or vandalised.

However, Mr O'Brien said that proved not to be the case.

"We lost one or two but nothing major. It was great. I think before you get involved, you expect some damage but more people want to help than vandalise."

In recent weeks, the group has also been working on projects on Douglas Street and the adjacent Travers Street, as well as George's Quay.

Mini gardens and an array of flower beds, plant pots and up-cycled pallets have been introduced to add some colour and community feel to the areas.

Not everyone has been receptive to Mad About Cork's work, though.

Last week, the Evening Echo reported that an individual had targeted several projects, damaging temporary structures and spray-painting the tag 'Aero' on buildings, vehicles and walls.

Much of this was focused on the North Main Street area, with extensive damage spotted on Coleman's Lane in particular.

Volunteers from Mad About Cork moved in to restore the area last weekend.

Mr O'Brien said, "We haven't seen any more damage since. There is some graffiti on the street - a new tag 'Chaser', which we hadn't seen before has maybe 20 or 30 tags along the street, but there is no damage.

"It comes in waves. All we can hope for is businesses to keep on top of it and keep their businesses clean."

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