Rialto’s exciting new community space.
By Samuel Bishop
I’m passionate about innovative uses of vacant spaces for the good of the community. So you’ll understand my excitement upon discovering a pretty special project doing just that (and more) literally a stone’s throw from my new home in Dublin 8.
It’s important to me that we celebrate the great peopleorientated initiatives emerging around the country. These projects get little financing or exposure, but work extremely hard to make a difference in their community. I would argue that they are vital to the health of our communities and society as a whole.
Flanagan’s Fields is a community garden situated in an area which has undergone huge transformation in the past 15 years. It is a beautiful garden in its infancy, having only begun in 2011. It has an impressive and diverse range of elements to explore, from the commonage gardens, the micro-gardens (a mix of flowers and vegetables), the rubble herb spirals, the spiritual (zen) garden, the pond, the sensory garden, the small woodland (in progress), the healthy food zone, the compost zone and the wild flower and wheat growing space.
The first thing that strikes you is the dome. In stark contrast to the new red brick apartment complexes, the dome appears soft and subtle, yet shouts out for attention. It is unexpected, surprising and an exciting addition to the landscape. This is The Grow Dome, a geodesic dome made of timber and clear plastic sheeting, and is the most iconic part of this wonderful haven. What started out as a research and experimental project has expanded into a community hub, multi-purpose function room, greenhouse, rain shelter and education space and the complete opposite to dreary, concrete community centres! The dome and the garden are a source of pride and a landmark in the community. Members can join the garden with a payment of ¤5, which goes towards the cost of a key, and a small voluntary contribution of manual work.