In October 2009, a demonstration on sustainable vegetable gardening was organised by the Athenry Environmental Network in co-operation with the Athenry Tidy Towns Group and the Community Council. This event was a precursor to the establishment of allotments in Athenry.
The 1st year of production at the Community Council field at Knockanglaus was 2010. It started with 8 participating families and the enthusiasm and efficiency with which stones could be removed and accumulated into cairns was remarkable.
Having being fallow for quite a number of years, the productivity of the site that 1st year did not surprise. Everything (including weeds) grew with vigour. 10 years on, and the site is full and still producing. Producing as a consequence of knowledge gained, timing, patience, perseverance and sometimes, a little boost (be it organic and/or artificial)!
We await each new challenge, from frost, drought, wind and rain or perhaps, some biological adversaries in the form of jackdaws, pigeons, slugs or even COVID. Often we would wonder what manner of livestock would greet us on our trek through the field to the plots.
The new growing season is greeted with zeal. Friends (old and new) meet up and discuss Christmas and New Year activities and so, on it goes, until the last spud is dug or the sprouts are finally harvested for the Christmas dinner.
As the years went on, plots were worked and fallowed. People came and went and yet a community has developed. A community that is based on sharing knowledge and produce, a love of outdoors and a huge pride in the ability to grow one’s own food. Long may it last!
It is worth noting that the site still has the amazing ability to ‘grow’ rocks. Luka Bloom’s song Fertile Rock has some competition from the Allotments of Athenry!