Inaugural Athlone Apple day a local community success

The inaugural Athlone Apple day recently hosted in the surrounds of the Franciscan Walled Garden was the focal point for much footfall attraction as members of the local community descended upon the Strand side location to embrace the occasion.

Committee member, Sally McCarrick, expressed her gratitude to all those who attended the community event.

“The Athlone Apple committee wish to thank attendees for their generous support and donations at the Athlone Apple day gathering recently hosted in the Franciscan Walled Garden.

“A special thanks also to the fathers and brothers of the Franciscan Friary for opening their walled garden for the event, Athlone Family Resource Centre for their financial support and use of equipment and Athlone Community Radio, for advertising and being a presence on the day.

“The turn out on the day was a lovely surprise for all involved and the chat and music provided by Seamus Shannon and friends added to the atmosphere,” Ms McCarrick stated.

Local apple experts, Stephan Marsh and Padraig Higgins, were in attendance alongside Jeremy Turkington – orchard curator at Irish Seed Savers Association – which holds the national living collection of Ireland’s heritage Apple varieties in Scariff, County Clare.

“The Irish Seed Saver stall was so popular among event attendees that Jeremy and horticulture assistant Damien Regan, sold out within 20 minutes, The duo remained for the entirety of the afternoon to give advice on apple varies suited for this area and the needs of their patrons.

“Committee members include the local apple experts as well as trained horticulturists and drivers of community and social enterprise. The committee wishes to create stronger links between locals and nature through community activity of creating, planting and long-term care of apple orchards throughout the town of Athlone. The focus is on heritage apple varieties to secure genetic diversity while enhancing our local biodiversity and food security.

“Donations received during the course of the Athlone Apple day, in combination with the Open Orchard Apple Grant has contributed towards the purchasing of apples for recent and future plantings. Planting locations since the Apple Day include Ardkeenan National School, Willow Park, with the addition of Clonown National school later this month.

“Recent discussions with the resident committees of Carton Drive and the Batteries resulting in positive plans for the near future, involving the planting and long-term maintenance of orchards in communal grounds at each location.

“The future seems fruitful in the core of Ireland with additional planting locations in the pipeline as well as orchard pruning workshops directed by Stephan Marsh.

“If you would like to learn more about the project, join, donate or feel you can contribute to the work of the committee, please contact [email protected],” Ms McCarrick concluded.

 

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