Official Opening of Secret Garden at Cois na hAbhna

Official Opening of Secret Garden at Cois na hAbhna, a partnership project between Comhaltas Ceoltoirí Eireann and Ennis Tidy Towns.

Community based development of a ‘Secret Garden’ based on the children’s classic by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The theme of the project  is based on the children’s classic book “The Secret Garden” in that  forgetting of oneself and living for others and through living close to nature, one will find oneself – Nature (in the divine sense) will look after you.  This and community involvement is the main thrust behind the thinking in the development of this garden.  It is wonderful to restore it to its former meditative glory which is suspected was in the Victorian era.  This is presently being researched.

The smaller of the areas, the actual “Secret Garden” has an archway of trees against a red door in the wall which has been restored by members of the community and Ennis Tidy Towns and also a wire mesh arch which will be planted with honeysuckle and climbing roses.  Toadstools, fairies, etc will be placed in the undergrowth for children to discover.

The larger area consists of a beautiful sunken garden backed by a very high wall and with an overlooking seat and stone balustrade. Whelan’s Quarries have donated a large limestone rock (which is indicative of Co. Clare) which has been developed into a water feature. This resembles the natural fall of water over rock in nature. The garden is being  planted with an old fashioned feel, e.g. lilac tree, cherry tree, buddleia, philadelphus, pansies, poppies with lavender near the seating area.

All the young people and community members involved will plant shrubs and flowers that have meaning for them and/or in memory of someone close to them.

The transition years from the CBS , members of the Brothers of Charity community and their tutors, Doreen Norris, Frank Whelan and the staff of Cois na hAbhna, the youth section of Ennis Tidy Towns, Clare Youth Theatre  and numerous individuals  have all been involved  and it’s onwards and upwards from here on in.

The County Library is donating books for people to read in the garden and the Heritage Officer, Clare County Council, is donating nesting boxes for birds and plans  to designate  the garden as a special conservation area.

The position of the garden in an area of musical endeavour is serendipitous. We hope it will continue to be so.

Eleanor Feely, who is artist in residence at Library Headquarters and an avid book reader, instigated this project having long been fascinated by the lovely remnants of a bygone garden and has received wonderful support from Noel Crowley, the Tidy Towns Committee and the public.

The official opening of the Secret Garden will take place on Friday 2nd July at 7.30pm and will be followed by the launch of Cois na hAbhna’s Summer Seisiún Show at 8.30pm.

Seisiún is a music trail through all four Provinces of Ireland where the visitor can join with local traditional musicians, singers, dancers and storytellers for an evening of native entertainment.  In the seven years since its highly successful re-introduction in 2000, Seisiún has gone from strength to strength and continues to entertain and delight audiences both visitors and locals alike.  There are 32 Seisiún locations providing 43 venue nights of entertainment each week in tithe cheoil (cultural centres), hotels and community halls. These include: Adare, Ballina, Ballyduff, Belmullet, Bree, Cashel, Cavan, Clonmel, Corofin, Dublin, Dungarvan, Durrow, East Clare, Ennis, Ennistymon, Fermoy, Ferns, Freemount, Gurteen, Kilrush, Listowel, Moate, Omagh, Renvyle, Rockchapel, Sligo, Templeglantine, Tubber, Tullamore, Waterford and Youghal.

SEISIÚN is unique in that it offers high quality Irish traditional entertainment which is also authentic without any gimmicks or embellishments. The native music, song and dance are to be found in every corner of the land.   Sometimes a little help is needed to find the discreet and intimate settings where time stands still and the performers while away the hours with exhilarating musicmaking and where the visitor is always welcome.

With the ever-increasing popularity of Irish music and dancing internationally, thousands of visitors to Ireland are now seeking out these unique artforms.   In recent years visitors have become increasingly more discerning in their quest to find authentic traditional entertainment and frequently express disappointment at not being able to discover the music venues – “the hidden Ireland”.   SEISIÚN will help to make their task easier and contribute towards presenting Ireland as an “Island of Music”.

SEISIÚN will provide young performers – in partnership with the more seasoned players – with an outlet for their exceptional talents.   This will be an authentic traditional experience where the performers and their neighbours gather in for an evening of native entertainment but where the visitor can also join in a country set-dance or “The Siege of Ennis”, or, indeed, contribute an item from their own culture.

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