The Stone Barn, Mountbagnal, Riverstown, Dundalk, Co. Louth, Ireland.
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Create Louth



Art Out Loud: What Art Means to Children

This project offers primary school children the opportunity to interact with artworks from the County Louth Art Collection at the Basement Gallery, Dundalk. Children will discuss the artworks in regards to their own life experiences and perspectives. The goal of the project is to offer children the opportunity to engage with contemporary art as a springboard for their own ideas and inspiration. The Basement Gallery will become a space for children to reflect upon their own identities and life stories in relation to themes evoked within a selection of thought provoking images. 

Create Louth

The Art Of Loud

A Blooming Uprising: Primary School Guerrilla Gardeners

Primary school children will act as guerrilla gardeners, transforming neglected areas of community landscapes into blooming gardens. Working with local Tidy Towns groups, the children will act as gangs of environmental activists, making nature blossom within local towns and villages. Each primary school's group of guerrilla gardeners will be named after an Irish tree or wild flower. From garden design and cultivation to pubic events and environmental education, each troop of young guerrilla gardeners will act as leaders in a campaign to change the nature of local landscapes.

1Environment Heritage and Local Govenment

Girl Flowers

Mutual Ground: Biodiversity Training for Community Activists and Primary Schools

This project will highlight the European Year of Active Citizenship by implementing a series of training workshops for local communities and biodiversity Green Schools. Primary schools will participate in a challenge to improve their local environment, by ecologically transforming an area of neglected land within their communities. 
Members of Tidy Towns Together, County Louth will learn how to develop biodiversity gardens through a series of training workshops, that will combine practical gardening skills with strategies for organising community celebrations. Ecologically friendly gardening, media promotion, event management, and social activism will be features of the training agenda for participating primary schools and Tidy Towns communities.

1Environment Heritage and Local Govenment

Mutual Ground

Root Image

Natural Relations: Examinations of Arts and Health

A project researching effective arts and health strategies for County Louth in collaboration with the National College of Art and Design, Faculty of Visual Culture. The project includes a residency at Moorehall Healthcare, County Louth, where an ecological arts studio for older people will showcase drawings, poetry and fibre arts. This project is supported by the Arts Office of County Louth.



Growing Through the Ages: Biodiversity Gardens for the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity Between Generations 2012

The purpose of this project is to cultivate inter-generational community gardens designed and planted by older people and children within three villages in County Louth. This project will value the skills and knowledge of older people, who will share the environmental and cultural history of their local communities with children. The gardens will highlight County Louth's role as an Age Friendly County within Ireland. Growing Through the Ages will support both active ageing and community leadership, by linking the valuable experiences of older people with the ideas and aspirations of children.

1Environment Heritage and Local Govenment

Growing Though the Ages

Artist in Residence, Finland

An environmental art residency in Haukivuori, Finland culminated in the development of an art installation/studio space for children within the international arts centre Saksala Art Radius. The studio was adorned with garlands of wildflowers, a large paper seedpod, felted nests, prints of weeds and a muslin cocoon. Local children and their families worked on small handmade books within the studio. Saksala offered an opportunity to make an indoor creative habitat for children's art inspired by nature.


Artist In Residence

Drawing With Words 

A series of visual poetry workshops for families held within Ardee Library, County Louth. The poetry workshops used collage and word pictures to introduce children to the imagery of poetry. The children made artist books, bookmarks and printed banners with words and sketches. Participants also hid greeting cards containing poetry throughout the library, for adults and children to find while selecting books. Families were encouraged to work together to combine art, words and photography as a way of documenting their relationship to nature. 


Drawing With Words

Landmarks: Nature, Art, Schools
Nature Based Art Environments for Learning

An exhibition of nature based artworks by local schools, using methods of contemporary land artists, displayed at Ardee Library, County Louth. The project explored how the outdoor environment could be incorporated within classrooms to support the learning potential of students. Public workshops for children attending the Ardee Library were also included in this endeavour. Educational research linking enhanced learning to contact with nature, formed the basis of the project's activities.

Funded by Create Louth with support from Ardee Library.

1Create Louth


Tree Tribes: Nurture, Nature, Natives

A project highlighting the UN International Year of Forests 2011, which featured  community forest gardens composed of trees, flowers and edible plants. Local Tidy Towns groups and schools worked to develop biodiversity through the crafting of nature friendly areas within village common grounds. The forest gardens created gathering places for the sharing of gardening skills, Irish tree folklore, and art activities with children. The project was sponsored by The Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and Louth County Council, Environment Section.

1Environment Heritage and Local Govenment

Tree Tribes

St. Brigid’s Festival, Gardening at Imbolc

Groundswell has participated in the Brigid of Faughart Festival in County Louth offering workshops relating St. Brigid’s Day with the traditional beginning of the Irish horticultural year. These workshops have encouraged the planting of organic gardens for health, creativity and the nurturing of the environment. The folklore and uses of native wild plants and herbs have also featured in these events.

St Brigid

O’ Fiaich Institute of Further Education, Post Leaving Certificate - Art, Craft and Design

Land Art Workshops

A series of art workshops were offered to students of the Art, Craft and Design Post-Leaving Certificate, which explored the methods and ideas of contemporary land artists. The students worked within local forest parks, using sculpture, photography, creative writing and experiential exercises to connect with the landscape as an artistic medium.


Poetry of Earth – The Nature of Words

St. Colman’s Abbey Education Centre and Sticky Fingers Arts for Young Children, Newry, County Down

A classroom art installation of poetry collages, abstract art, and suspended fabric (sewn with pine needles, bracken and moss), was created by primary students expressing various aspects of winter nature poetry. The artworks of the students brought nature indoors as a sensory environment within the classroom.

Poetry of Earth

Common Ground: Community Biodiversity Gardens

This project involved four Tidy Towns communities within County Louth (Tallanstown, Kilkerley, Louth Village and Omeath), designing circular gardens in collaboration with local schools, families, and volunteers. These nature-friendly gardens are situated within public thoroughfares, and each one uniquely reflects the character of the local community. The circular shaped gardens are a symbol of people working together to enrich the nature of village life, through the planting of flowers, herbs, trees and vegetables.

“The huge turnout of people at the new garden were delighted, and it certainly involved the children. It was a unique idea and we were delighted to take part. All who attended were full of praise and the end result was much appreciated” (Tallanstown Tidy Towns)

This project was sponsored by The Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and Louth County Council, Environment Section.

1Environment Heritage and Local Govenment

Community Biodiversity

Collon National School and Stephenstown Pond Children’s Gardening Project – Circles of Life

The gardening project at Collon National School promoted organic vegetable gardening and wildlife gardening for students in collaboration with Collon Tidy Towns and the Parents Association of the school. Stephenstown Pond developed two circular planting areas for children, families and students of Knockbridge National School to learn about organic gardening through the planting of both herbs and cottage garden flowers.

This project was sponsored by The Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, and Louth County Council, Environment Section

1Environment Heritage and Local Govenment


Bord Bía National Organic Week

Groundswell has facilitated three workshops for National Organic Week - Wild Organic (2010), Herbs in an Organic Garden (2009), and Autumn Organic Gardening: Biodiversity, Creativity and Seasonal Growing (2008).

OrganicBord Bia

National Organic Week

The Art of Home: Creating Children's Displays of Environmental Art

This series of workshops for children and their families explored the use of natural art materials in generating indoor and outdoor art displays for the home. The theme of the workshop was inspired by The United Nations Environment Programme and its promotion of ecological arts as a means of developing environmental awareness.

"Really inspiring workshop, it's lovely to have the opportunity to participate in an experiential workshop with my daughter"

"We have loads of ideas to take home with us and experiment with over the months ahead"

This project was sponsored by Louth County Council and Create Louth.

1Create Louth
Art of Home

An Arts Park for Children
Sticky Fingers Arts for Young Children and Newry and Mourne District Council

Groundswell was a participant on the artistic and horticultural teams developing the Sticky Fingers Arts Park for Children in Newry, County Down in collaboration with Newry and Mourne District Council. The park, located on a former waste site, now supports a forest garden of native Irish trees and cottage garden flowers. The garden will act as a studio and performance space for artists, children and their families.

The children's forest garden is an assemblage of Irish trees, cottage and wild flowers. Collectively it works as an ecological habitat that attracts butterflies, bees and birds while also enriching an awareness of nature within urban settings, providing an interlude of reverie and imaginative contemplation for people of any age.

A Dancing Nature
Samhradh Arts Festival, Dundalk Town Council

Pre-school children danced and sang together to the music of an Irish fiddle, around a decorated tree in a teepee located within St. Helena's Park, Dundalk.

This workshop was sponsored by Dundalk Town Council.



Ecological Landscapes within Towns and Villages

Practical workshops showcasing the skills, design and implementation of biodiversity gardens for Tidy Towns participants in County Louth. These workshops were hosted by Groundswell and also included information on composting, organic mulches and organic liquid feeds and the sourcing of organic plants and seeds for Tidy Towns gardens.

This project was sponsored by The Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Tidy Towns and Louth County Council


I am Nature, I am Art
The Apple Tree Foundation, Roden House, Dundalk

The Apple Tree is a creativity centre for young people in Dundalk. This exhibition marked the opening of the centre and showcased the work of young people inspired by the walled garden at Roden House. The artworks were created using mud, ash, charcoal, leaves, bark, berries, seeds and branches. The art exhibition also featured artist books and an installation of three-dimesional natural forms.

This exhibition was sponsored by The Arts Office, Dundalk Town Council.



The Hedge School
Rampark National School, Lordship, Cooley Peninsula

The Hedge School is an environmental arts project engaging children with the making of a willow hedge, woven from cut willow to create two hedgerows which have been planted with thornless blackberry and herbs and interspersed with seaweed and leaf compost organic mulches. By making a hedgerow students appreciate the characteristics of this habitat, and equally the history of hedge schools and the folklore associated with willow.

This project was inspired by Breda Marron, Artist in Residence at Groundswell, 2007.

Biodiversity Gardening: Crafting Nature
Biodiversity Week 2008

Practical ecological gardening workshops hosted by Groundswell that share skills in organic gardening and the propagation of vegetables, herbs, cottage and Irish wild flowers within domestic garden spaces, including the planting of Irish hedgerows and fruit.

"Gardens make up a huge amount of our land mass and they provide food and shelter for a huge number of birds, butterflies, and other important wildlife. Growing native trees, shrubs and flowers or planting old-fashioned traditional garden plants from herbs to scented flowers provide more food and shelter than the new hybrid and exotic breeds. Everyone could play a part by planting native and traditional plants and using less moss peat, insecticide and other garden chemicals in their gardens and public spaces" (The Heritage Council)

This project has received support from The Heritage Council under the 2008 Grant Scheme


Biodiversity Garden, County Hall, Millennium Centre, Louth County Council

A garden border including herbs, wild plants, soft fruit and vegetables was planted in the front of the County Council offices as part of a Tidy Towns Notice Nature Workshop sponsored by The Heritage Officer, Co. Louth.

This workshop was sponsored by Louth County Council.


Wild Routes: Ecological Friendly Gardening

The goal of this project was to promote domestic garden spaces as green route corridors encouraging urban and rural wildlife habitats. Groundswell offered organic and wildlife gardening workshops to three households in North County Louth, including on-site mentoring sessions in the gardens of the participants. These practical sessions promoted garden biodiversity using a combination of vegetable and soft fruit planting combined with Irish trees, hedgerows and wildflower growing.

The three households were highlighted as case studies in the local media, acting as learning models for the dissemination of organic gardening information throughout North County Louth. They provided inspiration for further gardens to 'go wild', each household becoming a link for the development of sustainable gardening habitats in the region.

The project promoted The Heritage Council's publication 'Conserving and Enhancing Wildlife in Towns and Villages' and 'Biodiversity Watch', a campaign to raise awareness regarding the decline of Ireland's biodiversity.

"Biodiversity is complexity, there is so much detail to the garden, so much happening with no straight lines. I see such possibilities with the garden now"

"I watched a seed sprout and the emerging shoot of growth. This garden is not static, there are so many layers and dimensions"

This project has received support from The Heritage Council under the 2007 Grant Scheme.


Earth Mandalas
Samhradh Arts Festival, Dundalk Town Council

The word mandala means a circle or a symbol of wholeness, and comes from the classical Indian language known as Sanskrit. The earth mandalas made in this workshop were composed from terracotta clay and decorated with a variety of natural materials (flower petals, seed heads, shells, rushes, leaves and ferns). The mandala is a personal expression that connects to the bigger picture of the world around us. The mandala also symbolically suggests the idea of the sun, earth and moon, the cycles of seasons changing throughout the year and a circle of friends, family and community.

This workshop also included a procession through a childrens mandala garden accompanied by music.

This workshop was sponsored by Dundalk Town Council.



Artist-in-Residence, Breda Marron

Breda worked as an artist-in-residence at Groundswell in February and April 2007. She is a Monaghan artist who works with natural materials and landscapes in her art and design projects.

Her compositions evoke expressions of vessels and dwelling spaces, tactile three dimensional shapes that invite people to delve into their own feeling of nature and the landscape.

She works intuitively with willow's inherent versatility in pliability, texture and colour encouraging a contemplation of nature that enlivens the senses and imagination.

Her collaborative willow sculptures were created within a series of community arts workshops and can now be seen growing at Groundswell.

Working Creatively With Willow

This series of workshops explored the growing, harvesting and inspiring potential of willow as a creative natural material with artist Breda Marron. Participants learnt about the expressive opportunities of land art, using nature and the landscape as a basis for engaging with one's natural surroundings. The workshops encouraged collective participation and an intuitive response to artistic production, evoking peoples imaginations and sense of reverie.

"I appreciated the practicality of the workshop, the fact that we weren't just watching but cutting the willow, learning about coppicing and outdoor willow weaving that would result in a living sculpture. The instructions for the willow workshop were easy to follow and there was an opportunity to work in one's own way within the overall structure of the willow design. I was really delighted to take some willow branches home to start my own projects.
Children's Nature Arts

A workshop held for people interested in exploring natural art materials and child friendly garden designs in their work with young children. A variety of children's nature projects exploring seasonality, outdoor celebration and environmental arts were showcased in this workshop which also highlighted organic gardening ideas for children.

"Since attending the nature arts workshop I have started to develop an organic vegetable garden with my children. I have also started to create garden based arts and crafts projects for my family. I felt energised by the day and full of ideas and skills."

These workshops were sponsored by Louth County Council, Create Louth Arts Grant.
1Create Louth

The Willow Dreamcatcher, Environmental Art Workshop

ENFO Family Day, December 2006

This workshop promoted environmental awareness and the greening of the Christmas season through the making of woven willow dream catchers, created from cut willow, fleece and foraged natural materials. Symbolically the willow circle represents the inter-relationship between people and the world around them, the making of the willow circle encourages dreams related to ones hopes for nature and its life cycles.

This workshop was sponsored by ENFO - The Environmental Information Service. ENFO is a service of the Department of the Environment and Local Government.


Euro Logos
This project has been funded by Louth LEADER through the Irish Government under the National Development Plan 2000-2006 and part financed by the European Union. Redesigned By Jascom.
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