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An image of a projected slide with Questions about connections with the park

Spoon & Bloom: Mapping the Glen

Spoon & Bloom Mapping the Glen: Sunday 29 Oct 2023

We had an amazing day last Sunday sharing our experiences of the Glen River Park. Spoon and Bloom led us on layered journeys into our memories and imaginations dwelling on our connections with the Glen Rover Park, or Gleann a’Phúca  as we like to call it. During morning and afternoon workshops, Annie Mar and Aaron Ross invited us to contribute our connections with the Glen River Park including walkways through, places of interest, animals and wildlife we saw (or didn’t see), places where the river protected or revealed wildlife and plant-life, where the waters smelled different or moved faster or slower or changed colour depending on the day. We talked about our connections with the river and its valley.

A photgraph of a finger pointing at a map
Annie Mar indicates a site in the park which holds a significant memory for her

An image of a man in front of a slide presentation asking questions about the park.

Aaron Ross asks some questions to stir the memories and imaginations. We drew maps from memory of the park. we plotted our course through the park on some copies of maps that Spoon and Bloom brought with them, we remembered significant places and shared our memories and our walkways through the park. One person’s connection sparking others as they spoke.

A photo of a mother and daughter drawing a route on a map
Mother and daughter describe their walk through the park

Another participant speaks about her route through the park to and from School, how the park was a place that had an edginess and how young people were warned about the dangers of it, as well as the pleasures. Some were not allowed to go there at all and many wouldn’t go after dusk.

a group of people are gathered around a map
Participant, CL recounts her memories of growing up in the area and walking through the park to St Patrick’s school on Gardiner’s Hill

This is an image of the playground perhaps not quite as she remembers –  from her memories her’s was more of a technicolour version 🙂

Black and white photograph od a playground
This is a photograph of the playground in 1981. The Council Depot stands on this site today.

We found how the green space of the Glen is relatively new, memories are of quarries and disused industrial spaces, gravel and grime  – with an edge of danger.. we spoke about how this re-wilded space – with its self-seeded willow and alder trees and its bulrushes and water loving plants – is an an important wetland, that sponge-like soaks up much of the excess water, this water still in our minds since Storm Babet ran across Ireland last week flooding so many built up urban areas in her path. The Glen river swelled and broke its banks and was absorbed into the surrounding green space. Today, when the water in our taps is still running brown since the deluge and the strain it put on the drains in the locality, one of the participants, like many others collects his water from the well in the Glen. We are very grateful.

Participants really enjoyed drawing and sharing memories. They were amazed at how much they knew – even a mother and daughter who had only walked once through the park! Others had long histories since childhood and even shared stories from their parents. Participants spoke of the importance of the park during the pandemic and the relationships that have grown since then with the human and the ‘more than human’ beings of the park. We heard about a tree planter who has been nurturing saplings of native species planted with Trees Please and other groups. We heard about the campaign to create ‘no mow’ areas for diversity in the park, and the litter campaign that resulted in new bins and benches and a cleaner place to linger. We heard from runners who loop the park and residents who use the park as a route to shopping or recycling. We heard about the elusive kingfishers, bats, foxes, lizards and otters as well as ducks, robins, blackbirds and magpies, we talked about the dippers. We all agreed that the Glen is very important to us, impacting on so many of levels our being.

A deep thank you also to the Glen Resource and Sports Centre for supporting Gleann a’ Phúca and allowing us to present the inaugural workshop in the brand new sate of the art Health and Wellness Space. To the fantastic Staff Grá Mór.

Spoon and Bloom will be offering more opportunities to share maps of the Glen in upcoming workshops.

Watch this space. Eventually all of their findings will be gathered together into a multi-layerd animation of the park. Please do come along and put your places on the map 🙂

A photograph of a section of the Map
A section of the Shared Map of the Glen
A photograph of section of the shared map
A section of the shared map
A photograph of section of the shared map
A section of the shared map
A photograph of section of the shared map
A section of the shared map
A photograph of section of the shared map
A section of the shared map