About

Sust Skerries Logo

Empowering our community towards a sustainable and resilient future for Skerries.

Through Sustainable Skerries, we work towards improving resilience in the town of Skerries.
By resilience, we mean the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; the ability to bounce back.
We seek to build this through a focus on the systems of our town, as they relate to food, waste, water, energy, and skills sharing.

This can mean, on a practical level:

  • contributing to waste reduction, e.g. through the promotion and support of composting;
  • raising awareness around food issues, including the environmental and social impact of growing and / or purchasing food, food & transport (e.g. food miles), food waste, food citizenship and food security;
  • promoting positive climate action – identifying effective and meaningful local actions and ways to have an impact in the national and international context;
  • educating people of all ages through training and workshops both for the general public and in partnership with local schools (e.g. through TY projects)
  • exploring possibilities for skills exchange, such as with those who have lived in pre-plastic times; through the running of Repair Cafés, other ways to capture those skills could also be found
  • protecting and enhancing the local environment, including the support and improvement of the biodiversity of our town e.g. through the development of pollinator corridors and a survey of existing biodiversity
  • exploring energy resilience for our area
  • being a credible voice locally in the relevant local forums and in local media

In order to fulfil our goals, we are linking up with other local groups, such as the Skerries Community Association (of which we are a committee) and Skerries Tidy Towns, as well as with schools and local and national organisations and authorities (especially Fingal County Council).

We take the UN Sustainable Development Goals as our guidance and see the social and economic aspects of sustainability as important parts of sustainability.

Our History

Sustainable Skerries is a Transition Town initiative set up by local people in 2009 to work towards a more sustainable and resilient community.  At the time of writing (April 2019) that makes us 10 years old this month. We are based in the coastal town of Skerries, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

Some of the problems anticipated 10 years ago remain the same: the spectre of Peak Oil and how we’re all going to survive when the oil runs out is one.  Fortunately we are all beginning to see signs of hope on this front with the development of renewable energies, however painfully slow the change may be.  Food miles, the sourcing of healthy local food and the reduction of road haulage are as much an issue then as they are now.

But there are other problems barely foreseen a decade ago: Global Warming, or at least awareness of it, was in its infancy; this was the domain of the brown bread and sandals brigade and other cranks and heretics.  We’ve all come a long way in our thinking since then; today it would be difficult to find anyone who truly doesn’t believe in his or her heart that Global Warming is a fact, even if they’re sometimes not prepared to admit it.

cropped-transitionimage.jpg

Landfill was and still is an issue; plastic pollution wasn’t even considered back then; today it is a huge problem.

Loss of biodiversity is another.  We all knew about tigers and pandas as children; we never thought that we might one day be worrying about insects.  Yet Europe-wide insect populations are crashing as a result of industrial agriculture, mono-culture and the widespread use of pesticides.  Birds and other wildlife suffer the knock-on effects as their food sources are obliterated.  We could manage without tigers or pandas (not that we want to!) but if the pollinators go, then quite frankly, we go with them.

Fortunately these are all issues which we can all play a part in addressing, and a bigger part than you might think.  As an individual one can do very little, but it is when like minded people come together that change starts to occur.

It is no use relying solely on governments. Governments (including, or perhaps especially, our own) are notoriously slow to legislate for climate action; there are too many vested interests with an awful amount of money slowing them down.  Change doesn’t just come from the top; it can, and has to, come from the ground up also.

Re-evaluating ones attitudes, making small changes in lifestyle, educating and encouraging others to do the same, this is where it all starts.

And that is what Sustainable Skerries is all about.

If you are interested in becoming involved you are very welcome, just email  sustskerries@yahoo.ie and we’ll get back to you.

—————————————

So what have the Romans (or Sust Skerries) ever done for us?

SS_030

Sustainable Skerries founding fathers, all looking young, keen and eager to change the world.

From Left. Suzanne Jones,  Mary Marsden (Treasurer), Andrew Plant, Frank Mc Keown (Chairman), Rosaleen Mc Minamin, Bronagh Ní Dhúill (Secretary), Alex Foy.

Sustainable Skerries’ first, and perhaps most successful, venture was the establishment of the allotments in conjunction with Fingal County Council.  The process was begun in January 2010, lack of funding slowed progress, but the first plot holders were planting by March 2011.  The allotments continue to go from strength to strength and there is a waiting list for people wishing to come in.

Allotments25 Mar 11     Sept 25 Allotments1    Mary Spuds 5 24 Mar 2011

One unusual and commendable feature is the water system.  A small stream bisects the allotments (photo above) and a solar powered pump was installed.  This pumps water up to a holding tank at the top of the hill from whence it is gravity fed to water butts dotted around the plots.  The upshot is that they are using renewable energy to provide water for their crops completely independent of the often faltering town mains supply.  Indeed, there are times in the summer when the allotments have water for their plants and parts of Skerries have none to brush their teeth with.

In 2013 the Skerries Community Harvest Group was set up in conjunction with local organic farmer Paddy Byrne  This meant that people with a taste for healthy food, but without the time or inclination to grow their own, could avail of weekly baskets of fresh organic produce.

The scheme ran very successfully for a number of years but has now finished, instead Paddy has opened a farm shop on site.  Find him on the right half way up the hill from Barnageerah and before the entrance to Ardgillan.  His free range eggs are highly recommended.

On a similar note: a chicken co-operative has been running for several years in the allotments and last year a group of allotment holders reared pigs for the first time.  This year’s batch of weaners arrived yesterday.

In 2012 Sustainable Skerries won first prize in the Fingal Cleaner Communities awards for Best Environmental Initiative.  This was in recognition of their work on the allotments, water conservation, the Community Harvest Group and general community resilience.  A Merit Award for the allotments from the RDS followed in September of the same year.

Photo by Kevin Mcfeely

We continue to organise seminars, workshops and discussion groups.  Our most recent event was a Repair Cafe organised by the tireless Ernestine Woelger, a practical demonstration of needlework and fabric refurbishment.  More such events are planned soon.

We are currently working with Fingal CC to remove plastic from the seaweed raked off the beach during the summer months and hope to host a bumblebee workshop in the coming weeks.

Watch this space!

Better still, join us at sustskerries@yahoo.ie

16 Comments on “About

  1. Hi,

    I’m really interested in getting involved in the allotment program. I’m originally from Skerries, currently living in Drumcondra and hoping to move back to Skerries in the next year or two. can I get an allotment to work on or how does it work? I’m really interested in growing my own veg and would love to get involved.

    Many thanks

    Regards

    Emer O’Kelly

    • Hi Emer,
      We have a bit of a waiting list for allotments at the moment. However I would encourage you to get on the list asap. If you have a Skerries postal address that would help loads. Please send an email to sustskerries@yahoo.ie and one of us will pick it up.
      Cheers, Frank Mc Keown

    • Hidy

      Having great fun with mine Em, Sargh and I share

      See you soon

      Paula

  2. A new member at plot 42 Looking forward to getting started
    Breege Madden

    • Hi Breege,
      you obviously got your invoice from Fingal. I got mine last week. Never so happy to get a bill !!
      Happy Allotmenteering.
      Regards,
      Frank

      • Hi Frank
        Glad to hear from you .Yes looking forward to starting especially now as the weather is so good
        Breege

      • Hi Breege,
        are you going to the information meeting on Saturday? Will be a good chance for everyone to get information on the new Allotment Association.
        All the best,
        Frank

  3. Hi Frank,

    Happy owner of plot 116. Looking forward to Saturday’s meeting. See you then !

    Clionadh Twomey.

    • Hi Clionadh,
      yeah, Saturday should be a bit of craic now that we all have our plot numbers. Just time to get on with the hard work now.
      I got Gulag No. 87 🙂
      Frank

  4. Hello there I was just wondering if there are any allotments still available in Skerries as I am interested in taking one

    thank you

  5. My name is Elaine Doyle and I am the Transition Towns Change Executive for Ashoka’s Change Nation for the next 6 months.

    I was wondering who is the best person to contact about transition towns in Skerries.

    I am mainly looking to see what activity is going on, good news stories and looking at how transition can be expanded and gain more traction in Ireland or what new initiatives can be used in other communities.

    It would be great to talk about Transition Towns Skerries and see is there anything I can do to help you.

    Kind regards
    Elaine

    • Hi Elaine,
      I sent an email to your gmail address.
      Thanks,
      Frank

  6. Global warming song on YouTube!

    More than 340 different green, environmental, conservation, organic, wildlife, recycling organisations – including the Friends of the Earth Czech Republic, Christian Ecology, Fossil Free Yale, BBC Gardeners World, Organic Council of Ontario, Sumo Wholefoods – in 31 countries like the lyrics to the Global Warming song – now it’s on YouTube! Here is the link for a performance by the Making Waves choir:

    And the words are printed on the screen so you can sing-a-long! You are very welcome to broadcast, and ‘like’ it, and share, share, share the link as widely as possible via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter …
    Best wishes,
    Oliver

    What can we do about global warming?
    (to the tune of ‘What can we do with the drunken sailor?’)

    Chorus: What can we do about global warming?
    What can we do about global warming?
    What can we do about global warming?
    Shrink our carbon footprint!

    1. Walk, cycle, bus and train
    Car share, avoid the plane
    Holiday at home, learn to love the rain
    Shrink our carbon footprint!

    2. Insulate homes and get them lined
    Stop oil, gas and coal being mined
    Use tidal, solar, wind and find we’ll
    Shrink our carbon footprint!

    Chorus: What can we do about global warming?
    What can we do about global warming?
    What can we do about global warming?
    Shrink our carbon footprint!

    3. Organic, local, seasonal eating
    Recycle, mend, turn down the heating
    Share, cooperate, stop competing
    Shrink our carbon footprint!

    Watch out! The seas are rising
    Cry out! The seas are rising
    Bale out! The seas are rising
    Save our lovely planet!

    4. Don’t believe the greenwash, keep on prying
    Tax millionaires, stop envy buying
    Climate change deniers, they’re all lying
    Shrink our carbon footprint!

    Chorus:
    We can do a lot about global warming
    We can do a lot about global warming
    We can do a lot about global warming
    Save our lovely planet!

    Lyrics by Oliver Swingler and Making Waves choir, Cullercoats, UK – Version 3 March 2013

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