GreenFriends work together planting over 500 trees to re-nature life on a little bit of a floodplain in Carlow, on the 26th November 2017.

Planting in Rathvilly GreenFriendsWe want to express huge thanks to all who helped make this Tree Planting possible and tell you the story of how the planting went.

On Saturday afternoon we arrived on-site and began to bring stakes and trees down to the land we will plant. We space the tree stakes at 2.5 m apart, beginning with the central oak circle and from the circle we create a path down to the river and path from the circle back to the orchard. The paths have a nice winding human scale way about them. Wild Cherry and Hawthorn will line the way. As the evening is coming in we walk the rest of the land and see how the river has been fenced off. This is hugely important as the River Slaney is a spawning river and preventing grazing animal access to it will allow re-emergence of wild planting, giving the possibility to the river to re-harmonise as an ecological system. We head away as prepared as we can be for our planting event tomorrow.

On Sunday around 10 o’clock we arrive and prepare the welcome table with our sign-in sheets and the booklet documenting the plans and rationale for the planting today. We then set out the rest of the stakes and begin the process of laying out tree specie in accordance with the plan. The plan has broken the land into 3 zones depending on the likely frequency of flooding. [See full rationale in our previous post]

As people begin to arrive and start planting we give a planting demonstration of our method for planting trees, paying close attention to the nursery line of the tree in order be mindful to plant at the same dept. Nicholas has kindly brought sheep’s-wool and he show’s us how to put it at the base of the roots where it will slowly release nitrogen for the tree. Nicolas learned this is from Joseph Dunne, who is the guardian of the lands in Hollywood, County Wicklow. In Ireland we are only regaining a culture of planting and caring for native woodlands, much knowledge has been lost.

This is one of the key reasons for documenting what we do so we can share knowledge with each other and build upon that knowledge. GreenFriends have planted 250 trees in Hollywood with Joseph last spring and hope to plant between 250 – 500 more on the 21st January 2018.


As we plant we are finding that the ground it is quite compacted having been grazed grasslands for so many years, with that associated management. Ruth has the idea to ask the strong men to go ahead and break ground while the rest of us follow and carefully plant the trees. This works well. We keep going until well over half way done before breaking for lunch.

Once again hot soup and tea on these cold days is most welcome, and lifts our spirits. As does the salad and scrumptious apple crumble! Which was good because it then started to rain. The thing about tree planting, once the date is set, we must go ahead no matter what the weather, so the harsher the day the more help we need! With a quick finish of the lunch we planted the remaining water loving Alder and Willow down by the river.


Heartfelt thanks to all who helped with this planting day, even if you could only plant a few or one tree, to all the children who came along and cheered us up with your presence we are so grateful. We plant trees for our Earth and to care for Earth so our children and generations to come can connect with nature, so for children to be helping with the planting is lovely.We would also like to thank the landowner for being far-sighted enough to give over some space to make a beautiful refuge for wildlife. We are also so appreciative to the Amma Ireland committee for their warmly given consistent support and encouragement.

GreenFriends Rathvilly Carmel talking to Children


The photos from the Drone, illustrate how this land will become a little haven for wild life, where all around for miles is cultivated farmland. It is lovely to work together to give something back to Mother Nature. With our next planting again on the 21st of January, preparation has begun and we are looking forward to it already. Hope to see you there, we wish you a peaceful Christmas and joyful New Year until then.


The GreenFriends woodland + nature reserves team.





Help Us Plant New Nature Reserve in Rathvilly Co. Carlow on Sunday 26th November 2017

Come Join Us Planting Trees for a Day! Every Act for Earth Counts!

Its a truly lovely experience working together with other volunteers to plant tiny trees knowing that we are helping to create new modest nature reserves which will grow for many generations.


1 a3 Aught 11th Feb
Images from our planting day in Aught Co. Donegal earlier this year. 

Planting season is upon us once again and we are delighted to tell you that we are planning to create new modest nature reserves all over Ireland this season, starting in Rathvilly Co. Carlow on the 26th of November.


Every person who comes to help is really appreciated. Many hands truly make light work! We need your help to plant and share the experience of working together to create spaces for nature to flourish.  We will begin at 10 am but appreciate that people may be coming from all over Ireland. No experience is needed at all because training will be provided. Children of all ages are welcome and are actively encouraged to get involved. Please bring warm waterproof clothes, and fully waterproof footwear. If you can bring tools such as shovels, pick axe, secateurs, lump hammers.

If you can do bring food to share. Sharing food as a break in the work is really lovely. (Just something simple like bread to go with soup, or home made vegetarian sweet or savoury somethings are always welcome!) Let us know if you can join us at


Directions to Rathvilly,+Co.+Carlow/@53.1182977,-6.8257728,10

From Dublin take N81 to Rathvilly you will see GreenFriends Tree Planting signs on the N81 just before Rathvilly on the N81.



Draft Rathvilly GreenFriend Nature Reserve draft

Draft Rathvilly GreenFriend Nature Reserve draft2Draft Rathvilly GreenFriend Nature Reserve draft3

Rational for planting to Rathvilly, Co. Carlow with GreenFriends volunteers, scheduled November 26th 2017.

Create new riparian woodland. Establishing new native woodland on existing greenfield site. The Rathvilly eastern boundary runs adjacent to the river Slaney, said to be Europe’s fastest flowing river. The proposed planting area is considered by local expertise provided by the landowner, to be fully floodplain. The extent and frequency of flooding varies annually.

‘Native riparian woodlands are biodiversity ‘hotspots’ and are often the only refuge for specific communities of flora and fauna of high conversation value.’‘Planting in floodplains will act to slow water run off and increase ground water recharge.’

‘The primary objective is to optimise woodland biodiversity while also assisting the achievement of the carrying capacity of all in stream fauna.’

Some definitions

Riparian Zone ‘Any land which adjoins, directly influences, or is influenced by a body of water’

ABZ Aquatic Buffer Zone. An area adjacent to an aquatic zone and managed for the protection of water quality and aquatic water systems. These need a 10 – 25 M extent from the water edge. 20% tree cover is recommended, with space been given over to emergence. The balance of required shade/light ratio the water body will optimally require should be considered.

Applied literature review 30 08 2017 Ref: Native Woodland information Notes, in support of the Native Woodland Scheme. By Woodlands of Ireland.

Green Friends Ireland is the green wing of the Amma Ireland charity registered charity no CHY15299.

Our aim is to plant trees with volunteers and create woodlands + nature reserves, to include food forests. We aim to inspire and collaborate with landowners to create a Woodland / Nature reserve on their lands.

It is the intention of GreenFriend’s Ireland that the trees we have planted become part of a managed Woodland/Nature Reserves, which can grow to become ancient, a natural place for diverse ecology to flourish. Therefore the creation of the Woodland/Nature Reserves are not for commercial purposes and will remain for generations to come.

We are preparing to plant this year and so far we have two set dates. the first in Carlow on November 26th and then  in Wicklow January 21st. More good news, volunteers are planing to plant native trees in Donegal and fruit trees at the Amma centre. We also have planting to do on various sites in Cork.

GreenFriends would like to plant all over Ireland, anywhere where land can be given over for as a reserve for nature to be allowed be a harmonious ecosystem full of life, for generations to come. If you know of some where, do let us know.




GreenFriend Ireland are delighted to be Collaborating with the One Million Trees in One Day Project, creating a New Nature Reserve in Aught Co. Donegal


Planting In Aught, Co. Donegal 11th February 2017

We are truly delighted to be collaborating with the One Million Trees In One Day project to create a new nature reserve in Aught Co. Donegal. Here in Aught we have a very special and increasingly rare wetland ecosystem. In order to protect the habitat for future generations we plan to create a wetland space. We will do this by planting around the perimeter with native trees from indigenousness seed. Some simple places to sit will be constructed, and so offering  opportunity to enjoy the beauty of connection possible when really being in nature. Let us be inspiered by peace to act for the world and all of life.

You are most welcome to join us on the planting day. We will begin at 10 am, but appreciate that people may be coming from all over Ireland. Training will be provided. Children of all ages are welcome and are actively encouraged to get involved. Please bring Warm waterproof clothes, and fully waterproof footwear. If you can bring tools such as shovels, pick axe, secateurs.


Use Google Maps to get to Quigley’s Point’s+Point/@55.2031961,-6.9877203,453m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x48601bf4ddf51881:0xee3f5b478e40722!8m2!3d55.2!4d-6.9833
At the very top of Carn brae in Quigley’s Point there is a sign for a B&B Clunelly House.
If coming from Carn: Turn right in the direction of Clunelly House
If coming from Derry direction: Turn left down in the direction of Clunelly House
The tree planting site is signposted from there.

Please let us know as soon as you can if you can join us, so that we may work together to coordinate carpooling, food sharing, tool bringing because we need shovels and rakes. Please contact Sue at with woodlands in the subject bar.

Helping with buying trees + tree vouchers

 We welcome all donations, 100% of which go towards buying trees and tree protection, because we are a fully volunteer run organization. Tree vouchers, which make beautiful gifts, are also available.

We look forward to seeing you in Aught.

Aught Woodlands & Nature Reserve planting rational.

190 No. Alder. Alnus glutinosa to North and West boundary, where ground is very wet. (Willow were not available). Spacing 2 meters o/c. 50 No.

Oak Sessile Quercus petraea to Eastern and Southern boundaries. Spacing 5-10 meters o/c

80 No. Birch Betula pendula plant around Oak as pioneers. Spacing 2 meters o/c 80 No. Rowan Sorbus aucuparia – there are existing Rowan on site. Eastern and Southern boundaries. Spacing 2 meters o/c

25 No. Hazel Corylus avellana in clusters to inner edge of Eastern perimeter. Spacing 2 meters o/c

25 No. Crab Apple Malus sylvestris in clusters to East-ern and Southern boundaries. Spacing 5 meters o/c

Authors: Simone McLoughlin, Susan Hinnel, Pat Mc Mahon, Roisin Byrne.


GreenFriends meet on a couple snowy of days November to plant more 500 more trees in Meelin.

GreenFriends Ireland

Meelin Native Irish Woodland and Nature Reserve. Planting Phase II Event November 19th + 20th 2016

Authors Roisin Byrne, Pat McMahon + Images by Loraine Moore and Pat McMahon.

On November  19th + 20th 2016 GreenFriends Volunteers made their way to Meelin Co. Cork to plant the second phase of Meelin GreenFriends Native Irish Woodland.

Within Phase I Approximately 500 trees were planted. All native and where possible indigenous. (From native Irish seed). Within Phase II an additional 500 trees total to be planted. Concepts for Meelin Phase II are as a nature reserve and a journeyway with pause points woven throughout. We are proposing a habitat mosaic to include Woodland, Wild Meadow, Heritage Orchard and Pond. It goes far beyond planting trees and into careful consideration of the inherent ecosystems of the land, seeking the optimum range of habitats, which can emerge.

We really want to thank everyone who made the journey to Meelin to plant the trees over the two days. Even though snow covered the ground the weather was a bit cold, but we soon warmed up as we got stuck into the work.

We also want to thank every one who made a donation to cover the cost of the trees and rabbit protection to the trees. 100% of all donations go into creation of these beautiful habitats. Image below is of an oak tree donated by a young girl at the Amma program in October 2016, its so lovely to know donated trees have a place to grow where they will be nourished and cherished into long life.



Saturday 19th November

With the first volunteers, four international first year students arriving from Kinsale permaculture collage we walk around the nature reserve. We illustrate the rational behind the planting.

Shelter belt: We are putting in a shelter belt on the recommendation of Trever Dean arboriculturist upon his site inspection in July 2016. The site is currently protected from wind by a neighbouring mature conifer plantation, which is likely nearing optimal harvest date. The ground conditions on this part of the site are wet and peaty, predominately, specie selection is mainly Willow, some Scots pine with Hazel and occasional oak to the upper edge of the shelterbelt.

We then show the students the pond and journey uphill through the nature reserve as it opens out to a mix of semi natural grassland and bare ground where the gorse has been removed. We will plant oak and birch groupings here. Birch is said to reduce the acidity of peaty soil over time and is a pioneer specie, this will partner well with the oak over time. (Recommendations as per the Irish Woodlands trust). We will also plant mixed specie to the existing wire and post boundary edge to the north side of the site. We circle back to beginning of our walk.

We give a demonstration of how to plant the trees, first pruning excessive root systems to encourage the roots to grow outward.  When planting we are mindful to retain the level of the nursery line. This means planting the tree to the same depth as they were in the nursery. We will inspect the trees periodically from spring on. We demonstrate the spacing by pacing and laying out stakes and one of the students takes on this job. We demonstrate use of rabbit protection and bamboo stakes. Throughout the day additional volunteers arrive and demonstrations are made in planting to those who require it.


We encouraged people to bring food to share and in addition people stayed and helped in the kitchen. A big pot of vegetarian food was served with lots of additional salads and deserts.

This made for a wonderful hearty lunch which was greatly appreciated.

More oaks were donated and these we made a large circle of in the upper part of the site. Birch are used as companion planting. We have about 300 trees planted on the first day. Work was demanding but pleasant, with a good-hearted atmosphere. We finished by sharing tea back at the house capturing a closing group photograph, before the volunteers who were not staying over left.



Sunday 20th November 2016

We begin with the Scots Pine down by the pond, and then with the Alder and Willow mix which we are using to settle in the ground around the pond. Hazel will join the connecting route. Once this is done we move up into the more elevated part of the nature reserve, where the views are beautiful. We plant a mix of Alder and donated Ash to the northern boundary. We also make a very simple Willow hut construction, choosing a center point and setting willow at 2 foot spacing along the circumference of the circle. This can be easily woven into a dome hut over time. Cuttings can also be taken from the willow to produce more plants. Once the boundary is planted we plant the remaining oaks to the nature reserve. The dark evening is coming in quickly so we stop after planting in the Oaks.

Lunch and tea were gratefully received during the day and the importance of these shouldn’t be underestimated as contributing factors to a pleasant tree-planting event.



Work on the nature reserve is continuously ongoing. The image above is of the first round house on the Meelin nature reserve.


Beautiful tree vouchers can still be purchased for our woodlands and nature reserves including our next planting events in Aught Donegal.

We will keep you posted in the new year, but in the meantime we in the GreenFriends Ireland Team wish you all a warmhearted and peaceful Christmas.







Amma’s visit and the GreenFriends Table.

We were delighted to have so many visits the GreenFriend’s table when we were blessed with Amma’s visit this October. The table was busy over the weekend and full of productive and inspiring conversations. We have identified 3 new possible woodland sites to add to the sites in Cork and Donegal.

We would love you to be part of the GreenFriend’s native woodlands and nature reserve movement and are open to welcoming all skill sets from management, fundraising to planting trees. Please contact us at with woodlands in the subject bar.





Planting In Meelin 19th+ 20th of November 2019

We are getting ready here in Meelin for our next planting days, scheduled on Saturday 19th  & 20th of November. We are ordering the 600 native and indigenous trees and their protection, preparing the site and deciding what trees to plant where.

You are most welcome to join us on either or both planting days. We will begin at 9 am each day, but appreciate that people may be coming from all over Ireland. Training will be provided. Children of all ages are welcome and are actively encouraged to get involved. Please bring Warm waterproof clothes, and footwear.

Meelin is located 1 hour outside Limerick. Directions to Meelin:

Please let us know as soon as you can if you can join us, so that we may work together to coordinate carpooling, food sharing, tool bringing because we need shovels and rakes. Please contact Roisin at with woodlands in the subject bar.

Helping with buying trees + tree vouchers

 We welcome all donations, 100% of which go towards buying trees and tree protection, because we are a fully volunteer run organization. Tree vouchers, which make beautiful gifts, are also available.

We look forward to seeing you in Meelin.


[Author: Roisin Byrne, voluntary consultant landscape architect and woodland + nature reserves coordinator for GreenFriends Ireland]






Every opportunity for Acorns.

Meelin, Clare, Tallow and Dublin, we are sowing acorns anywhere we can.

[Author: Roisin Byrne, voluntary consultant landscape architect and woodland + nature reserves coordinator for GreenFriends Ireland]

We were on our way into Citywest Hotel Saturday 1st of October, to meet with other volunteers to prepare for Amma’s visit on the 14-15th of October when Noah spotted a mass of acorns under the oak trees. We couldn’t stop right then but as the day went by, we swapped stories with some of the many volunteers of their acorn adventures. To store or sow straight away? How to store? Spacing? Soil? How to transplant? Animals misgive? Frost?

We did sow 160 acorns on 24th of September on the Meelin woodlands and nature reserve. These acorns were selected from just under 200 which we, 6 children and 3 moms, had collected the week before from Tomnafinnoge wood near Tinahely, Co. Wicklow, a beautiful native woodland. [] We planted these at in a 4-foot turned over bed, a hand span apart. It took three of us just about an hour to turn the bed and 15 minutes to sow the acorns. Many hands make light work, and its more fun too. planting-acorns-in-meelin. The day after that sowing we visited Irelands very first Greenfriend’s woodland, in Corofin, planted 7 years ago. John Fisher, guardian of the woodland said ‘the woodland wouldn’t of happened without the Greenfriends volunteers’ and now the trees are 4-5 meters high, with many the oak among them. john-paddy-noah-in-clare John Fisher, guardian of the Corofin woodland has much experiential based advice for us on our acorn-planting quest. He himself had guerrilla planted oaks in Bristol planting 3 at a time saplings, which had grown from oaks he had sown. He marked where he had planted these on a book. He had been inspired he said by the animation The Man Who Planted Trees

Coincidentally Paddy McMahan, guardian of the Meelin woodlands and nature reserve had show us this same video just the day before to inspire us as we were about to plant our acorns.

John and I agree its best to plant straight away where possible. John pointed out its not necessary to be very fussy about spacing, or how much cover the acorns need, these are hardy things. Acorns produce a taproot and so when they emerge, and are ready to transplant that taproot can be cut a little to encourage a more fibrous root ball. Close spacing will encourage to trees to grow upwards too. If storing the acorns should not be allowed to be too moist, or they will rot, nor dry too much that they lose their vitality. Storing in a hessian sac is recommended.

Back in Citywest, Gordan is telling of how some animal wiped out his acorns which he had transplanted after they had germinated. He had found out its a good idea to let the acorns dry on perorated trays in a location where lots of fresh air can move very freely. He just happened to have a nice big bag so we went out to gather acorns, collecting off the paths, discarding the many nibbled ones to gather about 300 or so. Sue and Eefja will plant their 60 or so straightaway when they get to Tallow and Clare. The rest will be carefully stored to prepare them to return to the Greenfriends table at Citywest on the 14th. We’d love to see you there and hear your acorn stories! We all have some knowledge and it’s so nice to share stories of our endeavours to plant trees, after all many hands make light work, and its more fun too.


If you’d like to work together with us, we would be delighted [link]


A New Native Broadleaved Woodland Habitat in Meelin, Co. Cork.

IMG_2310On the 5th of March 2015 Green Friends Ireland Planted 601 native Irish Trees in Meelin Co. Cork.


We had mixed Irish weather, sunny spells, little rain and a spectacular rainbows combined with a wonderful group of good hearted people. These Greenfriends came together, from all over Ireland; Waterford, Dublin, Wicklow, Cork and Clare, to help plant 601 trees. We had all ages, and all ranges of experience. Everyone came with smiles and good humour, glad of the nice weather, the good soil and beautiful views from the site of the new woodlands in Meelin.

Having a delicious lunch brought by all and served to us with love by the kind folk working away inside helped sustain us through a great days work.

The trees are all native and some indigenous, grown from Irish seed. The mix includes two species of birch, two species of native Irish cherry, crab apple, hazel and mountain ash. Willow and Alder form a windbreak on the steep slope. Lovingly planted through the mix are fifty oaks. The wonderful thing about people coming to plant trees as volunteers is the extra care, which the trees receive, at this important point in their life’s. The next five years will be important for the trees too, and after that the habitat will have its own equilibrium and need only minimal care and management. Evidence of rabbits necessitated rabbit protection.

All our trees and their protection were generously sponsored by donations to Green Friends Ireland. Originally we thought we could plant two hundred trees. Imagine our delight at being able to plant six hundred, and have enough help to be able to get it done in one day? We are deeply grateful.


GetGrowing West Cork Spring 2016

getgrowing May West Cork-2016

GreenFriends Ireland are happy to announce another residential GetGrowing course in at Hagal Farm, West Cork April 29th eve to Mon May 2nd 2016.

PayPal Link


What it is: 


GetGrowing is a hands-on course that teaches how to grow your own, healthy food easily and successfully in whatever space you have available – be it a piece of land, garden, paved yard or balcony. 

The popular course concentrates on the most useful methods to start an organic vegetable garden from scratch, how to sow and plant, care for, feed and protect vegetable plants in harmony with nature. At the same time it provides the basic insight and understanding for raising healthy and vigorous plants year after year. Topics include garden design, crop rotation, beds and container systems, feeding your soil, composting, natural pest control and much more. 

The teaching is accompanied by a 100-pages, fully coloured, step by step manual to serve as a reference guide and to refresh and deepen what you have learned during the course. 


How it came about: 

The GetGrowing project was developed in 2010 by non-professional volunteers in the spirit of service to society with the aim to help people to be more self-reliant and to be able to grow at least part of their food. It has since spread to many different countries. 


Who it is for: 


The course is meant for beginners or improvers but is also suitable for people who already have knowledge and experience and wish to pass it on by becoming a teacher themselves. 


Lovely West Cork




GreenFriends Ireland Meelin Woodland Mar 2016

We planted 603 native Irish trees, on land donated by Paddy

Heres some footage



GetGrowing India 2015

This Christmas while visiting the wonderful Amritapuri in Kerala , headquarters of Embracing the World NGO , I had the pleasure of teaching GetGrowing to an eclectic bunch of up and coming gardeners.


GetGrowing is a wonderful way to learn how to grow organic vegetables with no prior experience necessary. The GetGrowing course has been translated into French German and Italian so far and is taught in a number of countries worldwide.

Course attendees can become GetGrowing teachers once they have a little experience, and we teach this course for free ! Costs associated with the course are passed onto the attendees, so generally the price is very low.


All food and other green waste from the 4000 residents at Amritapuri get composted at a local composting facility, where they can make compost in 2 months


As part of the course we visited the amazing vermi composting facility at Amritapuri, this facility is approx 50m x 20m and takes finished and filtered compost and using tiger worms , converts it into super vermi compost !


Worms !


Were planning a few more GetGrowing courses in Europe this spring, look out for courses in Cork Ireland , possibly UK and maybe even somewhere else.

If you’d like us to come and teach at a venue near you, please let us know !