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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 https://www.google.ie/maps/place/Quigley’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 greenfriends@ammaireland.org 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.  http://ammaireland.org/gf-amma-woodland.html#meelin_trees

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.


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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. http://www.ammaireland.org/gf-amma-woodland.html#meelin_trees

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.






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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 greenfriends@ammaireland.org 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: https://goo.gl/maps/aGx3dVeSdbU2

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 greenfriends@ammaireland.org 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.  http://ammaireland.org/gf-amma-woodland.html#meelin_trees

We look forward to seeing you in Meelin.


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





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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. [http://tinahely.ie/walking/tomnafinnoge-woods/] 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 https://youtu.be/KTvYh8ar3tc.

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]

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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.

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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



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

Heres some footage


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