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Shane McCarthy enjoying the An Sean Dun Family Fun Day

Fairies move in to An Sean Dun

SOME unusual visitors have decided to make Ennis their home, after they were impressed by the Trojan work going on in one local estate.
An Sean Dun in Roslevan has become home to six fairies, who are now living throughout the estate. Cormac McCarthy, of the local residents’ committee, said the new arrivals decided to stay after seeing the great work that children in the estate have done in recent years.
At the recent An Sean Dun family fun day, the children were given clues to fairy doors that have been hidden throughout the estate. “This was a special thank you to the children; they’re always so enthusiastic about what we’re doing on the estate. The fairy doors are dotted throughout the estate and the children were given riddles to find them. They were all running around with their parents trying to find the doors and we encouraged the children to find them and upload photos to our website. The most anyone has found so far is five – we have one very obscure one.”
And it’s no wonder that the fairies have decided to stay, with so much happening in An Sean Dun, which won the national Sustainable Community Champion Award late last year.
The residents’ association has recently been successful in their application to the Ennis Municipal District for a grant for green infrastructure.
Cormac explained, “We’re delighted that the council decided to award the grant to us. The grant is to be used for particularly-designed landscaping and it’s an objective of the council under the County Development Plan. What is required is landscaping that ticks the boxes on biodiversity, aesthetics, connecting wildlife habitats. There is a dual benefit for us because what we are planning on planting will screen off the bottom of the main green area, where many of the kids play, providing a natural safety barrier from the road.”
The new landscaping will join other innovative green projects that have been carried out by the residents of An Sean Dun in recent years. These include a wildflower meadow, community orchard and willow dome.
Each of these projects does more than just enhance the area for local residents, Cormac explained.
“There is also the climate change aspect. When you plant larger shrubs and trees, they act as a carbon sink. We’re all doing our little bit here on the estate. All of these things have a cumulative effect. We’re a tiny community on the outskirts of Ennis and on the periphery of Europe and we’re just trying to do our little bit,” he said.
The residents’ association has been at the forefront in promoting sustainable living. After winning the Sustainable Community Champion Award, they donated the prize money to schools throughout Ennis, Doora-Barefield and Clarecastle to fund sustainable projects.
So successful have they been, that they were invited to make a presentation at the Ennis Tidy Towns awards night. “We spoke about sustainable living and how we approached it, as a community. There is a lot of generic information out there but one of the reasons we were told we won the Sustainable Community Champion Award was we took that information and made it very practical and applicable to people’s everyday life,” Cormac explained.
They are also currently running an art competition for children, as part of their entry for Clare In Bloom. “We do our utmost, even when we do clean-up events, to try and get the younger people of the estate out as well. We want to try and give them a sense of ownership of the estate, and they get to meet other kids while out with their parents. It’s a win-win situation,” said Cormac.
He said none of what has been achieved in An Sean Dun would be possible without the input of the local community.
“Whilst we’re nominated for awards, and we’ve won quite a few, you need the whole estate to buy into the idea. It’s not something that a couple of individuals can do. Whenever we go around looking for support, be it the lend of a few hours’ work digging a hole or anything, people are always more than happy to help out. It’s very much a community spirit that has kept us ticking over, so we are really appreciative of that.”
When the residents’ association first came up with the idea of a community orchard to improve the area a number of years ago, they had no idea how far they would come.
“Never in our wildest dreams did we think so much would happen. We were one of those estates that wasn’t finished and, after a lot of very hard work by the committee, the bond was called in. What that taught us was if we want this to be a community that we are really proud of, we need to be very proactive about it.
“The very first project was the Garden of Eden project. We had a little bit of money and we put it into buying fruit and nut trees. If you pass it now, you literally brush off the tree and a half a dozen apples fall off. It’s a community garden and I know a lot of the kids take the fruit over to two horses in the field beside us.
“A lot of it is building on the momentum. People are very busy in their own lives and we completely appreciate that. If you can keep a very gentle momentum going, you can do a huge amount for yourself and the people who live around you.
“This has all been done by the residents. We’ve been very fortunate with the grants and award money but they all require people with the necessary skill sets to come and contribute. That’s what the success is. We’ve had lots of projects but the real success has been the way the community has really come together and helped each other out,” Cormac concluded,

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