Ár Spás Glas – School Garden & Outdoor Classroom in Scoil Mhuire Abbeyleix

In April 2018 a group of parents and grandparents, teachers and all the pupils of Scoil Mhuire and Naomh Bríd, 3 purpose built autism classrooms set about creating an outdoor classroom for their school. Due to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved and the great support of Abbeyleix Tidy Towns the garden was finished by the end of May.

The garden was named “Ár Spás Glas – Our Green Space” by Isabelle Foxall (a pupil in 5th class at the time) a motto that resonates with the garden’s purpose as outdoor educational and recreational space as well as the school’s involment in the green schools movement.
Right from the start, the Abbeyleix Tidy Towns were on board supporting and bringing to life our idea of creating not only a vegetable garden for the school but an outdoor classroom and recreational space for all children.

The school garden was officially opened by Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin Denis Nulty on Friday, June 1st 2018 during the opening ceremony of the school’s new Autism Unit “Naomh Bríd”

About our School Garden:

Ár Spás Glas has since been an invaluable educational asset to the school and to the whole community and has been involved in many community events and initiatives. All children are actively involved in maintaining the garden, growing vegetables and sourcing funds to cover running costs by organising an annual sale of produce harvested from the garden.
We attend the annual community plant swap in late spring and the annual Applefest in autumn. Our pupils are seeing the sustainability of our garden in all seasons.

All classes from Junior Infants up to 6th class are involved in maintaining and enjoying the garden. They learn about all gardening jobs during the seasons and are involved in all activities like planting, weeding, maintaining and harvesting crops. The senior classes usually organise an annual sale in September to raise funds for Ár Spás Glas.
A number of parents have also been involved over the years, helping with setting up the space initially and planting and maintaining our garden.

Over the years Abbeyleix Tidy Towns have always supported us generously in every way possible. From sourcing and sponsoring a wide range of gardening supplies, plants, shrubs and fruit trees, raised beds made from recycled plastic to funding and setting up a perimeter fence for the space.

Our garden now features an orchard of apple, pear and plum trees, a berry and hazel hedge, a 3x6m poly tunnel, 2 compost bins, buddy benches and 6 raised beds as well as a potato bed which we are endeavouring to develop as a ‘no dig’ bed.

The latest additions to the garden include 7 rhubarb plants, strawberry plants and perennial herb plants that will be added to the poly tunnel in the coming weeks. All these plants were sourced at the annual plant swap in Abbeyleix community garden in April.