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Your Country Your Call

Monday night I was invited to a meeting in The Guinness Storehouse. Martin McAleese was coming along. So were some of Irelands top blogger people.

Your country your call is the brainchild of Martin McAleese

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….is what I was told. I’d met Martin before. Nice guy. Ferdinand Von Prondzynski was there too – should have asked him  for my old DCU grounds job back 😉 To the point Your Country Your Call is pretty much an ideas generator to get this country grooving again. It’s about motivation. A rousing call maybe [?] but whatever one may say it is a better step in a more positive direction.

It’s not government run. Which I liked. It’s run [?] by ‘some people’ on a pro bono basis. They don’t get PR for it and probably won’t get much thanks… one in particular who I have spoke to is employed by Guinness to work solely on this project.

The big idea is that anyone from any country can come up with a brainwave… 3 lines of text… a youtube video…. however you wish to do so…. one enters it online and [you] could walk away with €100,000. However….

It must be for country benefit rather than individual benefit

Maybe you have an idea that could benefit the country…. maybe you have an idea that cold benefit your local town…. maybe you just have an idea. Maybe it’s been sitting on the back burner with all the rest of of I must do something with that[s].

So where do you go from here…. Well… the website most probably is a great place to start… go take a look. Have a cuppa. Jot down some thoughts and submit them… it is that simple.

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beautiful & guaranteed irish [part 2]

T.J. Tobin, John & myself

T.J. Tobin, John & myself

Before you read this post please read beautiful and guaranteed Irish – part 1[clck here]

Of course part of the reason I went to Limerick was to visit some good great friends. [Pictured left is T.J. and John Donegan [no relation – he was just in the bar that evening and decided to say hello 😉 but that is the Ireland I visited]

I went all of the back roads to see another good friend in Carrigadrohid. It was freezing and the sun was shining – yet Ireland is still so beautiful and we are so fortunate for this beautiful island. I drove around [very much around] the Galtee mountains and came in by the river Lee. It was worth it. I stopped into Doneraile Park for a picnic of sorts [another post for another day – but also free by the way..] and continued on our way to Cork City. I love Cork. I love the city. It is so colourful and energetic.

I got to meet some of the great people of the Cork Open Coffee on the Friday. To all of you who made this week, for me, amazing – go raibh míle maith agaibh. Thank you so much.

I suppose the question I’ve answered now is… that I am glad I took my ‘holdays’ in Ireland. I am so very happy that I kept my euros in this beautiful island of ours. And now I realise that rather than dwell on those who bore and snore me to sleep with their tales of woe and depression [the same goes for that Enda Kenny crapola spiel et cetera… that just keeps on coming…]. But, I at least made and effort to do my bit for Ireland. I am happier knowing that I did 🙂

beautiful & guaranteed irish [part 1]

As I write this post I’m in the beautiful city of Cork [i’m back in work by the time you read it]. I’ve just left Limerick. It is after all my summer holidays 🙂 I [and her indoors] made a concious decision to keep our euros in Ireland this year. I heard the media hype up the recession [every flippin’ day – yawn at this stage] and as soon as they finished they went to the euro/ sterling spiel and the buying of cross border televisions [are you asleep yet….?] That all may be so very correct. But I needed a break and I did it in this so very beautiful country. I am so very happy that I did. I saw the most beautiful towns, met the most wonderful people and not only helped ‘my’ economy – but I had a great time.

I’ve bought books on beautiful landscapes but there are very few as beautiful as those I saw surronding the towns of Kilmallock, Glenbrohane and Kilfinnan. It wasn’t expensive [our first guest house was €35pps – Fitzgeralds 063 98139 by the way]. It wasn’t rip off republic. It was simply beautiful. If you are there make sure and visit Mary Fox in the Kilmallock museum near the 13th Century Dominican Friary [the tour is free but you can make a donation if you wish]. Ireland doesn’t have to be Ferrari’s and flat screens – why can’t it just be beautiful to look at and enjoy. I wonder if this is a news worthy story…. ? [continues tomorrow… click here]

south africa, 2008, gardens & the niall mellon township…

is it worth it....?

is it worth it....?

Thursday 27th November I will go to Cape Town for the second time until the 8th December to work as part of a garden team of over 100 people to build community gardens.

The gardens are only a part of what will happen in Cape Town as this year [again] over 2000 people, mainly from Ireland, will have raised and/ or donated a minimum of €5,000 each to travel to South Africa for almost 2 weeks to build homes [in my case gardens] with The Niall Mellon Township Trust.

We may say things are not so good in Ireland. Some may even say ‘we’ have just entered tough times. I disagree and this is simply just another reason as to why I still say life is good… sorry, life is very good 🙂 We are so so fortunate and this simply makes me appreciate more as to why I feel so good [and should…] about life.

To those who helped out in any way [no matter how small you believe it was] from the bottom of my heart thank you, it is really so very much appreciated.

All south africa garden posts are here. If you would like to know more about The Niall Mellon Township Trust – click here.

*you* made the difference.

*you* made the difference.

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i’ve got a feeling…

before reading one should refer to this post.

peter donegan garden designer in 2002Throughout college, before and until I set up Peter Donegan Landscaping Ltd I endeavoured to take the better position horticulturally, for my career. This meant little money, long hours, work very hard and learn faster. My age possibly didn’t help. But by 24 I was already a teacher, a landscape manager, senior ground person, contracts manager, consultant, designer and sat on the board for the institute of horticulture – it would always be worth it – long term. It has been.

I remeber one night, an anniversary, two years with my girlfriend [very important !] arriving late home; pre mobile phone days; at 11.30pm. I tried to explain to the good lady still ‘dolled upto the nines’ – in my defence I had parked a Ford 7610 tractor & bulk tanker [milk truck] filled with water ready to go again at 5am, outside her Mothers house… It also had dodgy brakes!

peter donegan 18th century design landscape awardI had worked in garden centres & landscaping companies since I was 16. I had worked two stints abroad. If I wanted, as I have written many times, to work with the ground – I needed to start at that level and work my way up. In hindsight there is no easy route. But, people still walk out of college today and say – I will be a garden designer. If a contractor knows your job better than you do [eg] as a garden designer & vice versa, you can’t be the best at your job [?]. My positions had thought me all of the skills I needed, those an education in horticulture cannot teach you. As important, it had also thought me the business, the people and the industry.

peter donegan landscaping dublin award irelandTwo months before my 25th birthday I set up Peter Donegan Landscaping Ltd. I personally still owed money [college had to be paid for!]. I organised six to nine months credit with 4 main suppliers [including my accountant!] and borrowed the tools for my first jobs from a good friend. Not pretty, some might say, but there was only one way ‘the business’ could go…

The business caused me to split up with ‘the good lady’, twice. No sorrow or blame in that, I just didn’t see her, at all, really… At the time, something had to give. A quote from a much famed article in The Irish Entrepreneur magazine summizes my thinking…

If it failed, how could I ask for a managerial role with another company, when I was unable to do it for myself?

One must appreciate, I loved and love still, what I do. Every single day. Life has always been good. Negatives never last[ed] long – it was always how do I change this; options; choose; do it – and move on. No business is a bed of roses. Of course it’s hard work – it has always been. That will never change. But, when you love what you do and each day excites you, you look forward to it – it is so much easier.

I held off putting any projects up for award until 2006. No particular reason I just wanted my first to be a little special. We had just completed phase 1 of Newport Farm in Donabate, a 55 acre estate 18th century estate.

and the rest as they say is history….

That was the story – for the boring bits – read on:

Qualifications: studied horticulture for four and a half years. certificate in commercial horticulture, Advanced Diploma in Horticulture and the general examination in Horticulture [RHS]. Awarded the title MI Hort by the Institute of Horticulture London.

Other: in my time i have… PRO for The ALCI [Association of Landscape Contractors of Ireland] written for many publications; regular contributor for The Farmers Journal and at present Self Build Ireland magazine. Freelance including The Irish Independent, Diarmuid Gavin Design magazine, Horticultural and Landscape Ireland;

Awards:

2006: Design & landscaping: Newport Farm Donabate – ALCI

2006: landscape quality programme – cert of merit – bord bia

2007: Barr 50 – Forais na gaeilge

2007: Design – Bloom – No Rubber Soul

2007: Design & landscaping: Brackestown House – AlCI

2007: Maintenance: Brackenstown House – ALCI

2008: Quality Award – Bord Bia