All Posts Garden Talks and Events with Peter Donegan

Presentation: Garden Designer Peter Donegan at Sonairte Ecology Centre and Gardens

According to Sonairte Ecology Centre and Gardens:

As part of the global citizens movement for climate action Sonairte are hosting a COP26 Children’s Art Exhibition. We invite children from both primary and secondary schools across Louth, Meath and Fingal to submit a drawing, painting or other art work representing their reflections, hopes or fears for the future and what they wish to see as the outputs from COP26.

All Posts Garden Talks and Events with Peter Donegan

Garden Demonstration Talk: National Potato Day 2013

peter donegan

  • when: Tomorrow, Saturday March 23rd
  • time: the day runs 11am – 4pm. I’m up at 2pm
  • what: National Potato Day at Sonairte Ecology Centre

But you’re a landscape fellow ?

This is true and though I studied horticulture for 4 years specialising in landscaping, garden design and plants; part of my studies included field grown crops, one of which was potatoes. That and the fact that I have been gardening since I was 6 and growing my own spuds, before grow your own was grow your own…. if you get me.

Anyhow’s, assuming you are not a spud farmer, I’ll be chatting and demonstrating how to grow spuds in small spaces and domestic gardens. From the smallest amount of just one seed in one pot and upwards. From balcony gardens to the larger. That and well anything else you might want to know.

Also there on the day:

Ireland’s Largest Potato Collection; David Langford of Co Mayo and Dermot Carey who was the Head Gardener at Lissadell House will be there. The Sunflower Cafe will serve both usual and unusual potato dishes; also there will be Countrycrest, Meade Potatoes & Bord Bia along with over 15 varieties of potato to buy, from the most modern to some of the oldest, Admission Adults €5, children free, members free.  More details from,  Tel: 041-9827572,

Below is a pic of me with Trevor Sargent who asked me to do the gig tomorrow, taken at Sonairte.

garden group, sonairte, pic by jennifer farley

All Posts Garden Talks and Events with Peter Donegan

Garden Talk: March 3rd 2013, Sonairte Ecology Centre

peter donegan, garden talk, sonairte 2013

  • When: March 3rd, Sunday 2013
  • Time: 2pm
  • Subject: Garden Design Trends
  • Cost: €3
  • Where: Sonairte Ecology Centre, Laytown, Co. Meath


If you are looking for a great day out then you won’t go too far wrong with a trip to Sonairte Ecology Centre. It really is a place where I simply love to go to escape the hustle and bustle, yet it is still very much everything I love about horticulture and the great outdoors. The ultimate busmans holiday for me.

Here I will be giving a talk/ chat on the evolution of landscape design dating all the way back to the 17th Century right up to today. From the early 17th century trend of walled gardens and growing your own to the log roll pandemic and decking epedemics of the late 1980’s and 1990’s; and from topiary pruned hedges to the rise of raised beds and [eh…] grow your own in the late noughties and teens. Even in gardening and horticulture it’s funny how history repeats itself.

There should be more than enough time after for a chat, Q &A and a bit of conversation after.

Never been ? Take a listen to this with Trevor Sargeant:

Getting To Sonairte:

  • Map Sonairte is in Laytown, Co. Meath, 25 km north of Dublin. View Larger Map
  • Car Northbound from Dublin on the M1, take the exit for Julianstown. Look out for the brown tourism sign in Julianstown and turn right. You will spot Sonairte from a distance when you see the white wind turbine on the hilltop. The entrance to Sonairte is on the right just after the turbine.
  • Rail From Dublin take Drogheda train from Connolly Station to Laytown. Turn right under bridge and walk 5 minutes towards Julianstown. Click for Dublin to Laytown train timetable.
  • Bus New bus service from Dublin by Matthews Coach Hire stops outside centre. Click here to view the timetable.

Contact Peter Donegan:

spirit of folk 2012, peter donegan

All Posts

The Garden Group Visits Sonairte

Sonairte is the type of place I like to go as a horticulturist. As a green minded person, it’s also where I go with my daughter, as a Father; horticultural qualifications not worn on my sleeve, on them days.

There’s something periodic table of the elements type simplistic about solar-powered reflector satellite slow cooking, frogs as a method of pest control and bicycle powered electricity. Kermits favourite colour aside, the setting, even when it’s not a glorious day at Sonairte, is absolutely stunning.

If you are looking for comparables, Sonairte Ecology Centre is a little The Centre for Alternative Technology crossed with River Cottage Farm, but yet Irish and still neither of the above. My visit on this occasion was a first for the garden group that I have run for the 3 last years.

The Garden Group in short: There’s no membership, there are no costs and it attracts more non gardeners than botanists. A bit different, you may say. I kind of like it that way, though some say it’s very silly of me. We’ll see… but for the now, it’s all good.

Sonairte may be many things imperfect to some, you’ll understand what I mean if you go there. That, that imperfectness though is allowed at times and here I find it suits this landscape. With your garden in mind, what Sonairte allows you to witness is en mass extremely diverse biodiversity, that in the real world works.

wind turbine

There are elements of Sonairte that also exist in my garden, and vice versa. They are touches that may make my space outdoors appear to some, slightly uncouth maybe, when compared with the ye olde type formal – though they always existed in pre 19th century garden design.

Domestically, garden planning in mind and far more important is that I know it is possible to take a little of the unscrupulous and allow it fit within your space outdoors, for the greater.

From garden feature ideas to growing your own and from the very thought provoking to what maybe, may surprise you to see children smile at, Sonairte really is one of Irelands hidden gems.

On a slight side note, The Sodshow garden radio microphones came along for the garden groups journey and our afternoon out will go to air this Friday and next in 2 parts. There was that much to take in.

A large note of thank you to nice guy and green buddy Trevor Sargent who was our guide for the afternoon. Also to the wonderful volunteers at Sonairte who are and were yet again just lovely. Also and by no means forgetting you who have, may and did come along.

Of Note: The first two images are courtesy genius photographer Jennifer Farley. I highly recommend a browse through her genuinely amazing photographs of the garden groups day out.

All Posts

Garden Group Tour: Sonairte, July 29th Sunday 2012

garden group donegan sonairte

  • Date: Sunday 29th July 2012
  • Time: 11.30 am on location.
  • Details: Trevor Sargent will be our personal guide for this fantabulous day out.
  • Numbers: 22 places max. Book by comment only below

New To The Garden Group ?

There’s no membership. It’s very simply people who like the great outdoors with a side order of horticulture, should you ask the question. More ? – see Catgeory Garden Group