Irish Gardening Online…?


I remember reading an article posted online by good friend and nursery man Pat Fitzgerald. It was about trying to promote the gardening industry. Here’s a little taster of what Pat had to say….

…we collect last years good condition gardening magazines and make some beneficial use of them instead of hoarding them. Why not distribute these magazines into as many hair dressers, doctors, chiropodists, dentists, nail bars, beauty salon waiting rooms as will be agreeable to accept them…

Before I go any further, Pat does say himself that it is…

a possibly nutty, naive or optimistic idea

I was talking about this over the weekend with some friends of mine who work in the media industry. It wasn’t that we were laughing or being disrespectful in any way to Pat or the idea… far from it. In fact the point that seemed to be made was more is this as good as it gets for an industry that I have another 30 years odd to work in. I shall rephrase…. Is this what the amenity horticultural sector is resigned to in order to promote itself…. I know for sure the farming industry would never be seen even suggesting this nor the building federation…. isn’t that right Tom Parlon ?

I am fully aware that there exists ‘industry bodies’ but whether they will ever chose to form an opinion and be perceived as industry leaders is possibly a land very far away from here. I guess in that, what I am trying to say it that my next door neighbour could not name me one garden related association…. I think that’s a fair point.


To there I suppose one could turn to government bodies…. but the green party aren’t really a green party anymore and being that I have never received even two bits of encouragement by way of payment acknowledgement for my role in online green sector….. I am beginning to wonder who’s the promoter of who and what on earth I am doing this for. But, like I said before it’s not like I get paid to write this Irish Green Blog. But then again, it was never about the money.


I hear friends of mine calling their children the facebook generation…. I saw myself last week reading a blog post on generating electricity I also found myself reading some gardening articles on different things to try out in the garden. There are literally blogs to cover every subject available…. but very few in Ireland on green related matters. There are people who have set up websites that sell gardening related products. A quick google search will show just how many…. But that said I still prefer the peronal touch. I also know that every gardener in the country can supply me with plants and drop out just to make sure they’re doing alright after the transaction. I also like to know a person before I buy anything… but again thats just me.


But with very few Irish television programmes dedicated to gardening [if at all any] on the production line and what seems like also a few less publications [particularly magazines] dedicated to the horticultural industry I guess I am beginning to wonder if the follow on effect will be that of a demise or at least a fall in interest in the great outdoors. Being honest, not even I can get a gig writing about gardens weekly… or monthly for that matter.

On the flip side… it is very easy to point fingers. And this is not about figuring out who to blame. It is the realisation that something should be done. Needs to be done. Has to be done. And now.

When I look at the online side of things I see very few Irish gardeners with an online presence. I see very few weblogs. I see very little of a presence on even something so huge such as twitter. Recently I found it impossible to come up with 20 Irish green people using the tool [properly or at all]. It’s not like I keep it a secret. I have posted and explained on every online tool I use and I even publish my statistics.

the stone age...

Considering it is the year 2010…. one would think with the upcoming Irish Blog Awards that it would be possible to have a green/ eco/ gardening category….? I think I may know of four weblogs that could enter… but nothing more. Put in that context what can I say.

I’d like to think that the various efforts such as the garden guest sessions and of more recent times the garden group would/ could and did stir the interest a little. It seems to…. surprising?

The reality is I will continue to do my instructional gardening videos and posts. I’ll continue to do so of my own time and money. I’d like to think Irish garden related companies gave me some support… To put that in context…. Recently I could not get a company to send me some products for review – although they did samples…. just not for review??? I explained I would buy it in the shop and review it anyway [ 🙄 or do I use this one 😆 ]. which is what I have done to date. Maybe some feel I may actually be honest or that its better not to have it mentioned, photographed and video’d…? And for the record I have never received any products for free for this blog. Not even a book. Not a complaint. Just so you know.

The question that remains is…. should the Irish Horticultural Industry invest all of the resources available to it and go place those magazines in the doctors surgery?

where do we go from here....?

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dear richard corrigan and rte…



I really feel so angry with RTE over this…. and Richard Corrigan even after all you have done so far. This time you are Sir a bufoon.

I watched your programme last night where an axe [or a hatchet] was use to kill a chicken…. [chop off its head on a timber block] I also listened as I was told it had lived a happy life.

point 1: A chicken that has been ‘residing’ on your ‘farm’ reality tv show for [i guess] 6 [or 66 just in case] weeks [?] has not lived a life. It has got you tv media.

point 2: if a ‘battery farm’ you visited done that – you’d have held another press conference

point 3: sure as long as you get the media attention…… you can apologise after or pay karen to do another youtube video with you [no offence karen – even though you didn’t reply to my email aking if you were paid to do the video]

point 4: if that *is* [?] the way it is done….? not at 8.30pm, when I have my own chickens and my niece of 6 years old in my company. And this is still my head speaking.

point 5: watch the instructional video below. The humane way to kill a chicken…. [and re-read point no. 2]

If you would like to complain to RTE you can do so by emailing

I emailed RTE and have had no response to date. see update below

If one follows the UK regulations, DEFRA [click here] write that:

Killing or slaughter should be conducted without causing “any avoidable excitement, pain or suffering to any animal”. Anyone carrying out killing or slaughter, by means other than a free bullet, must ensure that the animal is restrained appropriately and is stunned before slaughter.

For the record – my hens [or search ‘chickens’ within the blog]

I have received Bord Bia’s  poultry products quality assured standards [duck, chicken, turkey] revision 1st May 2008 – [click here]. The points of note that I will quote are those with relevance to animal welfare.

What it doesn’t say is use the same axe [blood/ old feathers still attached]. But I wonder as a state broadcaster, should RTE have ensured the following even though not a commercial holding. In my opinion best practice should have been exemplary when being broadcast nationwide.

  • p.18/45 – processors that carry out slaughtering must have at least one formally trained Animal Welfare Officer responsible for ensuring that animal welfare standards are maintained.
  • p.20/45 –  processors must appoint a formally trained Animal Welfare Officer who will be responsible for ensuring the welfare of poultry from catching, through delivery to the member plant, to holding facility, hanging on and slaughter
  • p.21/45 – this page in its entirety
  • p.29/45 – wood structures…… not permitted in any food area
  • p. 30/45 – re: outdoors contamination
  • p.32/45 – knives and sterilisation & effluent treatment
  • p.33 & 34/45 – medical records [humans]/personal hygiene & condemned materials
  • p.36/ 45 – entirely

UPDATE:21st May 2009

Sent: Wed 20/05/2009 00:46
To: Complaints Review
Subject: richard corrigans killing
Dear Sirs
please find attached the link to my blog post – after I watched your show Corrigans City Farm.
You may contact me at any of the numbers below
Peter Donegan MI Hort
Sent: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 9:25 PM
Subject: RE: richard corrigans killing
Dear Mr. Donegan,
I am in receipt of your e-mail.
Your comments about the content of ‘Corrigan’s City Farm’ will be included in our Audience Log of calls and e-mails which circulated for information to senior RTÉ programme management and is reviewed by the Editorial Board at its weekly meeting.Your e-mail has also been brought to the attention of the Commissioning Editor.
Kind regards.
Bernie Fitzpatrick – RTÉ Information Officer.
Sent: Thursday, May 21, 2009 8:52 AM
Subject: Re: richard corrigans killing
A Chara Bernie,
Many thanks for your response, you must have been working very late last night.
It is very mch appreciated
UPDATE: 22nd may ’09
From: Mulryan Peter [ ]
To: info[at] doneganlandscaping [dot] com
Sent: Friday, May 22, 2009 10:29 AM
Subject: Richard Corrigan
Dear Mr Donegan,
Thank you very much for sending me a link to your very entertaining blog.
The DEFRA regulations you refer to, do not refer to chickens and do not apply in this country. Either way the DEFRA guideline for the killing of poultry reads as follows:
“Anyone killing or slaughtering an animal or bird on a farm must hold a slaughter license unless the animal is being killed by its owner for his private consumption.”

A similar situation applies in the Republic of Ireland and indeed we did have a licensed slaughter on site which had just been inspected by the city vet – although everyone who took part in the slaughter, killed did so for their own private consumption.
Thank you for also noting Bord Bia’s Quality Assured standards, but as you point out they don’t apply as we are not looking to be certified. However the industrial “best practice” you referred to was indeed broadcast on programme four when we visited the Carton Group in County Monaghan. Small holder “best practice” is to either wring the chicken’s neck, or chop the head off. Death is always a messy business.

Given the pages you dedicate to Richard Corrigan you are clearly a very passionate man so I hope you keep watching the programme which will return in the Autumn.
Yours sincerely,
Peter Mulryan

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