Take a determined garden designer, a willing publican and an acre of land on the remote Sheep’s Head peninsula — and you’ve the makings of West Cork’s most eclectic night spot.
A ‘Butterfly Garden’, complete with fire-bowls for barbecuing, butterfly-mosaic benches, a stage, a dance area, plus a heaping of butterfly-friendly flowers — lavender, lilac, verbena and geraniums to name but a few — is currently under construction at the back of Eileen’s Bar in the village of Kilcrohane.
But it’s not just about attracting great performers and top DJs to a picturesque rural location.
Kilcrohane’s Butterfly Garden is all about raising money for one of Ireland’s biggest children’s charities, LauraLynn House, Ireland’s first children’s hospice which looks after children requiring palliative care, and their families.
The idea for the Laura-Lynn Butterfly Garden came from Dominick Cullinane, a garden designer and nursery owner from Killumney, Ballincollig, Co Cork.
Dominic’s partner is related to Jane McKenna, one of the drivers behind the charity, which was originally established in 2001.
Mr Cullinane came up with the idea in 2014 while working on a project on the Sheep’s Head peninsula.
During this time, Eileen’s Bar became his local.
“It had a large space out the back, of about an acre,” he recalled.
He presented his idea for a fund-raising outdoor entertainment centre to publican Eileen Lehane who was immediately in favour of it.
“I thought it’d be a great idea. I liked the thought of using this space to raise money for charity,” said Ms Lehane. “It was essentially unused, and now it will be lovely.”
To date, she said, all work and materials for the project have been donated.
The soon-to-be completed garden will have 10 large, curved benches inspired by the renowned Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi.
Each of the benches will face a specially-built fire-bowl, which will be used for barbecues. There will also be an open-air stage and dance area, facilitating everything from concerts and musical performances to discos and ceilís.
“There will be a number of activities and events throughout the year — everything from concerts to set-dancing and community events — everything and anything you can think of,” said Ms Lehane.
“It’s already looking very well and we can’t wait to see it open.”
The butterfly motif on the seats and the decision to select hundreds of butterfly-friendly plants for the garden, is a connection with the Butterfly Room at LauraLynn House, which provides a private, peaceful place for families to spend time with a child who has recently passed away.
“I think it’s a wonderful idea and it’s very special to my husband Brendan and I. We are all so grateful for the support of the people of Kilcrohane and West Cork,” said Ms McKenna.
Work on the Butterfly Garden began last September, and has been carried out at weekends by a crew of volunteers.
The project is expected to be completed by August but, in the meantime, said Mr Cullinane, more volunteers are needed.
“We’re up to six volunteers now and looking for more,” he said.
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