Garden for the senses cheering sick children

YOUNG patients at the Children’s University Hospital in Temple Street are being given a chance to indulge all of their senses thanks to a specially built outdoor wonderland.

The Multi-Sensory Garden was designed and built by garden expert Diarmuid Gavin and his volunteers, the Garden Gang, to allow patients of all abilities to get some fresh air and help on their road to recovery.

Featuring turreted castle dens, an underground aquarium with sea-horses and clown fish, airships planted with vegetables, toadstool seats and a Punch and Judy theatre, the tiny 7m x 2m space at the front of the hospital has been skilfully transformed into an outdoor paradise for young patients to enjoy.

According to Mr Gavin, the garden was designed to provide sensory experiences for therapy, learning and fun for children of all ages.

“We spoke with the nurses and the children at the hospital to find out what they needed from this garden and decided that we really wanted to create an absolutely magical outdoor space for the children, some of whom have been here for months or even years.

“The Garden Gang has worked tirelessly to make sure that every single part of the garden features something exciting for the children to enjoy and we feel that it is going to be put to very good use by the children here.”

Almost 125,000 sick children are treated at Temple Street hospital every year, with the emergency department alone catering for almost 50,000 children annually — making it one of the busiest such & facilities in Europe.

The hospital’s multi-sensory play coordinator Jill Moore added that they were overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of the volunteers in making the garden a reality for the children at Temple Street.

“This garden really is going to change the lives of the sick children in our care, just being able to breathe in fresh air and feeling sunlight will make a huge difference to their experience of being in hospital.”

The multi-sensory garden, which was sponsored by the Vodafone Ireland Foundation, will feature in a forthcoming RTÉ series in December.

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