Trócaire will return to Bord Bia’s Bloom Festival this June bank-holiday weekend (May 30-June 3) with a Guatemalan-themed garden to highlight their vital work in support of land rights.
After winning a gold medal in 2018 for our ‘Resistance’ garden, award-winning Cavan-based Dublin designer Barry Kavanagh is once again working with Trócaire on this year’s garden: ‘Stolen Land’.
The new concept highlights how land is stolen from vulnerable communities in developing countries such as Guatemala where defenceless indigenous peasant farmers are violently evicted from their ancestral homelands by big businesses and large multi-national corporations.
Trócaire directly supported 78,000 people in Guatemala last year and the Central American country will be the main focus of this year’s garden.
Highlighting land grabs in Guatemala
‘Stolen Land’ aims to show how Irish people can support communities in some of the world’s poorest countries, who are often defenceless against land grabs.
Ireland has had a similar history of land disputes, particularly during the 19th century when evictions during the famine were common before later agitation among small farmers for land rights became a pressing issue during the ‘Land War’ period.
Barry Kavanagh has conceived a novel design, which will highlight historical similarities between Ireland and Guatemala.
“Our garden portrays a natural empathy unifying the Irish and Guatemalan peoples considering our respective historical experiences,” said Barry. “The design compares historical Ireland to Guatemala today where many families live under the constant threat of violent eviction.
“I’m delighted to be working with Trócaire once again after our success last year and I’m really looking forward to putting the final finishing touches on the garden.
“All elements of the garden have been sourced from reputable Irish suppliers and all of the materials will either be reused or recycled,” added Barry.
Work is ongoing on Trócaire's garden ahead of the Bord Bia Bloom Festival's opening day on Thursday, May 30th
Engaging with the Irish public
Trócaire staff and volunteers engaged with nearly 20,000 people at last year’s Bloom and Trócaire CEO Caoimhe de Barra hopes the event will be another great opportunity to highlight our work in Guatemala and elsewhere.
“Over the last year, Trócaire’s work improved the lives of 3 million people in some of the poorest countries in the world and that progress is all thanks to the generous support of the Irish public,” said Caoimhe.
“Of course in addition to our projects in various countries such as Guatemala, the second part of Trócaire’s dual mandate is our effort to raise awareness in Ireland about the root causes of poverty and inequality in the 27 countries where Trócaire work.
“The Bloom festival has become a key date for us in this outreach work. We hope this will be another great chance for our staff and volunteers to chat to our supporters and talk about our work and Barry’s wonderful design.”
Trócaire’s ‘Stolen Land’ garden will feature Mayan-style decoration depicting unity and planting common to Guatemala, while the 19th-century-style ‘Irish section’ will feature Celtic symbolism and native planting.
Maynooth-based Guatemalan folk musician Fernando Lopez will perform for the public at Bloom on Thursday morning. Fernando’s vast repertoire includes a number of songs related to the issue of land rights and indigenous traditions in his homeland.
*Bord Bia’s Bloom, Ireland’s largest gardening, food and family festival will take place in the Phoenix Park from Thursday 30th May–Monday 3rd June. Tickets are on sale now on bloominthepark.com. Kids go free! Follow Bloom on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @bloominthepark @BloomFestival #Bloom2019