The first-ever Shankill Patagonia “Power Plant” challenge was captured on a prizewinning film.

Its theme; “Grow your share of fresh air – plant a tree!”

A Climate Action was held with a very informal filmed tree planting event at Shankhill’s, Stonebridge Park prior to the current COVID 19 restrictions. The Tidy Towns Team with the Science Foundation of Ireland and the Easy Treesie – Crann Project and friends, DLRCC Parks Dept, Coillte, local school Scoil Áine, The GAA, Volunteers from SAGE, Atomic, students of the Law Society of Ireland, Compass Informatics as well as public representatives and many friends and supporters celebrated National Science Week by adding to the already impressive planting programme in this Dublin coastal paradise. Sláinte téama an lae! You can watch the two-minute film here; 

How did the filming come about? Orla Farrell, project leader was a guest of Blackrock Media Company CEO Aileen O Meara when Naomi Klein visited the National Stadium last year. (Aileen has made several films with the project so far, including a popular series with Éanna Ni Lamhna, Tree Council President on the 28 Native Trees of Ireland). At question time, Orla stood up to ask Naomi what was her favourite tree (The Douglas Fir and the Strawberry Tree) and mentioned that she was planting 30,000 saplings with school children for Science Week. After the show there was a book signing for her Climate Crisis book “On Fire” and Orla was approached by American film maker, Emmy-Award-nominated Kate Bradbury. Kate had been intrigued by the story of the Plant-for-the-Planet tree-planting project happening that month in a partnership between Easy Treesie, Crann, The Tree Council of Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland with trees sponsored by state forestry nursery, She offered to come some day when Easy Treesie was carrying out some planting and make a film at no charge to support the great work. As it happened, the Shankill date was in the calendar for a major event and along came Kate with her cameraman and partner, Emre. Kate was in fact on her way to Johannesburg that very day to film for Channel 4 in Kruger Park. She has made many films for National Geographic and her film “Naledi the Baby Elephant” can be seen on Netflix. She has since moved to live back in the U.S. and keeps in touch.  

Read more about the filming in the article below;

The Filming provided great excitement for all at the planting party.  The tree-planters were very fortunate to have the “Heavy Guns” at the event; Senior Parks Superintendent Ruairi O Dulaing not only came to view the proceedings but was persuaded to himself give the lesson on how to plant a bare-root sapling. It was a very thorough and engaging tutorial and the assembled group learned much from his demonstration and had the chance to ask many hard questions, expertly fielded with good humour. All watching really enjoyed his anecdote of a member of the public who contacted the council to complain that her drive was strewn with pink blossom petals. His reply was that she was privileged to have her path ornamented with colourful flowers! Diarmuid McAree, former chief forestry inspector for Ireland and Crann secretary was standing by to – of course – inspect that all was done as it should be. It was thought this master-class in tree planting would make up the main part of the film – but no. The Editor of “We Frame It “productions went for the children and the children alone. They were star performers and natural actors. It took several takes and they were smiling throughout. Orla Farrell who runs the Easy Treesie project was buzzing about making things happen. This film was to be a key instructional tool for children all over the country to learn how to plant a tree all by themselves. She wanted to run it by Star Gardener Mick Burke of Dublin City Council and phoned him on the mobile during the filming. “Have we left anything out?”, she asked as the filming was coming to a close. “The Watering!” said Mick. “But we are almost a sea of mud here, Mick, if it is any wetter we will all slide into the sea”!. “It doesn’t matter, said Mick, who manages Ireland’s greenest pitch-and-putt course and the biodiversity heaven that is restored landfill site, Tolka River Valley Park. “If you are making this film for people planting trees anywhere, you will have to add water. Then it will be a universal film!”. Apart from some drinking water, we had none! Off went our minders, the team from Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council to fetch a bucket and some water and save the day. None being easily to hand, the team leader went home to his wife to borrow such a bucket! Take a “bough”, team Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Co. Co. This team have been an incredible support in all the work of Shankill Tidy Towns, who by the way have inspired towns and villages all over the country to emulate their “One Tree For All” initiative; a tree for every citizen listed in the census as living in Shankill. The Shankill community has not only achieved this but are now adding many more and are approaching the 20,000-tree mark this year on local public lands! The council team make it all so easy and have been so supportive, sometimes heeling-in trees until the right time comes for planting the right tree in the right place! Sports Clubs are in particular grateful for the shelter. Stonebridge Park gets quite a lot of sea breezes and the planting really has helped to make the park more pleasant for all.

Editing of the film was kindly sponsored by the Tree Council of Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland.

Kate, a certified drone pilot invited the children to make up a dance which was shot from the air. In fact there was more than one film crew present; at least two public representatives came along to support the initiative and mesmerised with the action, once they had done their bit to help they too took some shots to share this good-news story with their constituents. It was a very cold morning indeed and the children were most wonderfully good-humoured throughout the event.  They well deserved the Lusk apple juice from Llewellan’s and picnic basket of tree-ts left in to the indefatigable and super-organised sixth class teacher, Paula Kelly and her crew. They are soon to receive a surprise, a hand-turned bowl made by Blackwater Makers, Fermoy from storm-felled trees, filled with goodies to mark their significant contribution to the greening of Ireland. A Scots Pine, the 100,000th tree of the project which was recently presented to Crann Patron President Michael D. Higgins at Áras and Uachtaráin will be planted at the park once the current restrictions are lifted when such activities are permitted and the children will be able to view the landmark tree a few minutes’ walk from their school grounds.

The day of filming was a day of great fun and laughter and how happy we will all be when similar events can take place. Currently only socially-distanced planting and tree monitoring is taking place as safety is a core value of the project which is now being taken up in 7 counties countrywide. In conversation with the Parks manager, Orla discovered that she and Ruairi had links to Colaiste Iosagáin – Eoin and were able to discuss planting possibilities at their new sports grounds. Orla, the Easy Treesie Project Manager had gone to school in Blackrock and Booterstown at Coláiste Íosagáin, which was represented by a second participant on the day,  Shankill resident and eminent Tai Kwando expert Miriam Fahy who formerly taught at St. Anne’s and currently teaches at many other local schools supervised a young team of planters.  This team was planting 77 saplings for the class of 1977 who left Colaiste Íosagáin in that year, celebrating their friendship – they still keep in regular touch.

On the planting day before 5 km restrictions were in force, tools had been sent on loan for this event from as far away as Lusk, North County Dublin. Edward Stevenson, tree-planter extraordinaire had brought the second set of children’s spades recently sponsored by the Dublin Airport Authority on behalf of the Swords Woodland Association. Orla’s son, Sam, a trainee pilot drove a third consignment of spades from Clontarf and set to work planting trees to offset fuel burned earning his commercial aviation license.  Like students everywhere, he was very glad when his mother tree-ted him to an excellent Irish breakfast at the Talbot Hotel having crossed town before the traffic. She had stopped to fast-charge her electric car – a “Leaf”, of course. The tired tree-planters availed of the magnificent carvery at Brady’s of Shankill after the morning session and had a repeat visit with the second wave of planters whose time was cut short by torrential rain as the afternoon wore on. The job was done regardless and all those present felt very happy with their contribution to “Releafing” Ireland’s canopy. We salute Sam for his carbon-offsetting diligence. We are very grateful to Philip of Frame It Production, Kildare who carried out the editing of the film at cost and Kate and Emre of Blue Gray films who made the film at no charge and Dublin outlet Patagonia who sponsored the event and incidentally make very waterproof raincoats – we have tested them! See more about the film festival below. You can support the Easy Treesie project at and as well as the

Ireland’s Best Young Science Filmmakers ‘Reel’ in the Prizes at Galway Science and Technology Virtual Festival Show

 ReelLIFE SCIENCE video competition prizes awarded to Shankill film made by the “Easy Treesie – Crann project” and by Cork, Galway, Dublin, Tyrone and Roscommon schools and youth groups

 Participants From Canny Canines to Coronavirus and Melting Ice to Mitosis, short science videos made by young filmmakers from all over Ireland were honoured at the ReelLIFE SCIENCE Video Competition Awards during Sunday’s Galway Science and Technology Virtual Festival Show.

More than 450 short science films were entered into the competition by over 2,500 science enthusiasts from 130 schools and youth groups around Ireland. Winning videos were selected by a panel of guest judges including ‘Múinteoir Ray’ Cuddihy from RTÉ’s After School Hub; BBC Wildlife and Children’s presenter, Ferne Corrigan; and the 2020 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition winners, Cormac Harris and Alan O’Sullivan, from Coláiste Choilm in Cork.

The Easy Treesie group, which encourages young people to plant trees to combat climate change, came second and won a €500 prize in the Youth Group category. They plan to use the award to pay for editing new films encouraging tree planting for children.

Speaking about ReelLIFE SCIENCE, Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Science for Society at Science Foundation Ireland, said: “We are delighted to support this initiative, which cleverly utilises digital technology to develop science literacy and creativity, at a time when these skills are most needed. ReelLIFE SCIENCE encourages young people to connect with science and technology in their everyday lives, and to bring that knowledge to a wider audience, while promoting current Irish scientific research and development.”

The ReelLIFE SCIENCE programme challenges young people in schools and youth groups around Ireland to engage with science and technology by producing short educational videos, while developing their communication and digital skills. Since being launched in 2013 by Dr Enda O’Connell, College of Science and Engineering in NUI Galway, and a team of volunteer scientists, this challenge has been met by more than 16,000 participants in over 500 schools and groups around Ireland.

Congratulating all of the participants, Dr O’Connell said: “We were hugely impressed with the standard of this year’s videos, particularly the ingenuity and creativity shown by the young filmmakers, often in challenging circumstances. Their hours of effort and passion for science was clear to see and made it a very difficult task for the judges. Well done to everyone who took part!”

The winning videos can be viewed at and more information about the programme can be found at


For more information contact Dr Enda O’Connell, College of Science and Engineering, NUI Galway, at

  • Crann, Trees for Ireland’s mission; to enhance the environment of Ireland through planting, promoting, protecting and increasing awareness about trees and woodlands. (Registered Charity No.13698)
  • The Easy Treesie Project; planting 1M trees with Ireland’s 1M school children and their communities by 2023 joining UNESCO-backed Plant-for-the-Planet’s challenge, reducing global heating by 1° during the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration, 2021-31.
  • 101,590 Planted
  • Planting 100,000 in 2021.


If any school has a swimming pool, make sure it is retained. The school pool around the corner was sold for luxury apartments and a car park, I should have chained myself to the railings in a bikini but my son was a pupil there. The Clontarf baths has re-opened but not to the public, despite a commitment that it would.

Let’s build a network of pools so that women for whom swimming is a favoured sport can easily access public hours for family and personal swims, subsidised to the same extent men’s football is supported by the state.

What has this to do with trees? Well, everything is connected. I’d a great swim in Lough Derg last summer, surrounded by trees which of course keep the water clean. So let’s have a network of outdoor swimming places too.

Preserve school playing grounds

Preserve all school playing grounds from developers. Ban their sale. And reverse the sale of any sold in the last ten years, e.g. St. Paul’s Raheny sports grounds in St. Anne’s Park. How to afford it? What is the cost for children who cannot play to their health, obesity etc. ? There is a lot of money owed to the state to redress boards, that may be a good place to start.

Film Friday

Our challenge; make a tree trail.

How; identify a tree. You can check out our Irish Tree Trail movie to find the names of our 28 native trees and of course we have lots of other trees growing here too you can add.

Now identify another one. And now maybe a third? Now you have a tree trail. You can draw a map of them if you like. Put a birdhouse in each perhaps, with the name of the tree on it or you could put the name on its bark with chalk or on the path beside it.

You can walk around the tree trail from time to time and spot the changes in the trees…do bark rubbings…hug your trees. Send us a tree mail, tell us how it goes.

Sorting Bicycle Theft; a Public Purse Issue

Challenge 4 on Active School Week; Since trees cannot absorb all the carbon being emitted on their own, cutting transport carbon is a vital issue. Even good-value bicycles are an expense most people have to think about – we relied in our house on Santa for our children’s early bikes. I’ve enjoyed 2 bike-to-work scheme bicycles (The Yellow Pearl and the Black Mambo); both beautiful bicycles. The grant also covered rechargeable lights, a good reflective raincoat and leggings and a lock. I am always very conscious that half the cost of my bikes and gear is covered by the citizens of Ireland. When such bikes are stolen it is thus a double theft as the Irish people who have contributed about half the cost of these bikes are also being robbed.

Apparently about 20k bicycles are stolen in Ireland each year. One in 6 people whose bicycles are stolen never replace them. With public money being invested at scale to set aside bike lines, we want cyclists populating them, right? With gyms and swimming pools closed, steal a bicycle and you are stealing someone’s exercise machine and perhaps their health. You are stealing their mode of transport and public transport is still restricted – how will they get to work or school? And what is the carbon cost of a stolen bicycle, in terms of the likelihood of this cyclist now getting back into a car. I was so very disappointed when my son-in-law to be-s bike was stolen in Dublin; he had only been less than 2 years living here. I felt ashamed he had suffered this crime. I have had bikes stolen all my life; my mother’s bike – a lock cut in college. The bike I got for my 21st birthday; from a garage, locked, taken with my husband’s bike by a van. Its replacement? I was pushed off the bike in the city centre, it was taken from under me. All of our 4 children have had their bikes robbed or an attempted robbery; with my middle daughter, they only left with the wheel which the Garda confiscated, meeting a gang of youths wheeling it along. The locks alone are very expensive to replace. I’ve taken to locking my bike in Drury St. car park now but the other 2 car parks I used to use are now shut to bikes – Clery’s and Kildare St.

Cycling in Dublin compared to cycling on the continent is really tough; the tramlines are a lethal trap, the fumes are dreadful and cars regularly skirt along beside one within a hair’s breadth. Extraordinarily, some drivers find it acceptable to shout out the window at a cyclist…only last week on Dollymount bridge a driver shouted “Hurry Up” to me when clearly the light sequence was designed for a speedy car as I was cycling briskly enough.

Suppose there was only 1 place in town you could park your car safely? I feel cross when I see a big flashing sign saying “Cyclists, Only 15 mins to Drury St. car park” if I want to go to Henry Street or the Quays. Set aside a percentage of every car park for bikes beside the office where there will be some supervision. Many churches such as my 2 local churches have large – often huge empty car parks and no place for bikes, what about some bike racks, nice and near the front door?

So what about a serious look at bike theft? To start with, make it the law that all bike sellers record the bike number when they sell a bicycle, new or old, then there will be some traceability. How about we ask all the Garda stations to with those etching machines, to please etch people’s postcodes or some identifier on the bikes in several places to reunite the 1 per cent of bikes which are recovered with their owners.

Let’s Chill; Challenge for Active School Week

About ten years ago, my husband’s workplace brought in a policy where neckties and jackets were no longer considered required dress unless one was meeting with outside clients. It wasn’t a “Dress Down Friday”. It was a “Dress Up on Red Letter days”. In practice this meant hanging a suit or a jacket and tie on a hanger to throw on for those fancy meetings with clients to impress. Why? Heating and Cooling an office building is costly. By encouraging staff to dress comfortably and for the temperature and seasons, energy savings could be made with a knock-on positive effect on our climate. I call on Irish schools to emulate this good practice. It is great to see so many children in comfortable clothes participating in Active School Week; after so long working from home where so many of us have got used to comfortable workwear, let’s build back better; a tie is very smart and how nice to dress up on formal occasions! Apparently the men get “hot under the collar” when it is warm – no surprise – so let’s relax a little..chill…and make earth a little cooler! I know the worry is in schools that children enjoy comfortable wear that the parents won’t buy the formal uniform unless the children have to wear it every day but PE day or days. If children travel actively to school, every day can be an active day. It was such a good idea to make a separate school badge compulsory so that parents could buy good-value school jumpers and blazers. Perhaps we can have tie libraries for those dress-up days!

Challenge; Run in the Playground?

Active School week is looking for daily challenges. Here is a challenge! What are the results of the survey to which the Dept. of Education and Science committed in 2018 regarding running in school yards and what action has the Minister taken in respect of Insurance companies who continue to insist on this damaging practice? I asked a former teaching colleague the other day and I know this rule is still in place in certain schools. Now the children are obviously in pods for Covid-19 safety reasons so they have less space anyway but in some schools the children are all running around having a great time still within their pods. Will the minister commit to requiring school inspectors to investigate this and request boards of management to amend this practice.

We say “cycle”! We say “Stay safe!” Why are we asking children to risk their lives cycling in dangerous gear?

We Accept; Day 1; Appropriate Active Wear for Girls’ Active Lives

Active School Week 2021 Challenge: It’s the Active School Week Challenge; we are invited to set one for every day. So here goes. My son says “Stick to Trees!” in my posts; the thing is, planting trees is not enough to sort the climate and will only account for 1 degree of heat reduction. Decarbonising is a parallel task. Now that public money is being set aside to promote welcome cycling infrastructure, are we to tolerate 9 out of 10 teenage girls being structurally barred from using it on their school commute through discriminatory practice? Here is one solution. Our challenge for Active School Week to policymakers and school boards of management; Cycle wearing a school skirt? We would not dream of suggesting anyone carry out such a challenge because it is patently dangerous. Safety is a core value of our project. Adults; would you cycle in a long skirt? I expect not. Why are we permitting Irish school boards decree that this is what girls – only girls – are obliged to wear at the same time as encouraging cycling?

Monday; Our challenge; Any school which requires girls to wear a skirt school uniform with no option of trousers gets no more public money until they remove this antiquated rule unless they can prove the girls in their care can cycle to school safely wearing the uniform. See this picture of these Danish students, off on their bikes to their outdoor classroom? Now picture your typical Irish convent school girl on one of these bikes, her sweeping skirts getting caught in the chain before she reaches the school gate as has happened to me in such a skirt. By the way this gets oil on the skirt, can puncture it with holes, is not good for the chain and most importantly it can throw you off your bike possibly into the path of a passing vehicle.

And they wonder why so few school girls cycle? I have had girls turn up frequently to plant trees wearing long flowing skirts, shod in what are effectively ballet pumps. (They have told me that sensible shoes look well with trousers, not so well with a skirt. ) Not only is this a discrimination issue, it is an issue with consequences for the climate. Girls with bare legs; listen; what boy or adult goes around with bare legs in Ireland in the last half-century as they go about their work? Heating is bound to be more required and more of it when children are cold and since schools are barred from using heat-pumps this means burning of more fossil fuels. I actually campaigned with my mother for a trousers uniform at my secondary school as a 15-year-old and we won the right to a trousers option though the “dress” uniform of the kilt was retained. When my classmates and I left the school the option was removed and no there is no memory recorded by current pupils of this era as shown in a recent @IrishTimes article here;

At the time we campaigned for this option I and some of my classmates were quizzed by the teachers and nuns; did we not like the kilt? Now the kilt was fine on a warm day with knee socks but I had a commute which involved leaving home at 7.20 a.m. to stand at a bus stop and next a train platform followed by a 15 minute walk, not so fine on dark, wet, winter mornings. Why not wear tights, they asked? Listen if tights were comfortable, we would be all wearing them, men gave them up it seems in the middle ages. We found them itchy, saggy and expensive. There was an issue with skipping on the playground – apparently our kilts flying up was a problem for the Christian Brothers. Our new school had lovely carpeting so we could sit on the floor; not so easy to do in a relaxed fashion without complex draping in a little gaberdine skirt. Once we got the trousers uniform I switched to cycling and I could get to school and home much quicker and get exercise too instead of wasting that hour and twenty minutes either standing waiting or sitting on a bus or train. When my 3 daughters went to Holy Faith in Clontarf, I tried for years to get the school to allow a trouser option. I was totally mystified by the lack of enthusiasm. One past pupil of the school, then a school parent said that in her day they had had to wear a beret which had looked very smart and that the nuns had been very rigorous in enforcing the wearing of said beret and school scarf; she wished those days were back where her daughter would be made to wear these items too. The parents’ chairman said how he often drove by girls standing at bus stops on his way to work in his car and though the skirts looked very attractive. A teacher said there would be a discipline issue; if the girls were wearing trousers, they would not know whether the girls were Seniors or Juniors – they had 2 different colours of kilt at the time – and the girls could be using a staircase forbidden to their year-group and would go undetected. My son and most of his school friends cycled to school, none of my daughters did though they cycled to swimming, sea scouts and their friends’ homes. Their skirts blowing up on a bicycle – there is always a breeze on a bike – was an embarassment, in any event the skirts were very long and woolly. The school suggestion was that – though they had no locker to store this change – they would bring a change of clothes each day and change on arrival. The fact that their schoolbag already weighed well in excess of the safe limit to carry meant this option was never practical. As a teacher I am almost always in trousers, they are so practical for sitting on a floor of a gym or in a circle on a rug or on the grass or for yard duty on a cold day and they are the preferred outfit I notice for most women I have taught with in Ireland. To boards of management who insist on no alternative for girls in their schools and the decision makers who give them grant funding; I challenge you to a week in the garb of a typical Irish convent school girl hauling their equivalent weight and bulk of school equipment. I cannot advise you to cycle; anyone can see how dangerous it is to cycle in a long skirt.