Latest Laois News: Today sees opening of Ireland’s first Eco Garden Centre in Portarlington
Ireland’s first Eco Garden Centre has opened in Portarlington, Co. Laois.
‘Solas Eco Garden Centre’ is a unique concept, much of the 5 acre development is built from old steel shipping containers, heralding an innovative and creative space, mixing garden, retail and food elements.
It is a stunning mix of vibrant, groundbreaking creativity which feeds into the common message of reduce, reuse and recycle.
All steel, plastic, cardboard and stone at the centre is 100% recycled. A clever and imaginative 40 foot tower, built from reconstructed steel is a novel and clever touch, serving both as ‘a tower of light’ and focal point.
The creation of the centre is the realisation of a long cherished dream by well know Portarlington man ,David Maher, a committed environmentalist and entrepreneur, and his business partner, Horticulturist John Carey, and modelled on a directional, sustainable centre in Amsterdam.
David says “I have always been looking out for sustainable projects that breathe life into areas. Some years back I visited the Pllek development in Amsterdam and I was literally bowled over by it. It was leading the way in extending the life of materials that otherwise might have gone to landfill with all the associated negative consequences for the environment. It was totally unlike anything I had seen before and I was determined to bring the concept to Ireland in a bid to promote a decarbonised economy and lifestyle. We engaged an excellent firm of Architects, Architect Taminiau BV in Amsterdam to realise our vision and they certainly have exceeded all our expectations”.
“We have used forty old steel shipping containers to house our street food café and market village. There is magic in forty as we have 40 of them! As well as being hugely sustainable , these 40 foot containers also have a very definite wow factor. It is bold ,creative and innovative”.
“We have an eclectic mix of stalls making up a vibrant eco food community. Our street food café and market village currently house 15 food and artisan stalls with plans to extend this to up to 40, offering a showcase for local food and crafts producers, both new and established. Our retail shop and warehouse extends to over 40,000 sq feet and its full of local crafts; we’ve tried to offer something for everybody”.
“Our designs are energy efficient, we have permeable car parks, our car park is the first 100% ‘green’ car park in the country and we have used an off the grip water supply for all non potable water”.
“We’re outdoors ready and we’re determined to make Solas Eco Garden Centre a beacon of light for sustainability and creativity. It’s buzzing with goodwill”.