Mayo's Butterfly Garden to be replicated across the country

THE Butterfly Garden in Swinford is the first of its kind in Ireland and it's set to be replicated across the country.

A unique place where babies lost too soon are remembered, the garden has been embraced by all in the community.

People who have suffered the trauma of losing a child are constantly reminded of their loss but the Butterfly Garden offers them a space that is a show of joy and celebration of life.

Having officially opened in August 2022, the garden recently won a top Pride of Place award and the committee received the congratulations of local councillors in person when they gave a presentation at the monthly Claremorris-Swinford Municipal District meeting.

Stephanie Maloney Diaz spoke about the stigma that surrounds baby loss. There is isolation too, and not everyone who loses a baby has a grave to visit.

The project has brought together people who have suffered recent loss and those whose pain goes back decades.

The vibrant garden created by the committee, located beside the playground on the Kilkelly Road in Swinford, features things like insect hotels, seating, a mosaic wall, with planting for biodiversity, and it has become very much part of the community.

Councillors were told the committee have been approached by communities across the country and that is what they want to see - a butterfly garden in every county.

They were also told of future proposed works at the site, including lighting.

Elected members promised financial support for the project and hailed it for its beauty and serenity.

Councillor Neill Cruise said it was a special place. A place of peace and calm.

Councillor John Caulfield said he could only imagine the difference it makes for people to be able to sit with their thoughts in these beautiful surroundings.

A focal point for people who have gone through this trauma in their lives, to win a Pride of Place award showed the quality and calibre of what the committee had achieved, commented Councillor Damien Ryan.