Abbeyleix volunteers swap the bog for Áras an Uachtaráin

The volunteers were invited to the President of Ireland's famous garden party

Michelle Hogan

Reporter:

Michelle Hogan

Abbeyleix volunteers swap the bog for Áras an Uachtaráin

Eight volunteers from Abbeyleix bog attended a garden party in Áras an Uachtaráin on Friday, June 30.

The garden party is one of many parties held every year by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins.

President Higgins and his wife Sabina opened the gates of Áras an Uachtaráin to mark 'Care and Solidarity in the Community'.

The party was held for any community groups around Ireland that care for people or care for the environment in which they live.

President Higgins addressed the huge crowd of over 500 people who traveled from all over Ireland to enjoy the stunning surroundings of his home. 

"The garden party season is a special time of the year here in the Áras when Sabina and I welcome to Áras an Uachtaráin many citizens who have contributed in their unique way to Irish society, in acts of citizenship and solidarity," President Higgins announced in his opening address.

The President praised the people of Ireland who work hard for their communities.

"Here in Ireland, despite the many challenges of the contemporary moment, we have thankfully remained at heart a creative, resourceful, and warm people, with a firm sense of common decency and justice," he said.

"There can be no doubt that, while retaining and valuing a spirit of concern for others and a willingness to offer of our time and support to those who are vulnerable is essential, we need, as a society, to invest in public policies and resources that can reduce the burden on those who care for loved ones," said the President.

Volunteers from Abbeyleix bog were invited to the party having hosted a visit for President Higgins at the bog recently. 

Mary White who is a member of Abbeylex Tidy Towns was one of the people in attendance. 

"He was absolutely amazing, he is an amazing man," said Mary.

"There were gardeners at every corner, answering any questions you had about the plants or anything. I was hugely impressed. Sabina was in her element dancing," Mary added.

"It was great to meet like-minded people like ourselves and to have free-reign of the beautiful park. Everybody was dressed up to the nines it was like the Oscars," she added.

A brass band, traditional music and Cuban music rang out around different areas of the park entertaining the 500 guests.

President Higgins became the first Irish statesman to visit Cuba back in February and was heard speaking fluent Spanish to guests at the party.

The Irish President was in Abbeyleix on May 25 as a special guest at the Community Wetlands Forum in the Abbeyleix Manor Hotel which was hosted by the Irish Rural Link. The visit took place during Biodiversity Week.

Abbeyleix Bog is situated on the southern periphery of Abbeyleix town and encompasses an area of almost 500 acres of diverse habitats.

The Abbeyleix Bog Project is an open access amenity developed by volunteers to benefit all and welcomes walkers, photography enthusiasts, nature and wildlife hobbyists and families who love the outdoors.