Feb 22, 2019

HARD/GRAFT art project and the pear tree at The Digital Hub

‘Hard/Graft: towards community orchards’ is an art project by socially engaged artist, Seoidín O’Sullivan in association with Common Ground, as part of the CITIZEN ARTIST initiative in Studio 468, Rialto.

Common Ground, an arts development organisation based in Dublin 8, is currently working with a range of artists on an initiative called CITIZEN ARTIST.  One of those artists, Seoidín O’Sullivan, has been working with local community groups, since 2017, to graft native Irish trees from the Lambe Clarke Collection in UCD.


In the HARD/GRAFT project, trees are been collectively grafted towards future orchards for Dublin 8. Eight trees make an orchard and the first of these was planted in Dolphin House Flats Complex, in December 2018, as part of its first phase of regeneration.  Dolphin House and its Community Development Association have partnered with this initiative to plant future sustainable orchards as part of the regeneration of the site.


Expert grafter Kevin Kenny, cuts scions from the pear tree at The Digital Hub for HARD/GRAFT art project .

The HARD/GRAFT project visited The Digital Hub campus, where a heritage pear tree sits next to the well-known St. Patrick’s Tower.  This 150ft high smock windmill dates from 1805, and it was used to grind corn for Roe’s Whiskey Distillery until about 1860, when the grinding process was powered by steam. The remains of the windmill still stand and the pear tree next to it.  The tree itself is thought to be 150 to 200 years old.

Given its age, it is likely the pear tree at The Digital Hub would house a unique DNA and be very resilient to disease. With advice from expert grafter Kevin Kenny, formerly steward of the Lambe Clarke collection in UCD, The Digital Hub was delighted to facilitate the group of grafters, including the Artist, Seoidín O’Sullivan, and Siobhán Geoghegan, Director of Artistic Programme, Common Ground, with cutting new scions (growths) from the pear tree, so its DNA could be preserved onto new root stock.

HARD/GRAFT currently have 45 whips (small trees) housed in Richmond Barracks, Inchicore from the UCD Rosemount’s Lambe Clarke collection and they will be partnering with UCD Geography Department in 2019/20 on an EPA funded research project that will map green spaces and trees across Dublin 8.

Common Ground will host a series of public grafting workshops in Inchicore on March 9th.  For more information contact info@commonground.ie or phone (01) 707 8766