Our Common Home Garden

You can sit, walk, relax, pray and wonder here. Think of the Garden as a secret place where you enter into the mystery of living things. Fall in love here with Nature, and come away with a commitment to safeguard it. Become a lifelong friend to Nature as it is to you. Get to know living things better: google one per day!

The Grotto

Dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes, where Mary, the Mother of God, spoke in 1854 to a young girl named Bernadette. Invite Our Lady to speak with you now! She might say: ‘Do whatever Jesus tells you!’

The Holy Well

Holy Wells are part of the storehouse of our Celtic past and a birthplace of the future, so you can use a Celtic lens as you journey through our Garden. Ireland has over 3,000 Holy Wells, and National Holy Wells Day is celebrated in June.

For the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, August 22-26, which will be attended by Pope Francis, a biodiverse Celtic Christian Garden is being assembled in the Carpark of the Poor Clare Convent, Saint Damian’s  Simmonscourt Road, Dublin 4. One of the many attractions of the Garden will be a Holy Well built for the occasion on the lines of ancient Irish Holy Wells. The Well is being crafted by Philip O’Neill, stone-cutter for world-famous Irish artist Imogen Stuart, whose sculptures will be represented in the Garden and elsewhere in the RDS.

Our Holy Well is to be named after St Broc, which means ‘badger’ in Gaelic. Our St Broc lived in the 8th century and was one of the seven daughters of Dallbhronach in Deece, County Meath. She founded a monastery on the city side of the Dodder River in nearby Donnybrook: in Gaelic this place-name is Domhnach Broc, meaning The Church of Broc. ‘Broc’ is still a popular name in the area.

The  Holy Well is made from Irish granite which is perhaps 400 million years old! ‘Granite’ comes from ‘grains’ because you can see the grains in it. Natural wells are old! The Sisters have decided that the Well should become a permanent fixture. It is arousing great interest and may soon become a place of veneration and prayer. The fact that St Broc was female is a happy surprise for many, in a period when the complementarity of women in the Church is slowly being acknowledged.

Take water from the well into your hands; contemplate its beauty; let it fall and admire the sound. Think how vital it is for the survival of all living things. Thank God for it and pray that clean water may be protected and shared across the world.

The Irish Oak

The sessile Oak is officially our national tree. Sessile means that the acorns sit on the twigs, rather than hang down. This Oak is special, and comes from the Columba Community in Derry. Derry means ‘oak-grove’ in Irish, and this oak indicates our cross-border care for the Earth. An oak is home to hundreds of species of tiny living things! Cut down an oak tree and a whole eco-system vanishes. A healthy oak can live for 1,000 years.

The oak tree is a key part of Ireland’s natural and human heritage. Following the end of the last ice age 10,000 years ago, Ireland at first became a country of tundra, then of grasslands and finally became cloaked in forest. Woodlands dominated by oak and elm reached their peak about 7,000 BC and were teeming with animal, bird and plant life. The deforestation of Ireland began 6,000 years ago with the growth of agriculture: ash, elm and oak suffered. Notice the bio-diversity of grasses, shrubs and flowers in our Garden. Hedgerows provide vital corridors for biodiversity across our countryside,

The Spiral

The Spiral tells our common cosmic story. We all originated together in the Big Bang: we are stardust walking tall. Planet Earth is a tiny speck of dust among billions and billions of stars. But it is our Common Home! It came into being 4.6 billion years ago: life slowly developed and spread out into millions of species. We are the late arrivals. If cosmic time were one year, we came on the scene at 10 minutes to midnight. Yet we, the late arrivals, are now wiping out many of the other species.

The Sculptures

Imogen Stuart, one of Ireland’s great sculptors, has been inspired by the rich heritage of early Irish art to create these modern masterpieces which may be viewed at Our Common Home Garden.

Click to view all images here

The Swallows

Swallows are pure beauty. There are 83 species of them. They are called ‘the birds of freedom’ because they can’t endure captivity and mate only in the wild. They drink only on the wing, swooping low to sip the water. They are great travellers: it takes them six weeks to come here from Africa in Spring, and they depart in Autumn, travelling about 300 kilometres per day. Their life-span is about three years.

Here they stand for all species of birds, many of which are endangered today. Look at the swallows and imagine how poorer our lives would be if birds were to disappear: think what life would be like if the ‘dawn chorus’ went silent. Decide now to do what you can to defend our winged friends.

Nine Endangered Irish Birds

* The Hen harrier

* The Grey partridge

* The Corncrake

* The Barn Owl

* The Yellowhammer



* The Black-necked Grebe

* The Common Scoter

* The Red Grouse

* The Curlew

Five of Ireland’s Most Endangered Animals

* The Red Squirrel

* The Pine Marten

* The Red Deer

* The Pygmy Shrew

* The Wood Mouse

Ten of the World’s Most Famous Endangered Species

* The Giant Panda

* The Tiger

* The Whooping Crane

* The Blue Whale

* The Asian Elephant


Q: Why do species become endangered?

Mainly because of us!

* Loss of habitat: No home to live in!

* Killing

* Oil spills, plastics, chemicals, insecticides

* Global warming


* The Sea Otter

* The Snow Leopard

* The Gorilla

* The Orangutan: in Malaysian, ‘The person of the forest’

* The Tasmanian Devil: (akin to a big wild boar)

RDS map 2018 (pdf)

Other Events around Our Common Home

Prayer Space (in the Arena):

* Visit the Climate-Justice Candle and the photo exhibition to reflect and pray about what is happening to our beautiful world. Write a prayer on ribbon for care of the earth.

The Beehive Cell (in the Arena):

* Carved in Cedarwood, this is an interactive sculpture by world renowned artist Imogen Stuart. It reminds us of our deep connections to nature and ea Irish Christian spirituality.

Children’s Space

* Seed planting workshops

* Exploring The Earth Cube!

Teen Tent Workshops

Wednesday 22nd August 2018 10.30 – 11.45

* “Meet an Eco-Missionary”, led by James Trewby and the Columban Justice and Peace Team, UK

Thursday August 23rd 2018 10.30am – 11.45

* “The Earth Cube” with John & Julie Mundell

Friday 24th August 2018 10.30am – 11.45

* “Guardians of Creation” led by the Global Catholic Movement (GCCM)

Prayer for our Common Home

Loving and creative God, you embrace with great tenderness the human race, the whole universe and the smallest of your creatures. Thank you for being with us each day in our painful struggle for universal harmony.

Pour out upon us your love, that we may protect life and beauty in all its forms. Fill us with peace, that we may live as sisters and brothers, harming nothing of what you have made. God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes.

Bring healing to our hearts, that we may protect the world and sow beauty, not pollution and destruction. Soften the hearts of the greedy with compassion for the poor and for the endangered wonders of nature.

Teach us to discover the worth of each single thing by filling us with awe and contemplation. Enlarge our hearts to recognize our solidarity with every creature, so that together we may reach our destiny, the transfiguration of the entire cosmos. AMEN.

Download Prayer Card here

The Loving Sister Earth team will lead spontaneous prayers in the Garden through the day and formal ones at times to be announced.