Flanagan’s Field reconstructs Grow Dome

Volunteers at Flanagan’s Field Community Garden have spent weeks working on the new dome

A greenhouse ‘Grow Dome’ is being reconstructed in Flanagan’s Fields Community Garden.  

Located on Reuben Street in Fatima, the garden has been operating for years as a communal garden for locals.   

The Grow Dome mid construction. Image: Sheena Morris.

The dome was originally constructed in 2014 with the help of The Grow Dome project which is a social enterprise that transforms derelict sites into dome greenhouses.  

According to Doug Hazel, the twelve-year manager of Flanagan’s Fields original dome was taken down due to several building errors.  

The original dome used polythene (PVC) plastic. Because of this it was difficult to insure the structure be watertight as adhesive does not easily stick to PVC. 

The dome was also constructed on a base of pallets, with a central telegraph pole supporting the structure.  

“Because the pallets gave way and it wasn’t watertight, the dome started to sink… the only thing that was holding it up was the pole in the middle,” said Hazel.  

In early 2019, Hazel and the rest of garden community applied to the BAM community benefit fund in order to fix the dome.  

With the help of BAM funding a concrete pad was made as the base of the new dome in place of the previous pallet base.  

Originally the BAM funding would have been used to construct triangular wooden frames. However, the Covid-19 pandemic brought construction efforts to a halt. 

Construction ceased until July this year, when the local community applied to Dublin City Council for further funding.  

The Council agreed to cover all construction costs bar those for labour. As a result, a team of volunteers, mostly consisting of locals and garden members, are currently working to rebuild the dome.  

Niall O’Brien founder of the Grow Dome project, came in to assist rebuilding efforts, where he demonstrated how to make the triangle frames for the dome.  

“There were enough people in the community garden to come down and make a triangle every time,” said Hazel. “There are signatures all over the dome from people who’ve helped.”  

Signatures of volunteers can be found all over the dome frames. Image: Sheena Morris.

Hazel explained the dome has a number of differences which set it apart from its previous iteration.  

“It’s constructed inward like the last one, but the dimensions of the triangles are much more accurate so it fits together properly without gapping,” he said.  

“We’re using polycarbonate sheeting rather than PVC, and we’re using a special tape on the exterior, purpose made for polycarbonate, so it won’t leak, finger crossed,” he added.  

Other dome differences include the addition of windows at the top level and a mezzanine which will help cool the understory of the dome. Without this addition temperatures inside the dome could be as high as 60 degrees Celsius.  

Frank Mccall, a volunteer spoke about his experience helping construct the dome.  

“It’s been a huge learning curve and I think it’s been great for everybody,” he said. “You know, there’s been a great sense of community.” 

Aside from its practical purpose, Hazel says garden holds immense social value for the surrounding community, helping bridge the gap between residents.  

“It wasn’t about a garden, it was a way of breaking down social barriers,” he said.

“It wasn’t about a garden, it was a way of breaking down social barriers”


“It was changing dramatically from a land lorded space and Fatima had been regenerated, new people moving in with older residents unsure who’s who,” Hazel added. “So, we thought a community garden would be a good backdrop to get people to talk to each other.” 

Mccall shared a similar sentiment, describing the dome as a “fabulous” focal point that will bring the community even closer together over time.  

“It catches your eye, even when you’re walking past the place” he said. “You hear some people talking in sales talk about a unique selling point, our garden has a dome, that’s our selling point.”  

 According to Hazel, the dome will be watertight within three weeks, with further improvements scheduled down the line.  

“There’s other things to be considered like sills for the outside door and meshing to keep the mice out,” he said. “Getting the warm water harvesting sorted out and maybe getting some solar onto it would be excellent.”   

The dome is intended to be named after local Michael Hooper who passed away in 2020. 

The memorial for Hooper located in the centre of the garden. Image: Sheena Morris.

Heavily involved in the fields, a memorial for Hooper already rests in the centre of the garden.  

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