SWA Operational Plan 2020 – 2024

Please click the image below to download and view the Swords Woodland Association’s Operational Plan 2020 – 2014.

The document will describe the Association’s background and objectives, and will go on to describe our work to date and our plans for the next four years and beyond.

As a voluntary organisation, we are reliant on support and funding from other agencies and individuals and dependant on buy in from the local community in order to achieve our goals.

Saplings for Science Week 2019

Science Foundation Ireland’s Science Week 2019 ran from Sunday 10th to Sunday 17th November. A total of 1300 trees donated by Coillte and Crann were planted in Ward River Valley “The Jacko” and Broadmeadow Linear Park over the course of the week – a mix of oak, alder, willow and birch.

Working with Orla Farrell’s easytreesie/ Plant for The Planet project, we engaged students and teachers from three primary schools and one secondary; Swords ET, Thornleigh ET, Mary Queen of Ireland NS., St. Cronan’s NS and St. Finian’s Community College, using tools funded by Dublin Airport Authority.

Volunteers from Swords Tidy Towns, River Valley & Rathingle Tidy Towns, Broadmeadow Community Gardens and Dublin Friends of the Earth joined in the fun alongside SWA volunteers, with valued support provided by Fingal County Council management and staff.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all who took part, and we look forward to seeing you all again in Spring 2020 for more tree planting.

SWA National Tree Week Event 2019

The Swords Woodland Association event for National Tree Week 2019 took place in The Atrium of Fingal County Council Offices in Swords on Tuesday 2nd of April.

The event was opened by the chairman of Swords Woodland Association, Gerry White.

Our best known local archivist Ms. Bernadette Marks recounted how trees and parks have featured in Swords over the last decades.

Filip Jastrzebski from The Afforestation Project explained some social media tools being developed for community tree planting projects. The Afforestation Project aim to plant a large number in Ireland by 2021 in an attempt to inspire the world to carry out a massive tree plantation project to mitigate climate change. For more information visit the Facebook page.

Ciaran Burke and a number of students from St. Finians Community College gave a presentation on how they have developed a Horticulture Curriculum in their school and how they are also very excited about the prospect, in the next twelve months, of getting funding to setup they’re very own Polytunnel.

The school also received a Biodiversity Certificate from Gerry White to recognise the achievement of the teachers and pupils in completing the ‘Grow a Native Locally’ Project.

The ‘Grow a Native Tree Locally’ Initiative is supported by Fingal County Council and The Dublin Airport Authority Community Fund.

Orla Farrell from Easy Treesie – Plant for the Planet gave us a very interesting presentation. Easy Treesie want to help every schoolchild plant a tree to combat climate change. They organise tree planting days for children. They aim to plant a million trees by December 2023. EasyTreesie.com

Dominca McKevitt, Head Gardener at Ardgillan Castle and Demesne was there and very generously brought almost 100 trees with her and we held the inaugural Free Tree Day in Swords sponsored by Final County Council. A large number of these trees were provided to St. Finians Community College.

Native tree school projects for 2019

In 2018 our Agenda 21 funding from The Department of Environment and FCC has been spent giving three new tree boxes to local schools.

In the first week of December we met with 20 students at Holy Family Junior National School in River Valley.  Two copy nature tree boxes made from larch wood supplied by Creative Fingal were installed and the children took part in sowing acorns. The conversation involved a question and answer session which included discussions about air pollution and biodiversity. A follow up visit is in the works and we want to thank Declan Power and the HFJNS staff for their enthusiasm and help.

More recently we went to St. Finian’s Secondary School at the invitation of Ciaran Burke who teaches Horticulture and Forestry at 5th and 6th level. With the help of his students we placed another tree nursery box in the grounds of their campus on Jugback Lane. We hope Ciaran and some of his students will give a short presentation to local officials on proposals for the Broadmeadow Linear Park as part of National Tree Week 2019.

The three school projects started in 2017 have also been extended with a new crop of trees expected early in the Summer. Those schools are in St Margaret’s, Rivermeade and Coolquay.

Invitation to plant for the Planet

This coming Saturday, January 26th in Malahide, Dublin, parents and children (8 - 14) are invited to come along and plant a tree.

Please see the leaflet below for full details.

Growing native trees from seed in Swords

Our copy nature tree nursery box at Kilcoskan NS

The Swords Woodland Association, supported by the DAA Community Fund, engaged with local schools in a native tree propagation project.

The project involves the production of broad leaf trees which promote habitat, biodiversity and well being.

The project has already increased awareness of biodiversity among primary school students and their parents. Our tree project also spurs interest in other Grow initiatives which are promoted by the INTO,  the Tree Council and environmental NGO’s.


In our inaugural 2017 project the schools had the task of managing a Dunemann box, which is a copy nature tree growing technology. Our members assisted by providing classroom material, seed and leaf mulch. There are currently 85-100 oak saplings growing as a result of the project. Other tree species being grown include beech, maple and birch.

Our ambition is to organise a conifer project to include propagation of native Scots pine.

Following a successful application for financial support from the DAA Community Fund we created a partnership with three local schools

  • St Margaret’s NS and Principal Ms Ciara Gaughan
  • Kilcoskan NS and Principal Mr Ciaran Caulfield
  • Mary Queen of Ireland NS and Principal Ms Aileen O'Donnell

We had great response to our outreach and the teachers and pupils were very engaged. Our encouraging results were down to the care and attention provided by the Green teams in the local schools.

Current funding under Agenda 21 is being considered by Fingal County Council to acquire poly tunnels and allow for ongoing and expanded education projects by Swords Woodland Association.


New trees at Mary Queen of Ireland NS

Eventually, given the possibility that we will produce an annual harvest of new trees we will engage with County officials and civil society to determine how these trees can improve the parklands which are available to all the people of Swords. We are particularly interested in seeing how our native tree stocks can be used in future expansion of the Ward River Valley Regional Park.

We are very grateful to Fingal PPN, and Jamie Moore its Director, who is creating a very dynamic framework to bring local community groups into closer and more productive alliances.

Inaugural General Meeting

The Swords Woodland Association Inaugural General Meeting took place on Monday 25th of February 2019 at the Carnegie Court Hotel. The event was a great success and extremely well attended by very interested people.

Among the items discussed were the aims and potential of the Association. Links that have already been made with Fingal County Council and the DAA. Also a discussion on the new constitution and a presentation of the accounts.

The new constitution was approved and an election of the new committee took place.

  • Chairperson - Gerry White
  • Secretary - Myles Caulfield
  • Treasurer - John Drinane

The Association AGM will take place this coming November.

Destruction of Ushers Wood

An SWA Ambassador has brought to our attention that the Ushers Lake area of Ward River Valley Park has been vandalised. As you can imagine we are completely appalled by such behaviour. We immediately contacted the Senior Parks Superintendent of Fingal County Council to ask if he could rectify the situation. He did reply to say that although the council have reached an agreement with the current owner of the area in relation to the transfer of these lands, it is not yet complete and therefore the council are unable to address this matter for now. But he did say that they will address the situation as soon as the transfer has been completed. Below is the original post from our Facebook page and also a message received from the council by Cllr Joe Newman.

Post and photographs by Brian M Whelan

‘Have not been down the valley for a while with my camera. To tell you the truth I am shocked and saddened at the amount of vandalism that has happened in the wake of the concrete structure been taken down by the council. Soon it appears there will be nothing left but bottles, cans and rubble in the river. All of the old structures are being interfered with, bricks pulled out of the underside of bridges, soil removed. Someone needs to act now, Trees have been felled with axes and chainsaws too.’

Cllr Joe Newman:

I have had a conversation with the officials in the council responsible for the park and its environs, The transfer of ownership of these lands are going through a legal process at this point of time so the council do not own this land yet. The council intend to develop this area in a sensitive manner and hope to restore historical structures to their original state. In the meantime it would be in the national interest if residents would keep and eye on this area and report any destruction of historical structures to the Gardai in the first instance. I will convey any issues of concern to the council officials and I will be working to ensure the immediate preservation of this area.

Wildlife Photographs

Have you observed the birds or wildlife that currently reside in the Ward River area or it’s environs?

If so we’d love to hear from you, especially if you have taken any photographs. Please email your photographs and information to info@swordswoodland.ie and we will display the best of them here and throughout the site.

We’re delighted with the response so far!