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16 Aug 2022

Mediterranean touch added to Twin Towns Community Gardens

Spanish visitors make their mark in Ballybofey-Stranorlar

Mediterranean touch added to Twin Towns Community Gardens

The Spanish students working on their football nural at the Twin Towns Community Gardens

Friendships and intercultural links between a group of Spanish students and their hosts from the Twin Towns area are now deep-rooted thanks to a unique link formed at the local community gardens this week.

Fifteen students and their teacher have been adding their own Mediterranean touch to the area over the past three weeks and yesterday (Wednesday) celebrated the culmination of their impressive efforts by helping out at the local community gardens.

Teacher Laura explained that the students had been living in the area and enjoying their time learning about the locals and their culture while seeking to improve their use of the English language at the same time.

“They are all from Madrid and go to a school called Gredos San Diego, one of six with the same name but in different locations around the city. They have been here for three weeks and coming to the garden here to learn about plants and vegetables that grow here.”

Laura added the 15 students decided to leave a permanent reminder of their visit by painting the emblems of their favourite football teams namely Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid, and Real Betis on a section of the garden wall.

The local coordinator for the visitors, Rosaleen White added the students were staying with host families in the community.

“They are enjoying their time here and engaging with the community. It's a great experience for everyone involved.”

She added there were always strong links between Spain and Ireland and an opportunity to host students worked well for everyone concerned. The students have been coming to the locality now for around six years.

“They get to improve their English and anyone with children studying Spanish at school learns it first hand from our visitors. Indeed some Irish students go to Spain to do exactly the same thing.
Chairman of the Twin Towns Community Garden facility, John Walsh, said they were delighted to welcome their Spanish friends to their facility at the bottom of Ballybofey's main car park.

“When Rosaleen approached us a few months ago and asked if we could provide the outdoor experience for the students in our garden we were delighted to be able to facilitate them. We showed them everything we grow here and demonstrated the different ways the Irish climate affected plants and crops.

Spanish students with their teacher Laura at the garden in Ballybofey

“Just to make sure they received the full Donegal experience we also took them to see our local team, Finn Harps. They enjoyed the experience. The group wanted us to share the love they had for their teams and asked if they could paint their club logos on our garden wall. We encouraged them to make their mark and as all visitors here now will see they certainly did.”

It looks like this strong Ballybofey-Madrid connection is set to grow and grow thanks to the community garden.

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