Catchment News

Stoneybatter’s water mural – adding vibrancy to a vibrant place

Thomas Carolan from the Local Authority Waters Programme tells us how Stoneybatter’s community became Ireland’s first pollinator friendly community, and how rainwater planters and a mural are helping the community get involved in treasuring their water…

Stoneybatter is a vibrant area in Dublin city centre. The community in Stoneybatter are very engaged in environmental initiatives. Recently it was recognised by the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan as Ireland’s first pollinator-friendly community. To get this recognition, 70 sites (so far) signed up to help pollinators in Stoneybatter:

  • 54 gardens
  • 10 businesses
  • 2 headquarters/ campuses including Technical University Dublin
  • 1 school
  • 3 local community sites

Rainwater Planters Project

As part of an effort to expand the community’s environmental focus and address urban water issues, the LAWPRO Community Water Officer, Thomas Carolan is working with Bí Urban, who are a nature-based social enterprise based in Stoneybatter.

Bí Urban were successful in their application for funding to LAWPRO’s Community Water Development Fund 2020. Their project aims to construct rainwater (down-pipe) planters in as many gardens in Stoneybatter as possible. These planters are connected to the downpipe of a house in a similar way to a water butt. The benefit of these planters is that they divert excess rainwater from the drainage network, which in periods of heavy rainfall can cause overflows into the Liffey directly affecting water quality. The planters also help to conserve water by limiting demand on mains water for watering the plants in the planter boxes. Finally, the planters provide more pollinator-friendly plants throughout Stoneybatter, which benefits the overall environmental objectives for the community.

Water and water quality in Dublin

The rainwater planters project is one of several water-related initiatives that the Stoneybatter community and the Community Water Officer are planning in the area. This is because water and water quality do not always receive a lot of attention from communities in an urban setting. However, there is a growing awareness of the need to protect and conserve water as a resource in urban areas. The boil water notice that was called for 600,000 people in the greater Dublin area (including Stoneybatter) in 2019 highlighted this issue. As mentioned by Sean Laffey of Irish Water at the recent EPA 2020 Conference: “…we’re having our second drought in three years…” and this puts significant pressure on water resources.

L Mulligan Grocer’s and the water mural.

The Water Mural: Pride of Place

In this context Stoneybatter Pride of Place (POP) in collaboration with the Community Water Officer decided to fund a water-themed mural that would highlight these extremely important issues and draw attention to the water-related initiatives planned for Stoneybatter.

Seáneen Sullivan who is a member of Stoneybatter POP and the owner of L. Mulligan Grocery in the heart of Stoneybatter agreed to have the water mural adorn the gate of her iconic city centre establishment, arguably giving the mural the most prominent spot in the city centre village of Stoneybatter. The image and message were designed to be simple but effective, which was beautifully achieved by artist Holly Pereira.

Thomas Carolan, Community Water Officer, Local Authority Waters Programme

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Who is involved?

Quite simply, everyone in Ireland has a role to play. This can be from something as simple as making sure you don’t pollute your local stream, or a local community working together to establish a Rivers Trust to enhance the rivers and lakes in their area, to a Government Department or Agency helping a Minister implement a new policy to help protect and enhance all our water bodies.

This website has been developed and is maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency, and is a collaboration between the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Local Authority Waters Programme.


Local Authority Waters Programme

The Local Authority Waters Programme coordinates the efforts of local authorities and other public bodies in the implementation of the River Basin Management Plan, and supports local community and stakeholder involvement in managing our natural waters, for everyone’s benefit.


Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA is responsible for coordinating the monitoring, assessment and reporting on the status of our 4,842 water bodies, looking at trends and changes, determining which waterbodies are at risk and what could be causing this, and drafting environmental objectives for each.


Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage

The Department is responsible for making sure that the right policies, regulations and resources are in place to implement the Water Framework Directive, and developing a River Basin Management Plan and Programme of Measures to protect and restore our waters.