Like most businesses across Northern Ireland, Castle Espie Wetland Centre was closed to visitors throughout lockdown, yet behind the scenes work continued to maintain the wetland site.
As part of a rehabilitation programme at HMP Maghaberry Prison, a group of inmates set to work on a bespoke project for Castle Espie Wetland Centre. Their challenge, which they enthusiastically accepted, was to build an apple cart just like the cart represented in the prominent Molly Malone Statue found in Dublin City Centre.
Speaking about the story behind the unique request, Paul Stewart, Centre Manager at Castle Espie Wetland Centre said: “At the back of the Sensory Garden at Castle Espie we have an apple orchard bursting with traditional heritage apple varieties.”
“Now that we are open to the public again, we plan to sell some native Irish apple varieties and we thought a Molly Malone style cart would be the perfect way to display the young trees.”
“As an environmental charity we are largely dependent on donations and volunteers so we were delighted when HMP Maghaberry offered to team up with us on this special project.”
Commenting on the involvement of Maghaberry Prison in the project, David Savage, Deputy Governor at Maghaberry said: “We are delighted to support local facilities, such as the Castle Espie Wetland Centre.”
“The apple cart was crafted by men who are in the care of the prison under the tutelage of staff from Maghaberry Prison and the Belfast Metropolitan College.”
“This initiative demonstrates that there are extensive rehabilitation opportunities being offered to the men in our care, even during the COVID-19 crisis. It is opportunities like this that allows the prison, our staff and those in our care to be a part of the wider community instead of being apart from it.”
Castle Espie Wetland Centre is open Monday to Sunday 10am to 5pm. All tickets must be pre-booked online at www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/castle-espie
For further information please contact Sarah Fisher, Marketing and Communications Manager: Sarah.Fisher@wwt.org.uk | 028 91 875975