From derelict site to Japanese Garden – CSP funding supports Tramore social enterprise
24 June 2016

In 2013, Tramore Development Trust County Waterford acquired a lease from the local authority on a 2.5 acre, semi abandoned site in Tramore town centre.

Work began in 2014 to construct a Japanese style garden in honour of the eminent Irish-Greek writer, Lafcadio Hearn, who had childhood associations with Tramore, and who is renowned for his work on Japan.

With the aid of ten members of the Tramore Community Employment Scheme, and under the auspices of designer and manager, Martin Curran, the landscaping and planting of the gardens were completed by end June 2015 when they opened to the public.

The distinctive design reflects the course of Hearn’s life and includes an Irish Victorian garden, an American garden, a Greek garden and extensive Japanese gardens. 


The derelict area as it was before the transformation.



The area now, transformed into a beautiful Japanese garden.

The project has provided a key amenity for Tramore which previously had no town park, garden or central meeting place. The gardens provide a place of respite and reflection for the local community, and are already attracting visitors from beyond the immediate area. The increase in tourism generated by the gardens will also be an added boost to the local economy.

In November 2015, Tramore Development Trust were awarded funding under the Community Services Programme (CSP), which Pobal manages on behalf of the Department of Social Protection. The grant will aid the further development of Lafcadio Hearn Japanese Gardens as a viable social enterprise by providing funding towards three essential posts:

  • A manager responsible for the full time maintenance and development of the gardens, and the management and training of a renewed CE scheme with eight places.
  • An assistant manager post funded on a ‘full-time-equivalent’ basis as the gardens are a seven-day week project.
  • An administrator/marketing manager, to manage visitor flow and develop the business stream necessary to the project’s viability.

Agnes Aylward said: “Speaking on behalf of Tramore Development Trust, and as the Project Director, I cannot emphasise enough the importance of the CSP funding to this project. The project is very ambitious. To succeed, the gardens must maintain the very high standards they have set.  This simply could not be done without the skilled resources we have been able to acquire with the assistance of the Community Services Programme.

It is particularly good to see that one of the CSP positions has been taken up by a former employee of the CE scheme.  This gives continuity to the project as well as providing a career path to the employee in question.  Another point worthy of note is that the gardens are a happy and satisfying place of work. The reward is there to be seen and experienced through the comments of visitors.”

Lafcadio Hearn Japanese Gardens celebrate their first anniversary on Friday, June 24thin the presence of H.E. Ambassador Mari Miyoshi of Japan.