The UCD History of the Irish Diet in Plants concept garden visually illustrates changes in the Irish diet that resulted from key societal and historical changes over the past 8,000 years.

During this time, the Irish diet has moved from diverse but local to diverse and global. To illustrate this transition, the garden is divided into five sections. The first represents the hunter-gatherer diet of Ireland’s early settlers, who also relied on lakes as a food source. Section two depicts the introduction of farming; section three shows the entry of imported crops and foods into our diet; section four refers to the impact of industrialisation, and section five illustrates the expansive diet of today.

Along with fruits, vegetables and cereals, the garden includes pastureland to represent grass-fed animals (cattle, sheep and pigs) and ponds to represent early dependence on lakes for fish and plants.


Dr. Caroline Elliott-Kingston, Dr. Meriel McClatchie, John McCord, Ciaran Rooney, Hannah Johnston, Niamh ConlanDR. CAROLINE ELLIOTT-KINGSTON, DR. MERIEL MCCLATCHIE, JOHN MCCORD, CIARAN ROONEY, HANNAH JOHNSTON, NIAMH CONLAN

Dr. Caroline Elliott-Kingston is an Assistant Professor of Horticulture and Crop Physiology at UCD. She co-designed and delivered an award-winning Bloom garden in 2016. Interested in exploring interactive/participative methods of teaching, she uses garden design as one educational tool for teaching students and the public about plant history.

Dr. Meriel McClatchie is an Assistant Professor of Archaeology at UCD, where she leads a team examining the ancient remains of plants from archaeological excavations, providing insight into what foods our ancestors included in their diet.

John McCord, Ciaran Rooney, Hannah Johnston and Niamh Conlan are third-year Landscape Architecture students at UCD. Using their combined educational knowledge and unique design ideas, they created the design for the UCD History of the Irish Diet in Plants garden.

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