Brilliant Ballybunion Logo

Brilliant Ballybunion is a exciting new Creative Climate Action project, supporting the  local community be creative, grow food and protect nature (all at the same time). It is about creating the future we want to B!

Brilliant Ballybunion is one of 19 projects funded under the IGNITE strand of the Creative Creative Climate Action Fund II – Agents for Change. Supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media in collaboration with the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications and the Department of the Taoiseach, the Creative Ireland initiative supports creative, cultural and artistic projects that build awareness around climate change and empowers citizens to make meaningful behavioural changes.

Brilliant Ballybunion is coordinated by Grainne Toomey from Ballybunion Community Forum in partnership with The Barna Way, Lisa Fingleton (Artist), Rena Blake (Photographer/Grower), Dr Joanne O Brien (Ecologist) and Dr Clare Watson (Reflective Learning Evaluator).

According to Project Manager, Grainne, “The project will work with the community to grow food, protect habitats and create a vision for the future in the context of climate change & biodiversity loss. Community is very important to us. There is a great community spirit in Ballybunion.  We are really looking forward to this opportunity to work together to learn how we can best protect the plants and animals in our biosphere”.

  “We are so lucky to have The Barna Way, 19 acres of beautiful native meadows and woodland on the doorstep of Ballybunion and we are really excited to have the opportunity to share the magic of Barna and grow healthy food for the community”.

For the next two years The Barna Way will be a hub for the new Brilliant Ballybunion project funded under the IGNITE, Creative Climate Action Fund, which is managed by Creative Ireland.  The project will engage the local community to creatively explore the future for Ballybunion in terms of protecting biodiversity and local food systems. The project will work with diverse community collaborators to grow food, protect habitats and create a vision for the future in the context of climate change and biodiversity loss. This project will have multiple elements in terms of creating long term transformative change in 4 stages: Information; Exploration; Inspiration and Expression. The project is coordinated by Grainne Toomey from Ballybunion Community Forum in partnership with The Barna Way, Lisa Fingleton (Artist), Rena Blake (Photographer/Grower), Dr Joanne O Brien (Ecologist) and Dr Clare Watson (Evaluator). Rena is one of the coordinators of  the ‘Ballybunion Community Market’ every Saturday morning in July and August. The Barna Way also works with people with disability through the Kerry Social Farming Project. Lisa and Rena host a number of creative experiences and workshops in conjunction with the MOYA festival including ‘Art in Nature’ ‘Songs for the Spirit’ and ‘Living Lens’. In their respective studios, they create work that reflects their passion for food and their commitment to biodiversity and climate action. Lisa recently published her highly acclaimed new book ‘The Local Food Project’, about the power of eating local food to increase health and well being; to reduce plastic and carbon; and to support local food producers. The Barna Way welcomes artists/writers in residence, volunteers and interns from all other the world who are passionate about creating a sustainable and inclusive world. Lisa and Rena have travelled extensively and have lived in many countries. They value intercultural exchange and the sharing of knowledge through ‘thinking global and acting local’. They strive to ‘BE the change they wish to see in the world’ though their work in 'The Barna Way' and welcome others to join them in their journey.

Lisa Fingleton, the artist with the project says she is very excited about the creative elements of the project. “I believe very much in the power of creativity and imagination. It can be quite overwhelming to think about all the impacts of climate change. It is really important for communities to create a vision of how we would like the world to be in the future and how we can do this in a way that ensures a just transition for everyone”. Lisa was the lead artist in the last round of the Creative Climate Action fund working with farmers on the Dingle Penninsula.

New and recent PROJECTS AT 'THE BARNA WAY' 2024 Brilliant Ballybunion 2024-25 Studio Lisa Fingleton Studio Rena Blake Creative Climate Action Project: A Creative Imagining The Local Food Project Kerry Social Farming 30 Day Local Food Challenge 30 Day Local Food Challenge Ballybunion Community Market Natural Dyeing with Katerina Gribkoff at The Barna Way 22nd July 2023 Ballybunion Arts Festival: Colour Me Natural, 23rd July 2023 Ballybunion Arts Festival: Living Lens Photography Workshop with Rena Blake, 23rd July Drawing with Nature, MOYA festival, Ballybunion, 29th April 2023 Creative Climate Action Project: A Creative Imagining

Lisa and Rena Blake are very committed to growing food and sharing skills with the local community at The Barna Way. Rena says, “Over the last year and a half we have also learned a lot about growing and preserving food from the Ukrainian community here in Ballybunion and we hope they will get involved in this project too”.

The project will also run a Wild about Life programme with ecologist Dr Joanne O Brien. Ballybunion is at the mouth of the Shannon estuary which is a Special Area of Conservation, home to a large colony of bottlenose dolphins. It is one of only 10 protected sites in Europe.

You can follow the journey on the website and on social media: