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News, Stories | 26 October 2021

Culture Near You: Rediscovery Centre

Eco Store at the Rediscovery Centre

Eco Store at the Rediscovery Centre

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Culture Near You is an online map of culture in Dublin. We’re constantly adding to this cultural map so we get to meet lots of the great people featured, and we thought you might like to meet them too!

For this blog series, we’re meeting the makers, the movers and shakers, the partakers, and the doers of the map - to find out more about what they do in the city. You can find out more about Culture Near You and how to get involved here.

Meet Gráinne

Gráinne is the Events and Marketing Coordinator at the Rediscovery Centre in Ballymun, which is the National Centre for the Circular Economy in Ireland.

Below, she tells us about this innovative movement to support low-carbon living, it’s very unique location, and even shares some top tips on how to live more sustainably.

Tell us a bit about yourself, and what you do at the Rediscovery Centre.

Tell us a bit about yourself, and what you do at the Rediscovery Centre.

I have been working at the Rediscovery Centre since 2017 and my principle role is to coordinate the events, communications and marketing at the Centre. My background is in digital media, communications and event management. I joined the organisation at a great time as they had just moved into their newly renovated building and were about to launch their new eco-facility so it was an exciting time.

I had previously worked in the area of sustainable energy, so the circular economy was a good fit for me. It really aligns with my personal values and I enjoy working for organisations that have a focus on sustainability.

How did the idea for the Rediscovery Centre come about?

The Rediscovery Centre is the National Centre for the Circular Economy, located in Ballymun and it was created as a social enterprise in 2004.

The organisation was developed in response to identified needs within, and by, the Ballymun community. Our first social enterprise was Rediscover Furniture followed by Rediscover Fashion, Cycling and Paint. These businesses use unwanted materials for new product development and design demonstrating effective resource efficiency, reuse and low carbon living. These social enterprises also offer training programmes to those who have been distanced from the work place and all of the products are then sold in our Eco Store. The Rediscovery Centre is also an accredited Discover Primary Science and Maths centre.

The Rediscovery Centre moved into its current headquarters in 2017 and it is a demonstration eco-facility, and a centre of excellence in sustainability that we base our operations in.

What is the circular economy, and why is it important?

The adoption of the circular economy is key to Ireland’s future sustainability. At the moment we have a linear economy, where we make, take and discard items. The circular economy is where we make, take and reuse. It minimises waste at all stages of the supply chain and ensures that we make the most of our resources by keeping them in circulation for as long as possible.

Do you have any standout or memorable moments from your time at the Rediscovery Centre?

One of the great things about the Rediscovery Centre is the variety of work that we do. We host events about a range of topics such as sustainable fashion, design, science, policy, bikes, children’s workshops and the Centre has been used quite a few times for filming.

The most recent programme was GlowUp Ireland, and a memorable moment was during the filming of one of the episodes. Panti Bliss was invited as a guest judge and it was a magnificent sight to see her walking the corridors. She has an amazing presence and energy when she is in a room.

The Rediscovery Centre is housed The Boiler House in Ballymun. Can you tell us a little bit about the building?

The Boiler House was Ballymun’s main source of heat and water for the residents. It was built in the 1960s to provide drinking water, hot water, and heating to the 36 newly built flat blocks. It was the largest mass heating system in Ireland at the time of its construction. On 29 July 2010 the Boiler House was shut down and a new localised heating system came on line. The iconic red and white chimney was set to be demolished in 2012 until the Rediscovery Centre showed interest. Thanks to a successful application from the Rediscovery Centre and Dublin City Council to the EU’s LIFE+ environment fund, Ballymun’s old Boiler House got a green revamp.

This green revamp included hempcrete walls, composting toilets, rain water harvesters, a heat pump, led lighting, a kitchen garden, a reed bed waste water treatment system, a green wall, PV and hot water solar panels, onsite in-vessel composter, refurbishment with reuse materials (e.g. internal windows from another building) and the building is painted with recycled paint.

It now houses all of the social enterprises, our education team, our research team, an eco store, a café, visitor centre, workshop space and event space.

Working at the Rediscovery Centre is very interesting and when we host events we stay true to our circular economy principles. We don’t use any plastic at our events, we use upcycled lanyards, upcycled conference furniture, no single use cutlery and we compost any scrap food in our composter. I think people appreciate the fact that we do go to great lengths to ensure that sustainability is woven into everything that we do.

If you had a dream project related to the work that happens at the Rediscovery Centre, what would it be?

There are so many possibilities! I would like to see the Rediscovery Centre physically grow in size. We have so much work to do, creating more event space and workshop space would be amazing. There is always a large demand for the work that we do and it would be great to have additional space.

What advice do you have for someone who might like to live more sustainably, but isn’t sure where to start?

My advice would be, be kind to yourself. If you are trying to live more sustainably then that is the first step. Start small and add to it. When I go to buy something, I don’t just think about how it was made I also look at what will happen when I am finished with it. Can I reuse it, can I donate it, can I recycle it? If I can’t do any of those three things, then I don’t buy it, as it will only go into landfill.

Then next piece of advice is to demand more from the companies that you work with or buy from. When consumers demand better options then businesses start to listen.

What’s your favourite thing to do in Dublin?

I love living in Dublin as there is so much to do around the city. I am looking forward to Christmas in the city centre. The Christmas lights, the music and of course the food, always makes for an amazing atmosphere. There are lots of great independent retailers, second hand shops and cafés to choose from.

What are you most looking forward to at the Rediscovery Centre in the coming weeks and months?

We have had an exceptionally busy couple of months as the restrictions have started to ease. We were able to start hosting in person workshops again and to host meetings in our event space. We have lots of exciting events coming up that can be viewed here.

Some notable ones are the Let’s Talk Science series of events, and and we will also be hosting our Sustainable Christmas Fair again on the 3rd and 4th of December.

If someone would like to get involved with the Rediscovery Centre, how can they do that?

There are many ways to get involved with the Rediscovery Centre. We are open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm and you can come and visit us for a tour, book a workshop or you can take a look at the Rediscovery Centre website to find out more information. If you would like to get in contact with us directly you can email us info@rediscoverycentre.ie or call 01 8933801.

We are also very active on our social media channels.

Lastly, what has been your favourite or most surprising discovery on the Culture Near You map so far?

The Culture Near You map is a great resource to have. I will have to mention our neighbours in Axis arts centre in Ballymun who put on a great calendar of creative events every year. They do a lot of work within the local community and put on some great productions. They are great neighbours to have.

Discover more

If you’d like to book a tour or attend an event at the Rediscovery Centre, check out the Rediscovery Centre website.

If you’d like to make more sustainable and local purchases, take a look at the Rediscovery Centre Ecostore for upcycled bikes, furniture, face masks, and more.

The Rediscovery Centre is one of 62 cultural entries to be found in Ballymun on the map. If you’d like to discover other great local organisations in your area, visit Culture Near You to see what you might find.