City hotel goes green with garden in the sky

Jilly Dougan who oversaw the installation of the new rooftop garden.
Jilly Dougan who oversaw the installation of the new rooftop garden.

Anybody looking out over Belfast’s city skyline today might just spot a green oasis on top of one of the city’s largest buildings.

The Europa Hotel has installed an edible garden on its rooftop.

The garden boasts its own greenhouse and entirely edible produce.

And the hotel hopes to use the food produced in the garden within its own meals and drinks served in the Europa’s restaurant and bar.

Guests can expect microherbs and peashoots from the greenhouse, while the garden’s raised beds are expected to yield thyme, rosemary, coriander, chives and even chocolate mint.

All the produce will be added to the Europa’s signature dishes and even in some of their cocktails.

The Europa’s executive chef, Adrian McDaid, said that his team can’t wait “to have our own selection of herbs literally right at our fingertips”.

The garden is situated on the second floor roof area in front of the Euro Business Centre and overlooks Great Victoria Street.

Local gardening expert Jilly Dougan oversaw the installation of the ambitious project. It is expected that the garden will produce the selection of herbs between April and October each year.

The quirky project follows on the heels of similar green-fingered projects. Last year, the Culloden Hotel, Slieve Donard Resort Hotel and Stormont Hotel all hosted their own rooftop edible herb gardens.

Managing director at the Hastings Hotels group, Howard Hastings, saidthat installing the greenhouse on the roof had “presented its own challenges in terms of logistics”.

He explained: “The greenhouse itself had to be lifted up to the second floor by crane in the early hours of a calm morning so as to not upset the flow of city traffic.”

Mr Hastings added: “This garden shows our ongoing commitment to sourcing the freshest produce, lowering food miles and reducing our carbon footprint.”