31 May 2022
By Tom Collins
On Saturday, May 28th, the brightest, sunniest day of the year so far, The Permaculture Course at Kinsale College celebrated 21 years in existence
The Permaculture/Environmental Sustainability Conference organised by the Permaculture Course Co-ordinator Donal Chambers, saw 150 attendees treated to a morning of talks by experts in the areas of Food, Community, Agroforestry and Regenerative Agriculture followed by a choice of informative workshops in the afternoon.
Opening the Conference, the first Director of Kinsale College of Further Education, John Thullier recalled how an idea of a Permaculture course became a reality in 2001.
Founder and former teacher of Permaculture at Kinsale College, Rob Hopkins, joined the Conference on video call from his base in Totnes, England.
The positive impact of the course was evident as 2 of the 5 speakers were graduates. Virginia O’Gara, The Cork Urban Soil Project and Rob O’Foghlú, Regenerative Agriculture gave us great insights into their current businesses.
Also sharing their knowledge on the day were Mary Casey of hOur Timebank, Eugene Curran, Agroforestry, Catherine Seale Duggan, Community Water Officer and Citizen Science Team Lead.
An Tobairín, Health Food Shop from Bandon were on hand providing a huge variety of teas and drinks.
Workshops in the afternoon gave fantastic insights into various aspects of sustainable living.
Jack Kelleher, Antony McCafrey and Bridget Hannon, of the Bike Circus, provided demonstrations on Bike Maintenance Essentials.
Debbie Powell (another graduate of the course) and her Funky Food Preservation gave plenty of creative ways to prolong the goodness of our foods through air-drying, cordials and tinctures.
Thomas Riedmuller, Permaculture teacher, demonstrated Essential Eco-building skills, shoes optional!
Jo Goodyear came up smelling of roses, and much more, with her Holistic Herbal Medicine workshop and Daniel Murphy had a hands-on session or Marvellous Mushroom Cultivation.
Kinsale College teacher, Eoin O’Callaghan, held his workshop Grow your own food-a Masterclass, in the polytunnels and college market garden.
The gardens at the front of the college provided a great social space where everyone soaked up the sun and enjoyed the food from the various food vendors on-site.
The day continued into evening as the marquee transformed into a concert venue with cabaret style entertainment followed by a performance by Fi Tierney. The Kinsale Drummers brought the evening to a close sending everyone home, marching with a new energy and ideas aplenty.
PERMACULTURE at Kinsale College
The aim of the Permaculture course is to educate students in real and practical sustainable practices.
This includes conservation and regeneration of natural habitats such as native trees, wildflower meadows and wetlands.
This combines with ecological food production which is in evidence within the regenerative agriculture movement.
Zero waste is a key principle of permaculture since the 1970’s and is finally in vogue in 2022.
Community development is close to the heart of the course since its foundation. There are multiple projects engaging with local and national community projects. Students are encouraged to get involved to make the world a better place.
The Permaculture course in Kinsale is a 2-year course. A QQI level 6 qualification is gained upon completion. It gives the participants real practical skills and lifelong friends are made.