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Permaculture Design Certificate Course at Cloughjordan Ecovillage

With Graham Bell, Jillian Hovey, Mark Boyle & Resident Experts


8 - 17 August 2014 | Cloughjordan Ecovillage, Co Tipperary, Ireland | Contact Us | Fees €550 / €495 Members | €100 deposit secures your place (view detail here)

Join Graham Bell, author of The Permaculture Garden and The Permaculture Way, Jillian Hovey, founder of the Sustainable Living Network, Mark Boyle, aka 'The Moneyless Man' and the ecovillage's resident experts of permaculture, gardening, farming, perma-facture and green building for this unique, yearly opportunity to learn invaluable design and practical skills. This is Cultivate's 6th consecutive year holding the UK Permaculture Association accredited Permaculture Design Certificate ("PDC") Course at Cloughjordan Ecovillage.

This PDC is organised by Cultivate in association with Cloughjordan Community Farm and Village Education Research and Training (VERT) at The Cloughjordan Ecovillage. The venue for indoor sessions is the new enterprise centre (also known as a FabLab), WeCreate.  See photos of previous courses here.

This course is full-time (and "full-on") from Friday evening (starting with dinner around 6pm) until the following Sunday afternoon (around 4pm) | Find presentations, links and other resources on Our Permaculture Resource Site.


Graduates of the course will be fully accredited by the U.K. Permaculture Association with a Permaculture Design Certificate.

Why do the course?

The permaculture design course has become one of the benchmark accredited courses in sustainability and, as such, is an essential part of the toolkit of real and practical ways to face the difficult challenges of our times. Whether your area is community or business development, horticulture or engineering the principles of permaculture are equally relevant and will bring new direction to your work.

No prior knowledge is necessary to take the course, although, as permaculture is such a wide ranging discipline, it is recommended that participants do some basic research.

Course Highlights

The permaculture course in Cloughjordan aims to be as fully comprehensive and up to date as possible. Through a balanced mix of theory and practice participants will learn how to apply the principles of permaculture to many aspects of their own life and that of their community. The Cloughjordan course includes focused sessions on natural building, local economics, forest gardening, renewable energy, ponds and aquaculture, ecovillage and bioregional design along with specialist knowledge from our local expert on digitial fabrication, permafacture and open source distributed production (and the indoor sessions are held in one of Ireland's only FabLabs). 

Ecovillage Setting & Course Venue

The Ecovillage is a unique and innovative project that is striving to create a fresh blueprint for modern sustainable living. Created on beautiful land in Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary, the ecovillage already has more than 53 low energy homes and work units to date, with planning permission for a total of 132 units, renewable energy for heating and a productive farm supplying much of the residents' food needs. 

The venue for indoor sessions is the Enterprise Centre (home to a FabLab called WeCreate), situated in the ecovillage.


€550 (€495 members and those who have attended a Taster) including all lunches and several of the suppers; accommodation extra. You may reserve a spot with an €100 deposit (download deposit detail here). We are organising inexpensive supper options for those that are not already included in the price, and you can elect on the day whether or not you want to opt for those (pizza, barbeque, etc.) nights. 


Options range from camping onsite (€4 / night) to affordable eco-hostel accommodation at Django's to fine rooms at Cloughjordan House B&B.

NOTE regarding hostel accomodation this year:  For those electing to stay at the hostel, it is available to the permaculture course participants at a reduced rate of €137 total for 8 nights. The night of Friday 15th August we will all enjoy a group camping experience for all who are willing. Participants can elect to return to the hostel for Saturday night, or again camp.  

Book here or call Pa at +353 87 256 9348.

Reduced accommodation rates at Django's for course participants:

  • 8 nights (8 - 14 (camp on night of 15th) and 16 August) in shared en-suite dorm accommodation: €137
  • 5 - 7 nights (8 - 14 (checkout on 15th) August) in shared en-suite dorm accommodation: €120
  • Less than 5 nights in dorm: €20 / bed / night
  • Single private en-suite rooms €25 / night
  • Double private en-suite rooms €40 / night


Participants should bring their own stationery. We will supply course notes and all equipment needed for practical work.


Included in course fees are a gorgeous vegetarian lunch every day and some of the dinners (including on arrival on the Friday). Those dinners that are not included in the fees, are organised in various ways including cooking in groups, community meals, shared with other villagers and so on.


The website will help you get there. Situated 143km from Dublin (Cork 156km, Limerick 57km) Cloughjordan is easily accessible from all parts of Ireland by train, bus or car. Cloughjordan has its own train station and is just off the M7 motorway where Bus Eireann and J.J. Kavanagh's buses serve the nearby town of Moneygall from where we can collect you. For those coming via Dublin Airport, there are 14 buses direct from the airport to Moneygall on the Friday. Search from Dublin Airport to Moneygall on for details.


This year we welcome Graham Bell as the main course tutor as well as Jillian Hovey who will contribute her considerable design expertise and Mark Boyle who will join us for an interactive session on The Gift Economy. Each section of this course, with its diverse range of subject matters, is taught by someone expert in that particular field.

Graham Bell, in his own words: "I live and work in the Scottish Borders. My wife Nancy and I have created a forest garden which is approaching its twenty-fourth anniversary and provides a great deal of food, fuel and company (wildlife). Our children Ruby and Sandy (now in their twenties) have also been great contributors to developing our house and garden as an energy efficient home place. I have written two books on Permaculture, the Permaculture Way and the Permaculture Garden which thousands of people have enjoyed as easy introductions to what Permaculture means in a Northern temperate climate and the society that goes with it. I have taught Permaculture on four continents. After many years engaging with business and politicians in my work to get these esssential principles understood and used by people who govern and direct the world's economies I have returned (2012) to teaching courses and restarted a North Hardy Plant Nursery specifically designed to support Forest Gardeners. Read more... 

Jillian Hovey is a seasoned permaculture teacher and a facilitator of integrated design. She works creatively and collaboratively with others, applying the whole systems design principles to a wide range of projects: from urban balconies, through natural buildings designed as organisms, with frequent application at the whole community scale. Her experience with intentional communities and forming ecovillages led her to realize that how we think and behave has significant effect on our success in moving towards sustainability. Jillian believes that to achieve outstanding green design, we need outstanding process. This resulted in over a decade of personal and professional focus on inter-personal work which she has woven into her methods, and facilitated internationally. Read more... 

Mark Boyle has lived completely without money in England for two and a half years, an experience which formed the basis for his first book, The Moneyless Man. He is also a trustee of Streetbank. He holds a degree in Business and for most of his professional career was involved in the management of organic food companies. He gives talks internationally (but doesn't fly which makes it difficult for him to go very far very often!) and writes intermittently for various international newspapers and magazines, such as the Guardian and Permaculture Magazine. He is currently in the process of creating a fully localised, land-based gift economy in Éire which will demonstrate how all the ideas and practical solutions described inThe Moneyless Manifesto can be integrated into one holistic system design. Read more... 

Our resident experts include:

Eileen Flanagan is a qualified civil and structural engineer with many years experience in the public and private sectors. She lives in the eco-village with her husband in their self-built circular cob home. She recently trained in Passive House design and construction and teaches natural building, permaculture and craft.

Bruce Darrell studied architecture, but has been increasingly focussed on food related issues since moving from Canada to Ireland 17 years ago. In 2003 he began working with Feasta as a food security analyst with a key focus on nutritional resilience. He has been growing food at an allotment scale for 10 years, and in the early days of the grow-it-yourself revolution he began teaching food growing skills as well as co-founding Dublin Food Growing (now Dublin Community Growers). He is now living in a self-built house in the Cloughjordan Ecovillage, where he is developing the RED Gardens, a series of 5 Research Education and Demonstration Gardens which are exploring different methods of growing vegetables at a family scale.

Kevin Dudley has been one half of the farming team at Cloughjordan Community Farm since the end of 2011. He was orchard curator at the Irish Seed Savers Association in Scarriff , County Clare for 10 years. Kevin’s Interest in genetic diversity, seed saving and the interaction of soil and environment led him to work for a year with heritage seed producers in New Zealand. He then completed the apprenticeship at CASFS (The Centre for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems) at The University of Santa Cruz, California, where he developed an interest in Social and community supported farming.

Davie Philip currently manages the Community Resilience Programme at Cultivate. He completed his first Permaculture Design Course in 2000 with Rob Hopkins and has taught on many design courses since then. Davie was a founding member of both FEASTA (the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability) and Sustainable Projects Ireland, the company behind the ecovillage project in Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary where he now lives and works. Davie was one of the original catalysts of the Transition Towns process and currently hosts events and facilitates groups working on collaborative approaches to help their communities flourish. He has a passion for social and organisational Permaculture and is currently working on a Permaculture Diploma on these themes.

Other permaculture experts joining us are Cultivate staff members who are resident in the village: Ben Whelan and Philippa Robinson, as well as Martin Giannini, the main organiser of this course, visiting from Poland. 

More About Permaculture

Permaculture is about creating sustainable human habitats by following nature's patterns. It uses the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems to provide a framework and guidance for people to develop their own sustainable solutions to the problems facing their world, on a local, national or global scale. It is based on the philosophy of co-operation with nature and caring for the earth and its people. Permaculture is not a set of rules; it is a process of design based around principles found in the natural world, of co-operation and mutually beneficial relationships, and translating these principles into actions.

A Typical Experience of the Course

“As a permaculture novice I had little idea of what to expect at Cultivate's Permaculture Course in Cloughjordan. I was thoroughly engaged from the outset as the course carefully blended theory and practice to give me a rich overview of the principles of permaculture design.” - Niamh Brannigan, Communications Manager, Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative 

A 2013 student working wtih compost

2013 group working with tutor Bruce Darrell on a traditional Irish garden bed system, 'the easy bed'
easy beds

Davie Philip, resident and Social Permaculture expert
Davie apple tree

2012 PDC participants at work designing
2012 Designing

2012 PDC participants in an outdoor session in the village marketplace

Lunch chef Goska and course tutor Bruce Darrell preparing spuds from the Red Gardens (nearly all fresh vegetables used for the lunches are grown in the ecovillage)

Students working on a soil sample exercise 
 03 Permaculture-Cloughjordan

Graham Bell
graham bell


Eileen Flanagan, engineer and natural builder

Bruce Darrell, gardening researcher & food security analyst

Kevin Dudley, farmer and researcher

A circle 'celebration' at 2012 PDC
2012 PDC Circle

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