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Permaculture Design Certificate 2017, Cloughjordan Ecovillage


PDC 2017

Learn how we can live more sustainably using ecological design
Practical skills for horticulture, farming, enterprise, green building, perma-facture, collaboration, social innovation and community resilience.

11-20 August 2017 | Cloughjordan Ecovillage, Co Tipperary, Ireland |Contact Us | Fees €550 / €495 Members | some concessions are available, €100 deposit secures your place (how to apply - PDF). Course Poster PDF

This 10-day Permaculture Design Certificate Course is organised by Cultivate and hosted in association with Cloughjordan Community Farm and the Ecovillage Education Group and is accredited by the Permaculture Association

Each year we invite special guest tutors to share their expertise, and 2017 sees the return of Albert Bates, the founder of the Ecovillage Training Center at The Farm in Tennessee, past president of Global Ecovillage Network and author of 16 books on ecology and the future and Aranya, leading UK Permaculture teacher and designer and author of Permaculture Design: A Step-by-Step Guide. Aranya will be coming to us online; he hosted one of last years most popular, inspiring and interactive sessions on design.

The setting for this immersive course is Cloughjordan Ecovillage, one of Ireland’s leading examples of an ecosystem of innovation. it includes over 50 eco-homes, community woodlands, renewable energy production, a wood-fired bakery, research gardens and a community farm.

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 WeCreate Workspace and Fab Lab an innovation hub within the Ecovillage. 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 interest is in community, horticulture or in engineering; or how you design a homestead or sustainable community or just how to best navigate the transition to a resilient and low carbon society, the principles of permaculture and regenerative design will be helpful.

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. Recommended reading will be sent out prior to the course.

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).  Every year we invite special guest tutors to share their expertise. In 2017 we have Albert Bates of The Farm, Tennessee and Aranya (via Skype) author of Permaculture Design a Step by Step Guide.

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 50 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 Cloughjordan Community Enterprise Centre home to the WeCreate FabLab.


€550 (€495 members and €515 for those who have attended a Taster) including all lunches and dinner on arrival night; accommodation is extra see below for details. You may reserve a place with an €100 deposit (payment details - PDF). Paypal payment options are at the top of this page.


Options range from camping onsite (compost toilet and shower available), €5 / night to affordable eco-hostel accommodation at Django's to fine rooms at Cloughjordan House B&B.

Book here for Django's or call Pa at +353 87 256 9348.

For other accommodation options please contact Philippa. philippa @ or 0505 56063


Participants should bring their own stationery, secateurs, sturdy boots and a laptop/ tablet if you have one (computers are available on site if needed). We will supply course notes and all equipment needed for practical work.


Included in course fees are delicious vegetarian lunches every day and dinner on arrival. During the week dinners are organised in various ways including, cooking in groups, community meals shared with other villagers and so on. There will be inexpensive supper options available during the week, e.g. pizza, barbeque nights, available for booking at the beginning of the course.

For more information on food options please contact Philippa. philippa @ or 0505 56063


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.


Along with specialists from Cloughjordan Eco-village teachers on this year’s course includes sessions with Albert Bates of The Farm, and Aranya (via Skype) author of Permaculture Design a Step by Step Guide.

Each section of this course, with its diverse range of subject matters, is taught by someone expert in that particular field.

Our resident experts include:

Eileen Flanagan brings extensive professional experience in water management systems and natural building. In 2011 she self-built a circular cob home in Cloughjordan eco-village, and is trained in Passive House design and construction.

Bruce Darrell a specialist in horticulture and food security living in a self-built house in the Cloughjordan Ecovillage. He hosts a YouTube channel on the Research Education Development (RED) Gardens, a series of gardens which are exploring different methods of growing vegetables at a family and neighbourhood scale.

Kevin Dudley one of the farmers at Cloughjordan Community Farm and was orchard curator at the Irish Seed Savers Association for 10 years. He has completed an apprenticeship at the Centre for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at The University of Santa Cruz, California, where he developed his interest in Social and community supported farming.

Davie Philip one of the original catalysts of the Transition Towns process and the manager of Cultivate’s Community Resilience programme. He facilitates groups working on collaborative approaches to help their communities flourish and has a passion for social and organisational Permaculture.

Devyn Olson Sawyer knows that it’s impossible to learn on an empty stomach. She brings her passion for combining delicious ingredients, culinary knowledge and keen interest in food issues to offer Permaculture kitchen sessions and oversee the course catering.

Ben Whelan is a Founder and Director of Cultivate and WeCreate Workspace. He has taught and published in many areas of sustainability including permaculture, bioregionalism and local economics. Currently his focus is on green and sustainable uses for open source hardware and digital fabrication.

Philippa Robinson is a student of permaculture since 2005.  The permaculture course coordinator, ‘people care’ person & information hub for Cultivate.

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)

Albert Bates, Permaculture Designer, Teacher and Author

Eileen Flanagan, engineer and natural builder

Bruce Darrell, gardening researcher & food security analyst

Kevin Dudley, farmer and researcherKevin_Dudley.jpg

Aranya Permaculture Designer, Teacher and Author


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