An Gairdin

An Gáirdín Organic & Ecology Centre.
St. Brigid’s Road, Portumna, Co. Galway.
Tel: 090 9741689

Here at An Gáirdín we cherish Earth as a living being, a wonderful web of interconnectedness and interdependence and we are committed to living in harmony with one another and with Earth’s magnificent diversity of life. We hope that the opportunities and courses that we offer here will awaken in us the understanding of the awesomeness of our connection with Earth.

An Gairdin, Portumna News Updates
Courses and Events 2011
About Us
An Gairdin, Portumna

The United Nations has declared 2010 as International Biodiversity Year. Biodiversity is all of Earth’s life: microbes, people, plants and animals and the places in which they live (habitats). Biodiversity is all around us, from gardens to hedgerows, bogs to woods and mountaintops to coastlines. Let us take the opportunity we have during this year to stop and appreciate all the beauty of the diversity of life around us and take the steps needed to safeguard it for the future. We depend equally on each other for survival.

News Updates

13 June 2012

An Gairdin Organic and Ecology Centre
Summer Solstice Thursday 21st June 2012 7.30pm - An Gairdin invites you to an evening of celebration in Music, Meditation, Song and Dance to celebrate mid summer, the longest day of the year and the height of the growing season. See

Mozaic Workshop Saturday 30th June 2012 10am - 4.30pm: This one day workshop is an introduction to mosaic where participants will be shown materials, tools and techniques and gently guided through the process of designing and creating their own mirror mosaic.

Materials and tools are supplied but participants are encouraged to bring any leftover tiles, broken or whole that may be hiding in your shed, any bits of old cracked china, shells, pebbles, beads, whatever interesting curios that they would like to use.

Discover your creativity, get working with your hands and maybe find your inner 'Gaudi'!Maximum of 8 places. Numbers are limited to maximise one to one tuition time. Material fee of 5 Euro per person is necessary to cover backing board, sealer, tile adhesive and grout. This is not included in the €45 price for the day. See

An Gairdin News & Events

Courses and Events 2011

Early booking is advisable with a €20 deposit for all day courses.


Medical Dowsing with Ciaran Graham
Sat 5th March 2011 - 10am to 2.30pm

Medical Dowsing – the oldest form of medical diagnosis is carried out with the aid of a pendulum or other intuitive instrument to identify the likely cause of a given illness. You will learn to use your divining skills.

Cost: €30

National Tree Week
6th – 12th March 2011

Join us during the week and learn how to plant Small Native Woodland in the corner of your garden and how to plant a Native Hedgerow. Contact us for further details.

Cost: -

Collecting your Rainwater with Muriel Hayden & Michael O'Rourke
Mon 21st March 2011 - 7pm to 9pm

Muriel will demonstrate how she has devised her own inexpensive method of saving Rainwater for her small business. Michael has been equally creative in saving rainwater from his tunnel and other sources. Avoid water shortage!

Cost: €15

Wholefood Cookery with Lynda McFarland - Class 3: Cardio Cookery
Thurs 24th March 2011 - 7pm to 9pm

Lynda will demonstrate healthy cookery and nutrition aimed at lowering LDL cholesterol and balancing blood pressure naturally through diet and lifestyle. Demo & Sampling

Cost: €20

Spring Equinox with Colette Baynes
Sat 26th March 2011 - 10.30am to 1pm

Celebrate this special season of balance, of equal day and night, of new life and hope, with song, dance and meditation. All are welcome.

Cost: €20


Herb Growing Made Easy with Dolores Keegan
Sat 16th April 2011 - 10am to 4pm

Learn how to have a wide variety of fresh, tasty herbs all year round. During the course Dolores will share her thirty years experience of herb growing. We will cover seed sowing, taking cuttings, garden lay-out, getting your soil right, looking after your herbs to get the best from them and you will have some recipes to take home.

Cost: €45

Composting : Morning Workshop with Kieran Hickland - Marking International Earth Day
Thurs 21st April 2011 - 10.30am to 12.30

Once and for all why not take this opportunity to learn the few basic and easy rules that will turn your organic/kitchen waste into rich garden fertiliser. Kieran will take you practically through each step. Save money! Save labour! Do something really really worthwhile. You'll feel great!!

Cost: €10

Wholefood Cookery with Lynda McFarland - Class 4: Energy Boosting
Thurs 21st April 2011 - 7pm to 9pm

During this class Lynda will demonstrate healthy cookery aimed at boosting energy levels in the body and alleviating fatigue. Demo & Sampling.

Cost: €20


Celebrating Bealtaine with Colette Baynes
Sat 7th May 2011 - 10.30am to 1pm

Spring is turning to Summer. Birdsong fills the air and growth is everywhere. Life is bursting with fertility. Colette will lead us in this celebration with time in nature, dance and meditation. All are welcome.

Cost: €20

Growing in Polytunnels with Dolores Keegan
Wed 11th May 2011 - 10am to 4pm

This day covers all aspects of tunnel growing including: choosing and erecting a tunnel, choosing suitable varieties of plants for tunnels, designing a yearly crop plan, maintaining healthy plants and irrigation.

Cost: €45

Awakening to the World of Nature with John Feehan
Sat 21st May 2011 - 10am to 4pm (& June 11th)

We will be out and about with John as he leads us into the world of plants, insects, invertebrates and their habitats. John's intimate knowledge, enthusiasm and vast experience will make this day one of exciting learning and marvelous discovery.

Day 2 in June John will be leading us in exploring and getting to know the Ecology of the local area.

Cost: €40

Preserving and Storing Your Produce with Renée Strauss
Sat 28 May 2011 - 10am to 2pm (& June 25th)

Renée will demonstrate how to capture the flavours as you store your fruit and vegetables fresh from your garden in jams, chutneys, relishes and pickles. Demo, sampling and something to bring home!

Renée will continue with further methods on June 25th.

Cost: €25


Salad Production with Dolores Keegan
Wed 8th June 2011 - 10am to 4pm

Dolores will cover a large range of Salad Crops – seed varieties, propagation, spacing, tending, rotations, and diseases, outdoors and in the tunnel.

Cost: €45

Awakening to the World of Nature with John Feehan
Sat 11th June 2011 - 10.30am to 4pm

Again we will be out and about with John as he leads us into the world of plants, insects, invertebrates and their habitats. Today we will be focusing more on the Ecology of the local area. We are guaranteed another day of exciting learning and marvelous discovery.

Cost: €40

Summer Solstice Celebration with Colette Baynes
Fri 17th June 2011 - 7.30pm to 9pm

We have been gradually moving through the season of Spring to midsummer. Again we invite you to join us in tuning into and celebrating the rhythm and energy of the longest day, the fullness of light, the magnificence of colour and the fertility of earth.

Cost: €20

Preserving and Storing Your Produce with Renée Strauss
Sat 25th June 2011 - 10am to2pm

This is day 2 of Renée's workshop on preserving and storing fresh produce. She will cover freezing, drying and other methods. Demo, sampling and something to bring home!

Cost: €30

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An Gairdin

About Us

In 1994 a small group of Mercy Sisters from the Clonfert Diocese came together to find new ways of expressing our commitment to Earth. We were awakening to the vision of Earth as a living organism, a great web of interconnectedness and interdependent life. We shared the desire to rediscover together who we humans are as a strand of this magnificent web. You could say we shared the desire to ‘come home’ to Earth after a long absence.

And so An Gáirdín came into being!

At that time the site of the Rural Domestic School here in Portumna, which had taught agriculture and traditional craft sand skills for a hundred years became available to us. ‘To make again a garden of this place’ (Elizabeth Roberts) became our motto as we set out to learn to live in communion with one another and with the great diversity of life around us.

At An Gáirdín, all of our courses, groups, celebrations and activities are based on our search, in collaboration with others, to find ways of living in a mutually enhancing relationship with the Earth and the whole Earth Community.

“We are returning to our place after a long absence, meeting once again with our kin in the earth community.” (Thomas Berry in Dream of the Earth)

An Gairdin Iontas (meaning ‘wonderment’)
We’ve decided to name our new gathering space Iontas as we believe that what is being asked of us as humans at this time is to make the transition into Wonderment/Iontas. Iontas is becoming a wonderfully creative building with our own workshops and with others who wish to enjoy this special space.

We are inviting schools to take part in our new programme where we will be supporting students to cultivate their own organic school garden and cook the produce, in the context of appreciating biodiversity and the evolving Universe Story.

Organic Horticulture Courses
In early February we will be resuming our 10 day Organic Horticulture courses. This one day per month course takes participants right through the growing seasons. This is a popular course so please book early. We also facilitate other Organic Horticulture courses e.g. Growing in Polytunnels, Salad Production and Herb Production in the context of biodiversity.

Study/Reflection Group
We meet every other Monday night. We choose authors who express insight into this unique time in the history of the planet.

Be the Change Symposium
This is a unique three hour workshop exploring the world’s most critical issues - environmental sustainability, social justice and spiritual fulfillment. We will facilitate this symposium in your club/organization/parish/community, or with a gathering of friends in your home groups. (Roisin O’Brien, Michael O’Rourke and Noreen Lyons are trained Symposium facilitators)

We take time out to pay attention to and celebrate the feasts that mark the changing seasons and cycles of nature - Spring and Autumn Equinoxes and Summer and Winter Solstices. Tuning into nature's changing rhythms and energies brings harmony and balance in our own lives. We celebrate with meditation, song, dance and sharing of earth's produce. All are welcome.

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Please do not hesitate to contact to contact us if you are interested in any of our programmes. A full list of our courses is available on our web site:

Thank You.

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