Ireland's First Eco-village
24 Nov 2008
The Village, Ireland’s largest eco-building project, is set on 67 acres in the lush green in County Tipperary. Two-thirds of the plots are already sold and the rest likely to be taken up soon.
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he Village, Ireland’s largest eco-building project, is set on 67 acres in the lush green of County Tipperary. The infrastructure is established for 120 plots, two-thirds of which are already sold and the rest likely to be taken up soon.
Every plot owner gets to design and self-build their home under The Village guidelines. There are plans for detached, semi-detached, terraces, apartments and also live/work homes, where the working space is the ground floor. The upcoming construction will be done in clusters of houses with neighbours all co-operating with one another.
A Real Community
The project began in Dublin in 1999, when a group came together to found a sustainable community. After years of searching, the ideal site was bought in Cloughjordan, North Tipperary, in 2005. Local politicians and planners proved very supportive ñ once a thriving town, Cloughjordan had become a backwater.
All the decisions and administration comes under a democratic, co-operative community organisation ñ an educational charity known as Sustainable Projects Ireland Limited. Here, even the newest members can have an immediate and equal say in the future of the project.
The Village will feature two social centres; one focusing on education and the other on celebration. An Enterprise Centre will be offering shared secretarial services and other resources for start-ups and small businesses. Elsewhere, The Environmental Construction Company will be moving in but the local bookstore and coffee house, Sheelagh na Gig, will be the very first commercial enterprise on site. Later on, Cultivate ñ Ireland’s sustainable living and learning centre ñ will move en masse from Dublin.
When it is completed, The Village will boost the local population by around 40 per cent. In fact, 35 families have already moved into the area in readiness for the construction phase. This has meant that, even before a single brick has been laid, a community has already been firmly established, with horticultural courses, yoga classes, a cinema club, writer and poetry groups, as well as other societies.
Energy-wise, there are 450 square metres of solar panels, laid out in an Energy Centre, which is the largest solar array in Ireland. Heating for the project is also provided by two district heating systems ñ wood chip boilers. With this in mind, The Village has 22 acres allotted to growing wood biomass, while hundreds of small trees are already in the project’s tree nursery, ready for planting out this coming spring.
The Energy Centre is also part educational and part administrative. It is where all energy used is measured and tariffed and, because all homeowners share the same energy system, this will help identify where savings can be made. These findings will then form part of an energy education package, which will be offered to visitors when the Energy Centre is fully operational.
Open spaces are very important to this project and the residential area includes seven acres of common land, where a number of playgrounds are planned ñ a child-friendly place. Beyond this, lies a further 50 acres of co-owned land that includes woodland and farming areas.
Food security and the idea of self-sufficiency have been key pillars in basic planning. Each home has a 100 square metre allotment, where food could be grown for the family and the country’s first Community Supported Agriculture Scheme is already underway. For a charge of 20 euros a week, households can have their milk, eggs and vegetables supplied. Further to that, a stream meanders through the site. Its banks will host native plants, herbs and fruit trees, forming part of an edible landscape’ based upon permaculture principles.
A Future in Education
The Village perceives its future as an educational centre, spreading the message of sustainable living. The Cloughjordan railway station is not far away and lies on the Dublin to Limerick line. When the educational facilities are up and running, many visitors are expected. Experience days’ are already hosted for those who wish to know more about Ireland’s most innovative and largest eco-project.
Says Dave Flannery, of Sustainable Projects Ireland Limited: ‘Soon we will be demonstrating that living sustainably can be more economical, fulfilling, rewarding and fun!’
Contact: Sustainable Projects Ireland Ltd.,
Main Street, Cloughjordan,
North Tipperary, Republic of Ireland
Tel: +353 (0)505 42833
Some of the future residents
come to work on the land
Photo: © Eoin Campbell
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