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24 May 2022

Kildalton college celebrates 50 years in land-based education

Teagasc

For over 50 years, Kildalton College in South Kilkenny has forged a path for students of agriculture, horticulture and equitation. To celebrate this milestone, the Teagasc Kildalton College will open its doors on Saturday, 25th of June this year, from 11am to 4pm, to bring together students and staff, both past and present, to reflect on the changes and celebrate the achievements. The Open Day on 25th June is kindly supported by FBD. 

At the Open Day, visitors will have the opportunity to travel through time in the decade rooms.  Rooms representing each of the past five decades will display photos and articles from the college campus and enterprises showing how they have developed. This will be accompanied with scheduled talks in the Conlon Theatre which will reflect on the history of the Bessborough House, from Cromwellian times through a period as an Oblate Seminary, and as an Agricultural College over the past fifty years.

On the day, the historic Bessborough House will be open to visitors. This, along with a walk through the estate grounds will give visitors an opportunity to glimpse the Bessborough Estate as it was in times gone by. The lake, gardens and historical woodlands will all be open, and will include a Nature Walk and Scavenger Hunt for the younger visitors. Refreshments will be served on the lawn, along with an Artisan Fine Food Village where visitors will have an opportunity to sample a selection of local Irish food products.

To further mark this significant occasion, a time capsule, designed and manufactured by our second year agricultural students, will be buried on site, and visitors are invited to submit mementoes which they wish to have added to it. 

Tim Ashmore, Principal of Kildalton College said; “We are very proud of the modern educational facilities and substantial agricultural, horticultural and equine enterprises on the campus. The ever evolving nature of agriculture means that facilities in the college have moved with the times. Just one of the original sheds remains in place since the founding of the college in 1971. Visitors on the 25th of June will have an opportunity to see the current enterprises and reflect on some of the changes that have taken place in agriculture over the past 50 years. “

Dr Anne Marie Butler, Head of Education in Teagasc said; “The delivery of education has changed dramatically over the last 50 years and on Saturday, 25th June, everyone will have the chance to see just how much it has evolved and changed over the decades. Our course offerings are continuously evolving with much greater emphasis on preparing the next generation of farmer to meet the environmental challenges currently facing the farming sector, while our teachers are now successfully combining increased digital delivery with the traditional, practical, hands on training.” 

Chairman of FBD Trust, Michael Berkery remarked “as Kildalton College celebrates the 50th anniversary of its foundation, we welcome the opportunity to recognise the immense contribution of the college which has been instrumental in educating, supporting and preparing generations of farmers over the last 50 years. As Ireland’s leading farm insurer, FBD are very proud to support Kildalton and the great work that they do for their students.  Congratulations to everybody who has been involved with Kildalton over the last 50 years and we wish the staff and students, past and present, every success in the future.”

During it’s time, Kildalton has gone through three milking parlours, the existing dairy unit having been built in the mid 2000’s. Alongside the dairy, the suckler and sheep units showcase the various production systems, breeds and technologies currently used to educate the record number of students studying in the college. 

Over the years Kildalton has evolved to meet the educational needs of students by adapting the tillage enterprise, changing its cropping policy and focusing on best practice in sustainable crop production. On the day, the crops team will showcase a comparison of Spring Barley in the 1970’s vs today’s crop.

As part of the event, the current Kildalton fleet of modern agricultural equipment will be demonstrated, alongside models from the past five decades. From canvas cabs to air-conditioned modular units, the tractor is the perfect illustration of how technology has changed.  

In the horticulture unit, visitors will have the opportunity to visit landscaped grounds and the extensive horticultural training facilities. Over five decades the unit has evolved along with the industry. All enterprises will be open on the day including the commercial nursery, fruit and vegetable production units, sport turf facility, cut foliage unit and protected crops unit. Some of the college’s own horticultural produce will be available for sale in the artisan village.                            

Visitors to the equine unit will also have the chance to view native breeds of horses such as Connemara and Draughts along with scheduled demonstrations showing: Dressage, Young Horse Training, Olympian and Army ex-Kildalton student’s show jumping, Race horse to Riding Horse, Side Saddle and Arena Eventing. 

For more information click on this link: www.teagasc.ie/kildalton50

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