The past few years events have  further revealed the need for our globalised industrial systems to adapt so that our values and quality of life are central to the way we live. This course gives us a platform to share skills,  that are becoming all the more important in light of our rapidly changing world, thus helping people to foster resilience in our local and global communities.

The recent break with many of our old systems provided many with opportunities to reconsider our relationship with the natural world, reconnect to our local communities, re-localise economies and intensify efforts to strengthen our resilience. The principles and ethics of Permaculture provide us with the design system for the future

Overview and location
This training offers a unique hands-on opportunity to gain permaculture skills in Cloughjordan Ecovillage, a model of how communities can respond to the many challenges facing us. The Ecovillage was designed through permaculture, allowing students to see the design principles in action within a lively and diverse community. Featuing over 50 eco-homes, a renewable energy heating system, wood-fired bakery, a community farm & our course centre – WeCreate Workspace and FabLab.

Course participants will have online lectures with international tutors while also engaging with local tutors through outdoor classes, hands on experience and project-based explorations of permaculture design. Topics include: regenerative agriculture, green and natural building, local economics, forest gardening, renewable energy, work and livelihoods, ecovillage design along with tools and technologies including digital fabrication and open source distribution and production.

Fees Include:
– 9 days of immersive tuition – classroom and practical plus evening sessions.
– Dinner on arrival, and a hot hearty lunch for each day of the course.
– Permaculture Course Handbook.
– Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Certificate.

Places are limited. Jobseekers contact your local DSP case officer or Intreo office to apply for training support. Participants receive a full PDC certificate accredited through the UK Permaculture Association.

This course is full-time (and “full-on”) from Friday evening (starting with dinner around 6pm) until the following Sunday afternoon (around 4pm)
Organised by Cultivate in association with Sustainable Projects Ireland.


“f you’re looking for a pragmatic and inspiring insight into an incredible and life-changing way of living, I can’t recommend this course enough. If you look at society, the future the climate crisis and modern living and worry its all fucked, this may well change your mind. If you look at a 9-5 doing something you’re indifferent about and a 40 year mortgage just to have somewhere to live and think there must be another way, this might give you an insight to an alternative way to design community.”  – 2020 student

“This course is a unique opportunity for a full immersion in topics fundamental to the transition to a more sustainable society; a great experience supported by passionate and highly skilled people.” – 2020 student

Wondering what to expect from a 10-day PDC experience?


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 engineering, designing a homestead or sustainable community, or 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

Includes focused sessions on natural building with cob, local economics, forest gardening, renewable energy, ponds and aquaculture, ecovillage and bioregional design along with specialist knowledge from our local experts on food growing, nutrient management, community practices, digitial fabrication, green and natural building and open source distributed production (including a practical session in one of Ireland’s only FabLabs). Also including sessions on Cloughjordan Community Farm and a visit to Crawfords Farm.

“The PDC is an intense, whistle-stop tour through the exciting world of permaculture. Led by knowledgeable people who are really trying to implement these principles in their lives.”  – Mags Synnott, 2018 student.

Ecovillage Setting & Course Venue

Cloughjordan Ecovillage is a unique and innovative project that is striving to create a fresh blueprint for modern sustainable living. Created on beautiful land in County 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 community-supported farm supplying much of the residents’ food needs. 

The venue for indoor sessions is in WeCreate Workspace –  Enterprise Centre and FabLab.


€600 (€550 early bird discount – ends 13 May) including all lunches and a 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 at €5 per night to affordable accommodation at Django’s Eco-hostel, plus some local B&B options.

Some guidance for campers:

Please note the camping area is beautiful and basic, situated in the in the Ecovillage 2 minutes from our centre.

Campers will stay in the allotments area, with access to a compost toilet, a covered outside kitchen (gas rings and rainwater sink), a fire area and an off-grid shower (plus access to the shower in WeCreate in the mornings and evenings with the building open 8am to 8pm).

Camping in Ireland can be challenging at times, even during the summer months. Warm socks, a hat, warm clothes & blankets are usually needed, as well as an additional waterproof ground cover for most tents. Flip-flops are quick and easy for hopping in and out of the tent in the wet grass and a nice camping mattress is essential for those camping for the duration.

If you are properly equipped for 9 nights camping in the Ecovillage you will be rewarded by beautiful and peaceful surroundings in the eco-village, a communal outside cooking space, a hot shower and the late night camaraderie of the camp fire.

Camping: €45/9 nights/person

For camper-van users, you can park at WeCreate parking for €30 for the course.

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

For other accommodation options please contact Philippa. or 0505 42683


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.

“Wonderful. Eye-opening. Generous. Delicious. A highlight of each day” – Ashlee Downey, a 2016 student in relation to the food of the course

For more information on food options please contact Philippa. philippa @ or 0505 42683


The website will help you get there. Situated 143km from Dublin (Cork 156km, Limerick 57km) Cloughjordan is just off the M7 motorway and easily accessible from all parts of Ireland by bus, car, or train. Cloughjordan has its own train station . J.J. Kavanagh‘s buses serve the nearby town of Nenagh or Roscrea from where we can collect you. For those coming via Dublin Airport, there are 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 we host guest teachers on our courses. See above for guest tutors.

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.

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.

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

“A thorough grounding in systems design for resilient living in a volatile world. A jumping-off point for those who are looking for change” – Isabelle O’Kane, 2016

“It’s more than just a course; it is a life-changing/ shaping experience” – Zsolt Bohar, a 2016 student designing a family permaculture smallholding.

“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