Monastic Ireland – A Gift of the Nile

Alf Monaghan will be back with us for a follow-up talk on the 1st of December, 10am-2.30pm.

Alf’s illustrated talk looks at the history of early Irish Christianity from a different perspective – a Mediterranean perspective. It provides a tantalizing glimpse under the veil of history. It asks many questions and confounds some of the accepted theories about the history of early Christianity in Ireland. It traces links with ancient Egypt, connects Irish monasticism with the Desert Fathers and the early Irish Church with the Egyptian Coptic Church. Recent Irish discoveries such as the Faddan More Psalter – Egyptian papyrus found in an ancient book of psalms from a Tipperary bog – are clues pointing to a more substantial Eastern Mediterranean influence in early Irish Christianity, than has been acknowledged to date

Booking, before Thursday 29 November, at 087 2845443 or angairdin1’at’

Download the event flyer: MonasticIrelandPoster

About Alf Monaghan

Alf, from Carrick-on-Shannon, has spent most of his life abroad.

He has worked as an Economic Adviser to governments and development agencies in Northern Europe, Central America, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, South & West Africa.

His years in Syria,Turkey, Lebanon, Cyprus, Jordan & Egypt, triggered a deeper interest in the origins of belief and religion.


A Sacred Island Before Christianity – Alf Monaghan

  • Saturday, November 3rd, 10am – 2.30pm,
  • €10 (includes light lunch)
  • To book, contact angairdin1’at’ or 087 284 5443   (Before 31 October).

The impression that Ireland was a remote, isolated place in antiquity is outdated. Latest evidence suggests it was part of an active trade network along Atlantic-Mediterranean seaways. During the Neolithic and Bronze ages, the sea was a corridor for trade, communication, ideas  and beliefs – easier, faster & more economical than overland routes.

In reality this made ancient Ireland ‘central & accessible’ – its west coast & islands part of a continuous maritime corridor, from the Mediterranean to Scandinavia. Seagoing Irish had intense cultural affinity and contact with other communities along this long seaboard. The result was shared maritime heritage, language, &religious beliefs.

Against this backdrop, Alf Monaghan traces the origin and spread of Pre-Christian eastern religious beliefs to Ireland, and their impact here. In this context too, the influence of Egyptian Christianity on the early Irish Church is easily understood.

Download flyer: Flyer – A Sacred Island – before Chtristianity (5 Sept. ’18) (1)

About Alf Monaghan

Alf, from Carrick-on-Shannon, has spent most of his life abroad.

He has worked as an Economic Adviser to governments and development agencies in Northern Europe, Central America, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, South & West Africa.

His years in Syria,Turkey, Lebanon, Cyprus, Jordan & Egypt, triggered a deeper interest in the origins of belief and religion.




Organic Gardening Course – An Gáirdín, October 2018

Choosing and Preparing Your Site for a Vegetable Garden in 2019

With Jim Cronin

October 13 and October 20, 10am – 1pm, at An Gáirdín, Portumna

Organic growing can produce awesome harvests from the home-scale up, and does so in tune with nature.

If you’re thinking about having a garden next year, now is the time to start your preparation. Jim is one of the country’s most well-known and respected organic growers, and we’re delighted to have him back at An Gáirdín for these two sessions in October.

The sessions will cover:

  • Soil
  • Fertility
  • Weed control
  • Reading your garden
  • … and much more

“Organic gardening is magical…. come along and see how to make it work in a practical way”

Cost: €30

Booking: or 087 284 5443

(Book before October 9 only)

Open Day at Jim Cronin’s Farm in Bridgetown

Last April, we were delighted to have Jim Cronin here at An Gáirdín for a very interesting and enjoyable talk and discussion about different aspects of organic growing.

This post is to let you know that on this coming bank holiday Monday, August 6th, Jim is hosting an open day at his farm in Bridgetown and all are welcome.

The day has two parts:

  • Field scale vegetables and workhorse demonstration from 12-1 at Gortmagee, Garraunboy. This will be signposted from Killaloe. (@52.80858090,-8.4718760)
  • The open home garden is from 2-5 at Ballyknavin, Bridgetown, Killaloe (V94 EH50). The venue is signposted from Bridgetown village.



Learn Permaculture in the Permagarden – May 14

On Monday the 14th, we are delighted to host a practical day-long course with Istvan to look at how permaculture principles and  practices can help in overcoming a wet garden.
With a landscaping practice based on the natural patterns of water flows, Istvan will focus our interest on structures such as swales and raised beds and show how transforming the very
structure of the land allows us to take advantage of the abundance of water to serve the
purpose of bringing more fertility to the garden.

A full description of the day here, and more about Permaculture Resource Ireland here.

Booking: Contact or call 087 2845443.

Istvan Markuly –  Lead Facilitator Local community developer who is working on establishing and growing the permaculture network in West Cork, Ireland and initiating Permaculture Waves across the country! He has taken PDC’s and Permaculture workshop internationally and continues to grow his knowledge. He’s co founder of Earth Environmental Education. He provides easy understanding through the principles of permaculture which might make people feel motivated, zestful and dynamic.



Food – Production, Consumption, Climate

On the morning of 28 April, we will be hosting a three-tiered look at our food choices in the context of climate change.

During the morning, we’ll take a look at organic production in Ireland and whether there is room for improvement in methods employed there, along with the many pros.

Alongside that, we’ll take a broader look at how agriculture is both a victim of climate change as well as a source of greenhouse gases and biodiversity loss globally.

Finally, we’ll hear the experiences of a chef working to produce food with locally sourced ingredients and enjoy a lunch prepared with local ingredients on the day.

More information shortly.

All welcome. To book, contact or call 087 2845443.


Climate Change Talk – Loughrea Library

If you missed our recent climate change talk given by John Cleary, you can catch it at Loughrea library on Thursday 22nd March at 7pm:

The presentation looks at the carbon cycle in relation to resource use, bringing examples of how society has shifted to using fossil fuel as its primary energy source over the past centuries.  This has led to the current build up of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. We look briefly at some of the scientific history of climate change, from John Tyndall to the Keeling curve, and take in carbon isotopes, climate models, and the question of attribution along the way. Climate change is considered in the context of the broader ecological crisis currently facing the planet, and the competing demands of economic growth and ecological limits. Finally, it takes a look at the idea of a carbon budget and assesses the state of play 2 years after the historic Paris Agreement.

Discussion and participation welcome.

Admission is free but places are limited. Starts 7 sharp.


Upcoming Workshops on Plastics and Climate Change

We have a couple of workshops in the coming weeks that we hope you may be able to join us for. Follow the links below to more information on each of the talks:

March 5: John Cleary on climate change – how a long history of resource use interacts with natural cycles to affect our climate.

March 10: Dr Anne Marie Mahon (GMIT) on the problem of plastics and microplastics in our environment and how we can take remedial action.



The art and science of pruning fruit trees can be daunting, but needn’t be so. Come along this Saturday (December 2) to learn the dos and don’ts to keep your trees in shape and productive.

Pruning in medieval times.

Led by Conor Griffin, the day will run from 10.30 to 3.30, and the cost is 25 euros.

Booking 0872845443 and



Image source:

Introduction to Permaculture

Image from: – Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 2.5 AU

Saturday 25th November 10am – 4pm

with Istvan Marguly, Permaculture Teacher and Practitioner

This one-day course will give an overview of the basic principles and patterns of Permaculture.  It will show how to ecologically manage a piece of land of any scale – farm/ garden of personal, community or commercial use.  Permaculture design sees how all the elements and features of the piece of land come together to create productive systems that function in harmony with natural patterns and forces. It shows how we can tune into nature and make the most of the natural resources of water, soil and trees.

Cost €50    

Booking 0872845443 and