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Warrenstown Horticultural College to Close

23 October 2008

The Salesian College of Horticulture in Warrenstown, County Meath, is to close at the end of the current academic year in summer 2009. The Board of Management of the College informed college staff of the decision at a meeting yesterday afternoon, Wednesday, 22 October.

The decision to close the college was taken following lengthy discussion and consultation between the Trustees and Teagasc. Recognising that Teagasc policy is to concentrate future capital investments in fewer colleges, and that the College Trustees themselves are in no position to provide the enormous capital investment and on-going maintenance needed to run Warrenstown as a private enterprise, the College Trustees were led to the decision to close the College.

Horticultural courses currently on offer in Warrenstown will be amalgamated with the courses offered by Teagasc at the dual campus at the College of Amenity Horticulture, National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, Dublin and at Teagasc Kinsealy.

Teagasc will take responsibility for the staff and students from Warrenstown. Students will be able to continue to receive the high level of education they currently receive under the new arrangements. Teagasc will be investing €2.5 million in new classrooms and new facilities to create a larger state of the art college at the National Botanic Gardens to accommodate students from the start of the next academic year. This should ensure the minimum disruption to the education of the 118 full time and 116 part time students currently located at Warrenstown.

Both colleges Warrenstown and the National Botanic Gardens currently offer courses in conjunction with the Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown, so students relocating, will be able to continue with their higher level courses.

Director of Education and Training in Teagasc, Donal Carey paid tribute to the lasting educational legacy that the Salesian order and the staff at Warrenstown College have left, not just in the horticulture sector, but also in the agriculture sector and in wider rural Ireland. Since 1923 the Salesian order has been providing land based education at Warrenstown, from which generations of students have benefited enormously.

A little history

The Salesians of Don Bosco came to Warrenstown in 1922 and opened an Agricultural College in 1923. In 1958 a new site beside the old College was developed and the present building erected.

From the late 1950s, students of horticulture began attending Warrenstown and in 1968 a two-year course in commercial horticulture was established at the request of the Department of Agriculture. The Horticultural College established a fine reputation and in 2001, adapted to new conditions and concentrated on amenity horticulture.

With the changing fortunes in agricultural training, the Agricultural College was closed in 2001 and the land associated with it was eventually sold earlier this year (2008). With the close of the Horticultural College in the summer of 2009, an 86-year span of agricultural and horticultural education by the Salesians of Don Bosco on behalf of young Irish farmers and horticulturalists comes to an end.

For further information, contact:

FR Tony McEvoy SDB,
Salesian College of Horticulture, Warrensotwn.
01 6275060 or 01 6286111