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Kildalton 50th Anniversary Open Day launched

Kildalton 50th Anniversary Open Day launched

Kildalton College in South Kilkenny will hold a major open day on Saturday, 25th of June this year kindly supported by FBD. Martin Heydon TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine recently launched the open day in Kildalton and reviewed the plans for the event.

Saturday, 25th June 2022  |  11am - 4pm

An Open Day of the College and its enterprises celebrating 50 years of land based education.

Kildalton College today

The College today is a modern facility providing, courses in Agriculture, Horticulture and Equine Studies. It has evolved and developed over the past 50 years, and visitors to the open day this summer will have the opportunity to travel through time in the decade rooms. Different rooms, representing each of the past five decades will display photos and articles from the college campus and enterprises showing how they have developed in the intervening period.

As a former student of Kildalton College, Minister Heydon is well placed to reflect on the changes that have taken place over the years.  Minister Heydon said; “People often speak about a transition that agriculture and farming must make as if it is something that will happen in a distant future. However, the farming, horticulture and equine sectors are constantly evolving. The College here in Kildalton has adapted to these changes to ensure its courses are relevant to the new era, and equip current students, and the farmers of the future, with the knowledge and skill sets to prosper in the future. I wish Teagasc and Kildalton College continued success as they mark their 50 year contribution to Irish agricultural education.”

Teagasc Director, Professor Frank O Mara, said; “We are delighted to be joined today by some of our partners, who have worked with Teagasc over the years as we developed our education offering. The career options open to students who pass through the college today are radically different to those faced by the first students who entered Kildalton 50 years ago, and they have the opportunity to progress, achieve higher qualifications, and embrace the multiple opportunities for lifelong learning offered by Teagasc and its partners. The challenges facing those students are different, but equally exciting. I look forward to meeting some of the generations of students and their families that have studied at the college at our open day on 25th June.”

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.”

Dr Anne Marie Butler, Head of Education in Teagasc said; “The delivery of education has changed dramatically over the last 50 years. Our course offerings are continuously evolving. Our teachers are successfully combining increased digital delivery with the traditional, practical, hands on training. Earlier this year, Teagasc commenced a review of the Practical Learning Period, which involved discussions with students, host farmers, Teagasc staff and stakeholders. That review is near completion, and the adjustments to the PLP programme are being communicated to students and host farmers. Teagasc appreciates the contribution of our host farmers in delivering the PLP component of our programmes, and I want to reinforce our appreciation of all our host farmers who accommodate students on their farms and within their households.”

All Welcome to College Open Day

Tim Ashmore, Principal of Kildalton College invited all farmers and their families to visit Kildalton on 25 June, and see the modern educational facilities and substantial agricultural, horticultural and equine enterprises on the campus. He said; “The 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 25 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.”

The Open Day on 25th June is kindly supported by FBD, and will run from 11am to 4pm, to bring together students and staff, both past and present, to reflect on the changes and celebrate the achievements. 

A History of Kildalton College

Bessborough House / Kildalton College has had a long and interesting history

Originally, the area was known as Kilmodalla in the 13th century. It became the property of a Norman family who called it Cill Datuin (later known as Kildalton). Sir John Ponsonby who was a Colonel in Cromwell’s army was awarded a house and lands on the site. The house stayed in the Ponsonby family for many generations eventually becoming known as Bessborough House. 

The family sold the estate in 1940 to The Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) as a seminary and the house became known as Our Lady’s Scholasticate, Kildalton Abbey. As numbers entering the priesthood declined, the Oblates closed its order here and moved back to Inchicore in Dublin. They sold the house and lands in 1971 to the Department of Agriculture as a training facility for young farmers. Kildalton College celebrated 50 years of land based training in 2021.

Read A history of Kildalton College

For more information and to read all about the Open Day attractions visit: www.teagasc.ie/kildalton50

You might also like to read Kildalton 50 - A Celebration of 50 years in Land Based Education