The Rural Science Association (RSA) are hosting a Fieldtrip to Munster on Saturday 7th May 2011

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Paddy Fitzpatrick
Joined: 2009-04-05

Rural Science Association Fieldtrip Kilmallock 7th May 2011


8:45am Registration & Welcome

10:00am Projects Visit Kilmallock
Kilmallock Network
Kilmallock Partnership
Friars Gate Theatre

12:30pm Networking Lunch Deebert Hotel

2:00pm Depart to Ardpatraick
Tidy Towns Initiative
Festivals & Events Initiatives
Mountain Biking Trials

7:00pm Dinner


€37.50 per person sharing Bed & Breakfast; Single room Supplement €15
€60.00 Dinner; Bed & Breakfast
€14.95 2 Course Lunch including Tea & Coffee

Booking: Margaret Atalla, Deebert House Hotel, Kilmallock, Co. Limerick.
Telephone 063 / 31200 Fax 063 / 31212

To confirm your attendance to the Rural Science Association
Email before Thursday 5th May 2011

Joined: 2009-04-20
2011 Field Trip

As a Northerner I was mightily impressed by the organization and accommodation booked for this most illuminating fieldtrip. The Deebert Hotel looked after us with real care and attention and the food was excellent. As for the visits -wow! Kilmallock could teach us a lot about social enterprise and community innovation while the Biking Centre set up in Ardpatrick was awesome. The trip demostrated how resiilient communities can work together to bring about positive and long term benefits for everyone. Well done to all who organized especially Paddy!

Dermot Leavy
Joined: 2009-04-05
Southern Field Trip

Members of the Rural Science Association had a very successful and enjoyable study visit to the Ballyhoura Area on the 7th May2011. Many thanks is due to Camel Fox CEO Ballyhoura Development Ltd and staff members, also to Margaret Atalla owner Deebert House Hotel who made our visit so welcome.

Some of the highlights

Kilmallock Family Support Network

Eileen O’Keeffe Community Development Officer Ballyhoura Development Ltd accompanied the group in visiting the projects.
The Kilmallock Family Support network was established in 2008 and is led by Ballyhoura Development and the HSE. The network consists of agencies and community groups working in the Kilmallock area. The Network includes but is not limited to Ballyhoura Development Ltd, the HSE, Foroige, Limerick Youth Service, Secondary and Primary schools, Community Childcare Providers, County Limerick Childcare Committee, Limerick Social Services, County Limerick VEC, Limerick County Council, The Gardai, Department of Social Protection and local Community Groups.

The role of the network is to identify needs and to work together to meet these needs. Since its formation the network has published and distributed a community directory, organised family activities, and activities for children, personal development and capacity building programmes and estate management projects.
In 2010 Ballyhoura Development employed a Network Support worker who supports the work of the network. This position was funded by the HSE.

Kilmallock Partnership

John Webb O’Rourke a member of the partnership spoke to the group about its background and how it had progressed to date. Kilmallock Partnership was established nine years ago to promote enterprise and development in Kilmallock. It was the local business and community response to help attract additional industry and to grow existing employment in the area. The Partnership includes Kilmallock Traders Ltd, Shannon Development, Limerick County Council, Ballyhoura Development Ltd, Limerick County Enterprise Board, Enterprise Ireland, FAS, OPW, VEC, Enterprise Ireland, Kilmallock Tourism Ltd to mention but a few of the fifteen members.

The group visited the Friars Gate Theatre and met with its manager Caoimhe Reidy. The Friars Gate Theatre is a social economy project which organises the programme of events including innovative productions training and community enterprises.
Also there was a visit to Foroige Youth Café and offices, the Kilmallock Playground and Business Park

Ballyhoura Rural Arts Network

The network is newly established in 2011 and is facilitated by Conor O’ Leary of Artlands whose previous networks included the Westmeath Rural Arts Network and the South Tipperary Rural Arts network. The main emphasis of the network is to promote and host arts events in rural communities. The visiting group was present for the Arts 4 All event in Kilfinane one of the first events run in the Ballyhoura area by the network.

Tidy Towns Initiative

Amanda Slattery Tourism & Heritage Officer, Ballyhoura Development Ltd took the group on a tour of Ardpatrick a small rural community village with a great record of achievement in Tidy Towns in Limerick. There are 32 communities in the Ballyhoura area involved in the National Tidy Towns Competition. The initiative has over the last number of years helped to enhance communities participating and encourage new communities to participate in the national competition. A number of projects are held on an annual basis to support the network including workshops, lectures, study visits and the annual Ballyhoura Country Tidy Towns Awards which in 2011 will be in its 21st year, held in June annually.

Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Trails

Amanda and Eileen then took the group to the Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Trails. The trails are the largest of their kind in the Republic of Ireland. Consisting of 98km of marked bike tracks through the Ballyhoura Mountains including forest road climbs, tight twisty single track with loads of ups and downs, board walk, tight turns and technical rocky bits, the trails range from the moderate 6 km Greenwood loop to the demanding Castlepook loop, over 50 km in length. The development of the trails was a partnership approach by Coillte, Ballyhoura development Ltd, Cork and Limerick County Councils, Shannon Development and Failte Ireland.

New Revised BSc Degree

Back to Deebert House Hotel Kilmallock where Dr Mary O’Shaughnessy made a presentation to the group on the proposed New Revised BSc Degree programme to replace the current programme in September 2012. There was a great feedback from the Rural Science Association members present and a very valuable discussion took place. All present were in favour of the changes proposed.

The cooperation of universities , department officials, Leader Companies and the Rural Science Association all working together to ensure the delivery of the new revised BSc programme that will impact positively on the future of Rural Ireland.

Dermot Leavy