Speakers Timetable:

  • 13:00 each day  Paul Price, Woodwright  will present in Great Hall "Oak to Last a Thousand Years: Oak frame carpentry and timberwork at Claregalway Castle". (Limited to 40)


  11:45 Prof. Alan Foster: Vision 2020 and CBM introduced  by Eamonn O'Donoghue
  12:15 Niall McCoitir, introduced by Dr. Anna Jeffrey-Gibson, Kinvara Sustainable Living will speak on 'The Folklore of Irish Trees'.
  13:00 Music in Courtyard :St. Patricks Brass Band, Galway
  14:00 Gordon D’Arcy ‘Drawing Garden Birds for children - of all ages. In Mill Theatre. Please bring pencils and paper
  14:15 Dr. John Feehan ‘The Once and Future Forest - Reflections on woodland in Ireland from the first forests of the geological past to the unseen forests of the future' introduced by Conor Newman, Chairman of Heritage Council
  15:15 Thomas Pakenham:‘Remarkable Trees’ introduced by Ronnie O’Gorman, Journalist, Chairman Advertiser Newspaper Group, Promoter of proposed Gregory Centre, Coole Park.
  16:30 Dr. Matthew Jebb introduced by Dr. Cillian Roden.

Please Note: Admission to formal presentations is limited to 150 persons on a 'first come' basis. Entry to talks is €5 per day.




Dr. Anna Jeffrey-Gibson: ‘Garden Trees For Food’  introduced by Malcolm Goodbody, Photographer, Conservator, Ecologist.
Music in Courtyard: Moya Brennan, Lead Singer of Clannad and CBM ambassador.
  14:15 Prof. William Smyth ‘The Greening of Ireland: Tree Planting by Irish Tenant Farmers 1730-1900’ introduced by Dr. Pat Wallace, Director, National Museum of Ireland
Prof. Oliver Rackham: ‘Irish Trees and Woods: History and Ecology’ with intro by Dr. Micheline Sheehy-Skeffington, Dept of Botany, NUI Galway.
Please Note: Admission to formal presentations is limited to 150 persons on a 'first come' basis. Entry to talks is €5 per day.

Mr. Gordon D'Arcy, Naturalist, Hatural Heritage Expert and Author.

  • Gordon is a leading expert in Irish heritage with an MSc in Environmental Science from Trinity College Dublin. He has a particular interest in the Burren, which he has researched extensively for many years and he is an authority who is regularly consulted and who leads field trips for students and visiting scholars.

    He has published many books and papers on wildlife including "The Natural History of the Burren", while his book "Guide to the Birds of Ireland" (1981) was the first book on its subject . His most recent book is "Ireland's Lost Birds" (2003).

Dr. John Feehan:

Dr. John Feehan is Senior Lecturer in The School of Agriculture, Food Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin. He has written extensively on Ireland’s environmental history and heritage.He is author of numerous books including: ‘The Landscape of Slieve Bloom: A Study of Its Natural and Human History’, ‘Laois: An Environmental History’, ‘Climate Variation and Climate Change in Ireland’, ‘My Village, My World’, ‘The Bogs of Ireland: An Introduction to the Natural, Cultural and Industrial Heritage of Ireland’s Peatlands’.

His book ‘Farming in Ireland: History, Heritage and Environment’ was published to great acclaim. Dr. Feehan has also co authored many books including ‘The Magic of Coole’ and ‘Wildflowers of Offaly’ which was written with Grace O’ Donovan. He is the recipient of many awards for environmental work and for Television work.

Dr. Matthew Jebb:

Dr. Matthew Jebb is Director of the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland and has been Keeper of the Herbarium and Taxonomist of the Gardens since 1998. He gained his primary degree at Oxford University, where he also did his Ph.D. He was Director of the Christiansen Research Institute, Papua, New Guinea from 1987-1993. He was a post-doctoral researcher at Trinity College, Dublin.

In 2005, he was nominated by Ireland as the European vice-president on the bureau of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Convention is one of the United Nations Environmental Program's most significant bodies for the conservation of nature at a global scale. He is currently Chairman of Planetnetwork, the Plant Collections Network of Britain and Ireland. He is also Chair of the Praeger Committee of the Royal Irish Academy.

Dr. Anna Jeffrey-Gibson:

Comming from a long line of botanists and gardeners Anna was brought up in Dublin. She graduated from T.C.D. with a science degree before moving to Galway in 1987 to persue a PhD in Geology. Always interested in plants – especially eadable ones – foraging for wild food and growing fruit and veg has always been an essential passion. Married to Ivan and living and farming in Kinvara Co. Galway life revolves around helping Ivan to build a house, farm an Aberdeen Angus suckler herd, establish a garden and orchard, keep chickens, ducks, donkeys, ponies, dogs and cats and teach part-time - ecology and geography to school students and as a tutor with Kinvara Sustainable Living. She is also a very keen cook and general foodie specialising in local and seasonal food, especially home grown or foraged produce.

Kinvara Sustainable Living was founded jointly by Anna and Lynn O’Keeffe-Lascar with the mission statement ‘to encourage small scale food production’ – as a horticultural outreach, based in Kinvara they run winter and spring evening courses in fruit and veg growing and day and weekend classes on diverse aspects of small scale food production – www.kinvarasustainableliving.com.

Niall Mac Coitir

Niall Mac Coitir grew up in Dublin in a bilingual environment with a love of Irish culture, history and nature. He has read widely on these subjects and began writing about the folklore of Irish nature and wildlife.  Since graduating from University College Dublin, he has worked in Fingal County Council. His published books include Irish Trees: Myths, Legends and Folklore, (2003); Irish Wild Plants: Myths, Legends and Folklore, (2006); and Ireland’s Animals: Myths, Legends and Folklore, (2010), all by Collins Press.

Mr. Paul Price:

Paul Price made the oak roof and screen of the Great Hall and Middle Chamber at Claregalway Castle. He has solo carpentered many new jointed and pegged frames  Irish oak for new houses and gardens as well as roofs and other works for four  castles in Ireland and he has done conservation repairs to many historic buildings (cathedrals, barns, churches, and houses).  He worked in England and Scotland, as lead carpenter on many projects including a house featured on Channel 4’s ‘Grand Designs’, and the oak screen at Stirling Castle in Scotland.

His international traditional framing projects include: the Covered Bridge, Guelph, Ontario, the Trebuchets at Loch Ness and  medieval loft and log buildings in Norway.  He has taught traditional carpentry - building frames with no power tools.He also contributes to the North American and UK traditional timber framing journals. He co-founded  "The Mortice and Tenon", the UK journal of traditional timberwork and lectures on historic timber building conservation and repair, as part of the Applied Building Repair and Conservation Masters Course at  Trinity College, Dublin.

Prof. Oliver Rackham OBE:

Prof. Oliver Rackham OBE is a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge. He is the Keeper of the College Silver. In 1998, Prof. Rackham was awarded an OBE " for services to Nature Conservation" and in 2001, he was awarded the Peter Scott Memorial Medal. He was appointed the Honorary Professor of Historical Ecology in the Department of Plant Sciences, in the University of Cambridge.

He is an acknowledged authority on the countryside of Britain, especially on trees, on woodlands, and on wood pasture. He has also published extensively on the ecology of Crete and Greece. He is the author of numerous books among which, are: 'Trees and Woodlands in the British Countryside', 1976, 'History of the Countryside: the full, fascinating history of Britain's Landscape', 1986, 'Trees and Woodland in the British Landscape', 2001, 'The Illustrated History of the Countryside', 2001 and 'Woodlands', 2006.

Dr. Cilliian Roden,  Botanist and Ecologist.

Dr Cillian Roden is a local botanist who has written many journal articles on the flora of the Burren.  He has a diversity of interest and research experience of many areas of ecology.

Thomas Pakenham:

Thomas Pakenham is a graduate of Magdalen College, Oxford University. He is an Irish historian and arborist and has written several prize-winning  books on diverse subjects of Victorian and Post-Victorian British history, on Irish history, on African history and on Trees.

He is author of the acclaimed book 'The Scramble for Africa' and also of 'The Mountains of Rasselas: Ethiopian Adventure', The Year of Liberty: The History of the Great Irish Rebellion of 1798, 'The Boer War', 'Meetings With Remarkable Trees', 'Remarkable Trees of the World' and of 'The Remarkable Baobab'.

He is Chairman of The Irish Tree Society.

Prof. William Smyth:

"William J Smyth is Professor Emeritus  of Geography at University College Cork, where he held the Chair of Geography since 1977 . He has lectured at many universities, including Syracuse University, N.Y., California State at san Fernando, Los Angeles and University College Dublin . He was elected a member of The Royal Irish Academy in 1999.

A former editor of Irish Geography and co-editor of Common Ground: Essays on the Historical Geography pf Ireland (1988), he has published widely on Ireland's social and cultural geography and he wrote a new introduction to the second edition of Pender's A Census of Ireland circa 1659 (2002).
His prize-winning book ‘Mapmaking, Landscape and Memory: A Geography of Colonial and Early Modern Ireland c. 1530-1750' was published in 2006.
He is currently co-editing the major study ‘Atlas of the Irish Famine’ with John Crowley and Mike Murphy, Department of Geography, UCC. It will be published in 2012 on National Famine Commemoration Day.


Crennelated lookout post - restorec.


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