Teagasc’s Kildalton College in south Co Kilkenny will host an open day on Saturday, 25 June 2022, to mark its 50th anniversary.

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Martin Heydon joined Teagasc officials, staff and students at the college to officially launch the open day plans, sponsored by FBD, on Wednesday.

Bessborough House, the 18th century house at Kildalton, was sold to the Department of Agriculture in 1971 and was opened in 1980 as Kildalton Agricultural College.

Five decades

As part of the 50th anniversary event, which will run from 11am to 4pm, 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.

Kildalton College principal Tim Ashmore is inviting all farmers and their families to visit the college on 25 June to 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.”

‘Modern facility’

Teagasc says that today, Kildalton College is a modern facility which provides courses in agriculture, horticulture and equine studies.

Launching the anniversary plans, Minister Heydon, who is a former student of Kildalton College 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.”

Teagasc director professor Frank O’Mara said that the career options open to students who pass through Kildalton today are radically different to those faced by the first students who entered the college 50 years ago.

He said these students have the “opportunity to progress, achieve higher qualifications and embrace the multiple opportunities for lifelong learning offered by Teagasc and its partners”.

‘Continuously evolving’

Adding to O’Mara’s remarks, Teagasc head of education Dr Anne Marie Butler 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.”

FBD trust chair Michael Berkery said the farm insurer is “very proud to support Kildalton and the great work that they do for their students”.

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