Address: Irish Seed Savers Association, Capparoe, Scarriff, Co. Clare, Ireland   Phone: +353 61 921866   Email:

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Irish Seed Savers scoop top honours at Heritage Awards

The Heritage Council were delighted to declare Irish Seed Savers’ event ‘The Great Irish Garden’ as the overall winner for ‘Hidden Heritage’ as part of the Heritage Awards 2017. The winners were announced at an awards ceremony in Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile Museum on April 12th. There were 122 entries for the Awards and 170 nominations for the Heritage Hero award.

A panel of judges then selected 13 events that came from eight counties from Donegal to Kerry. Co. Clare came out on top with three nominations. Irish Seed Savers was the overall winner in the category of Hidden Heritage with Ennis Tidy Towns taking runner up for their Laneways & Bow-ways of Ennis walk led by local historian Larry Brennan.

‘These awards showcase the best of National Heritage Week and recognising the fantastic work of all the heritage enthusiasts who take part. The Hidden Heritage Award shines a light on Ireland’s hidden heritage and was open to event organisers who successfully explored lesser known aspects of Ireland’s heritage during Heritage Week.’ Helene O’Keeffe – Head of Education & Communications for the Heritage Council.

The Great Irish Garden organised by Irish Seed Savers in Co. Clare highlighted the amazing diversity and heritage of Ireland’s food crops. Due to industrial farming it’s estimated that over 75% of crop varieties have been lost in the last 100 years. With guest speakers RTE presenter and environmentalist Duncan Stewart, Brown Envelope Seeds founder Madeline McKeever and renowned Organic Gardening guru Jim Cronin, a series of talks, tours and demonstrations took place on the day to showcase the vital conservation work Irish Seed Savers undertake.

PHOTO: Michael Starrett, Chief Executive of the Heritage Council with Barry Foley and Tansy Watson, winners of the Hidden Heritage Award and Michael Parsons, Chairperson of the Heritage Council. Photo Credit Dylan Vaughan Photography.

Speaking at the event, Barry Foley and Tansy Watson, were ‘proud and humbled’ on receiving the award.

“It’s great to receive this type of national recognition, not only for our conservation work, but for sharing this work, our knowledge and these rare crops with local communities throughout Ireland. We run a number of events throughout the year, our next being our Annual Plant Share 27th May, but our Great Irish Garden event, as part of National Heritage Week is by far our biggest event of the year. It’s thanks to our dedicated team, volunteers, the local communities in Co Clare and to all our supporters that make this event such a success” Barry Foley – Marketing & Development for Irish Seed Savers.

“In recent years The Great Irish Garden event has become a highlight in Heritage Week and it continues to grow year on year. With patrons like Duncan Stewart and Darina Allen spreading our message, the public are becoming more informed about the issues of biodiversity, Seed Sovereignty, organic growing and are now seeing Irish Seed Savers as a leading voice”Tansy Watson – Marketing & Development for Irish Seed Savers.

The Great Irish Garden 2018 will be help at Irish Seed Savers, Scariff, Co. Clare Sunday 26th August.


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