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

Meet Our Team

Our Team
Our Team

Jennifer McConnell (General Manager)

Jennifer McConnell
Jennifer McConnell

Jennifer has been with Irish Seed Savers Association as General Manager since February 2017.

With a long-standing career filled with many travels and adventures in HR, Operations, SME supports and Event Management, she also has an academic background in Business, HR, Anthropology, Geography and Development A seasoned traveller, she has lived in Jamaica, Haiti and most recently Papua New Guinea. Jennifer's experience brings support to Irish Seed Savers both in strategic development, HR alignment, networking, relationship building and system strengthening.

Initially coming on board for a 2 year term, she was brought in to strengthen the organisations financial and operational stability after we experienced a turbulent number of years. Jennifer's remit as General Manager is also to develop our strategic sustainability, increasing our relevance in protection of our seed and tree collections as well as contributing to our work with the Department of Agriculture, Irish Environmental Network, and European Seed Projects.

A supporter of Irish Seed Savers for a number of years, prior to joining us Jennifer held senior management roles in development organisations in Papua New Guinea, and HR roles in Jamaica and Haiti. Jennifer's focus has primarily been on team development and operational strengthening, particularly through times of change management for organisations. Her previous roles in Ireland were in entrepreneur development, event management, and public relations.

Jennifer was also voluntary Board Director for Healthy Food for All which was a policy group focusing on addressing food poverty in Ireland.

Jennifer has an academic background in Anthropology, Business, Geography and Development.

With an avid interest in travelling, learning, reading and exploring new opportunities, Jennifer has travelled extensively and is one day hoping to document these adventures.

In an effort to strengthen her support of the work of Irish Seed Savers, since she began with us Jennifer has completed the Charities Institute of Irelands Certificate in Fundraising, and is currently participating in the 2 year QQI Level 5 Organic Horticulture programme in The Organic College in Dromcollagher, Limerick.

Pat O’Mara (Orchard Curator)

Pat O’Mara
Pat O’Mara

Pat grew up on a farm and shop in East Clare where the community continued to live and work closely together. The practise of working in meitheals was still common and this friendly community experience helped instil a deep cultural appreciation in him. After completing his Mathematics degree in University he began as a software engineer. However, after several years he realised that the office environment wasn't for him and tried an alternative career path. Wanting to work with his hands and in nature he began a horticultural qualification.

Once finished, he applied for a role within Irish Seedsavers and started here in 2011. His childhood agriculture knowledge, computing skills and cultural appreciation have proven a strong combination and, over his 8 years here, he has progressed from Orchard Worker to Orchard Curator. He is now one of the key voices for Ireland's fruit heritage.

His key duties include the daily maintenance of the fruit collection, R&D with the fruit collection, the representation and promotion of Irish fruit heritage through presentations, guided tours and events, giving full-day workshops, staff and volunteer management, customer queries and networking. It has been a wonderful opportunity for him to learn about Ireland's food heritage but has deepened his interest and knowledge in Ireland's built, cultural and environmental heritage broadly.

Jason McCormack (Nursery and Orchard Assistant)

Jason McCormack
Jason McCormack

Jason Anthony Aloysius McCormack Born and bred in Bray County Wicklow Spent childhood in mothers flower shop-Golden flowers and worked on and off at Granddads ornamental plant nurseries-Seaview nurseries in Wicklow. Also worked as a gardener at Powerscourt gardens and with Tree safe Ireland. Then drifted from Horticulture to pursue interests in music, folklore, traveling and enjoying the finer things in life. Returned to Horticulture in 2015 after completing the Level 6 Organic Horticulture course at Westport college of further education. Then in 2016 completed the OGI internship at Ballinroan organic farm in County Wicklow and am currently studying the PG/Dip in Organic farming by distance learning at SRUC Aberdeen. Joined the seed savers team in July last year and is very grateful to be working alongside such a skilled, knowledgeable and supportive team. Every day is a chance to learn and its great to really love coming to work. may all be well

Joanne Newton (Seed Co-ordinator)

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Joanne Newton

With a long held passion for organic gardening, and learning the stories of our heritage, Joanne (Jo) has worked with Irish Seed Savers since 2001. Moving to Ireland in 1993, her background was in horticulture, working with the land and connecting communities with the importance of locally grown food. Over the years Jo has mentored and trained growers of all ages throughout Ireland and the UK in understanding the importance of seed in the food cycle. Teaching the basics in growing food to understanding the intricacies of growing seed for saving, sharing and feeding our communities, through her role as curator of Irelands heritage seed collection, Jo is very active in sharing her knowledge and imparting her wisdom to the stories behind our rich cultural heritage and the importance food plays in our cultural identity. Jo leads the team of 4 in seed growing, and curating our heritage seed collection as well as co-ordinating our seed guardian network.

Deirdre Morrissey (Garden Assistant)

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Deirdre Morrissey

After a decade of working internationally in the corporate sector (Vietnam, USA & UK) Deirdre returned to Ireland in 2007 and spent 5 years working in the not-for profit sector in Dublin for Comhlamh (the Irish Association of Development Workers and Volunteers), working in the areas of trade justice, development education and support services for returning volunteers In 2012 Deirdre, her husband and young son moved to East Clare to seek out a more ethical, community based lifestyle and spent 5 years growing vegetables for self-sufficiency and milking goats. She re-trained in Organic Horticulture at Dromcollagher Organic College and joined Irish Seed Savers in 2017 as Seed to Seed Assistant. She and her family share a garden and polytunnel with neighbours and she is a strong advocate of community gardening and gardening for well being.

Felice Rae (Garden Assistant)

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Felice Rae

Felice Rae has been here in Ireland for the past 23 years on the shores of Lough Derg and has been working at the Irish Seed Savers Association since 1999. She loves her job in the gardens propagating the soft fruit and also works with the seeds. Recently she has taken on facilitating the groups from Enable Ireland in our Horticultural Therapy Unit and also enjoys working alongside the new volunteers .

Joe McGrath (Garden Assistant)

Joe McGrath
Joe McGrath

Joe McGrath is a native of Bodyke and has been here with us around 11 years now, he is a handy guy to have in the gardens. His main job is to keep the paths clear and mow around the beds he certainly keeps the gardens looking smart. He also helps Felice in the horticultural therapy tunnel when the Enable Ireland folks come for their visits throughout the year.

Wayne Frankham (Regional Coordinator & Seed Outreach)

Wayne Frankham
Wayne Frankham

Wayne lives up in lovely Leitrim, where he additionally works as a community gardener with Knockvicar Organic Garden. Together with their community group SeedKeep they have been Seed Guardians for Irish Seed Savers ever since our first Seed to Seed Training back in 2012. A graduate of Dromcollogher and SAC Aberdeen, he works part-time for Irish Seed Savers on our Seed Sovereignty Programme with The Gaia Foundation, meeting groups of current and potential seed growers all around the country, and loves encouraging and training others to discover the many benefits of quality seed production (his top tip is to create sociable community seed hubs).

Áine Ni Fhlatharta (Education Coordinator)

Áine Ni Fhlatharta
Áine Ni Fhlatharta

Áine Ni Fhlatharta is from Carraroe, Co. Galway in beautiful Connemara, she is a former student from An T-Ionad Glás Dromcollagher.It was on a visit here as a student she was so inspired by Tommy and Anita's work that she moved to Co.Clare to get involved ,her background is in political and environmental campaigns and has been facilitating ecological workshops for children for over10 years. is our resident Education Coordinator working with the many primary schools in the surrounding area; Children oftern have a visit in thier school and sometimes they manage to get a day out here to see and feel the natural biodiversity of our site. Áine has just begun a new program incorporating the leaving cert students which we are all very pleased about.

Jeanne Mérer (Education Assistant)

Jeanne Mérer
Jeanne Mérer

Jeanne is originally from France but has felt more at home in Ireland since 2000 when she first arrived in Dublin port. With a graphic design degree under her belt, she navigated the visual art and dance scene in Dublin for 9 years. Strange and wonderful circumstances wooed her back to France for a life changing experience on a vineyard. This served as a major eye opener regarding modern agricultural practices, what we eat, how we grow and forage food, how we relate to the earth. On her return to Ireland in 2016, she moved to the Cloughjordan ecovillage in Co. Tipperary and was delighted to join the Irish Seed Savers team as Education Assistant. Coordinating the big workshop weekends here is one of many ways she plays her part in today's environment and an opportunity to support such a beautiful and life sustaining place in Scariff.

Barry Foley (Marketing & Development)

Barry Foley
Barry Foley

Barry is a native of Tipperary Town but is now based in the Burren in Co Clare. Having attained a Masters Degree in Digital Arts from the National College of Art & Design in 2007 he worked as a supervisor for Irelands Eye and Assistant Director at the Limerick City Gallery of Art. Barry began working for Irish Seed Savers in 2014 and his dedication and commitment has made him an integral part of our team

Tansy Watson (Marketing & Development)

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Tansy Watson

Tansy is local to Co. Clare, growing up in Tulla, only down the road from Irish Seed Savers. She is a past pupil of the Raheen Wood Steiner School in east Clare. She graduated with honours from the Limerick School of Art & Design in 2008 and has had a career in Graphic Design since 2009. Tansy began working for Irish Seed Savers in January of 2014 as part of the sales development team and as their in-house designer.

Jamie Durrant (Supporter & Community Engagement Officer)

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Jamie Durrant

Jamie is a Yorkshireman who has been in Ireland over 13 years, living in East Clare for the last ten of those. After finishing his BSc in Zoology he worked as a charity fundraiser for three years before going back to university to take an MSc in Environmental Science. After a year volunteering with Riet Vell, an organic farm and bird reserve on the Ebro Delta in Catalonia he moved to Ireland to be a Tern Warden for BirdWatch Ireland. Over ten years with BirdWatch he worked as a Corncrake fieldworker, a surveyor for the 2007-11 Bird Atlas, Membership Development Officer and Events Officer before joining Seed Savers in February 2018. He is looking forward to getting the local community more deeply involved with Seed Savers and growing the supporter base. If you have any questions about what Seed Savers can do for your local community group he is the man to ask.

Marrianne Cronin (Administration Coordinator)

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Marrianne Cronin

Marrianne is from Cork originally and arrived in Clare with her family in 2000 via London! Joining Seed Savers in June 2011, Marrianne was initially brought on board to administer our Department of Agriculture, Pobal and LEADER grants and has since added a few more strings to her bow. She does a lot of our proof reading and actually knows the difference between eminent and imminent, but don't hold it against her. She is efficacious, indefatigable and always has her brightness setting turned up full! When she is not working, Marrianne likes gardening (organically of course!), knitting, singing and reading and lives in Tuamgraney with her husband and two cats, her children having flown the nest.

Opening Times
Tues - Fri 9.30am - 4.30pm
Sat 12pm - 4.30pm
Closed Sun - Mon
Entrance to Organic Seed Gardens, Orchards and Woodlands is free to children & subscribers.

Irish Seed Savers CLG - Registered Charity Number 20045029, CHY 13989
Certified Organic Number IE-ORG-02 | Licence no. 5629 | Terms and Conditions | Privacy Statement | © 2019

This project is supported by the Department of Rural and Community Development and Pobal through the Community Services Programme.

We confirm that our organisation complies with The Governance Code for the Community, Voluntary and Charitable Sector in Ireland.

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