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Cloughjordan Ecovillage – A model for sustainability and community resilience


Ecovillages are communities formed by members who share a common vision and want to live within a set of lifestyle goals, often focused on sustainability. Founded in 1999, Cloughjordan Ecovillage is the first ecovillage in Ireland with a mission “to serve as an education, enterprise, research and service resource for all”. Residents have developed the village around the principle of shared purpose and shared responsibilities.  Each step of the project was decided upon as a community, from choosing the location, just outside the town of Cloughjordan, Tipperary, to agreeing upon the Ecological Charter for sustainable housing development. This means that not only are the homes and infrastructure built to be environmentally sustainable but that this was done in a collaborative manner, inclusive of ideas and opinions of all members of the ecovillage.

Aiming to minimise air, water and land pollution, residents want to create a village where people can live and work with minimal environmental impact, in a community that provides not only the material needs for residents but also cultural and artistic needs, impacting all areas of sustainability.

Areas of Impact

  • Carbon Footprint Reduction
  • Social Engagement
  • Land Use, Food and Agriculture
  • Biodiversity and Nature
  • Built Environment
  • Waste


  • Finalist in 2020 Transformative Cities Awards;
  • 17,000 native trees planted;
  • Gold medal in the International Awards of Liveable Communities aka “The Green Oscars”.

Sustainability Initiatives

Community Engagement

The Ecovillage hosts a range of enterprises, aiming to develop as a centre of learning and an economically sustainable community. A full list of enterprises can be seen on their website, but some highlights include the Cloughjordan Community Farm, Cultivate – an NGO working in education for sustainability, WeCreate – a centre offering co-working spaces for local businesses, the Riot Rye bakery and Gaia Ecotecture – an ecological architects.

The ecovillage hopes to develop into a more diverse community over time, with proposals to develop a range of housing options in the coming years including social housing, housing for refugees, housing suitable for people with disabilities and the elderly, and a co-housing project. All adults in the village pledge 100 volunteer hours per year, taking on tasks like pruning the apple trees, further highlighting the community led spirit the ecovillage has created.  


All homes built within the village are done so within an agreed set of standards. The village offers a showcase of natural building techniques including traditional cob houses, straw bale walls or timber frame kit houses. One house even uses recycled newspaper as insulation.  All homes are connected toa district heat system that burns wood waste from a nearby sawmill and provides low-carbon heating.  These measures help the villagers to have an ecological footprint less than half of the national average.

Water and Waste

Villagers are conscious of not wasting resources, aiming for low water use and minimal waste generation. Clusters of houses share bins and natural waste can be composted. Reuse of materials is also wide spread, for example, reused glass bottles were in high demand following the recent apple harvest to store apple juice. One issue the community has encountered in recent years is the inability to expand due to lack of capacity within the local water treatment system. To help address this, the community is planning to develop a reed-bed treatment system to initially treat wastewater from the community before it is sent to the local treatment plant.


The village includes a 17,000 native tree wild woodland, a biodiversity garden, a community supported farm and trees growing 70 varieties of native Irish apples including Golden Spire, Cavan Wine, Red Stripe and Pig Snout. Villagers also have an option for personal allotments for growing their own vegetables.

Outcomes Summary

These sustainability efforts have already resulted in the ecovillage being recognised via a number of awards, including a finalist in the Transformative Cities Awards and a Gold Medal in the International Awards of Liveable Communities. Cloughjordan Ecovillage has also been selected as one of the EU’s Milesecure-2050 projects in recognition of their progress on energy and environmental issues.  


Visit the Ecovillage website for more information or to plan your visit.