During 1999, in the Central Hotel in the city centre of Dublin, Sustainable Projects Ireland Ltd pitched their ambitious idea of Ireland’s first ecovillage to the public. The plan was to create a community of dedicated environmentalists; to buy a site together on which they could each build their lives.

What followed for the next two years was an extensive search for a suitable location for an ecovillage.

We chose the 67 acre site just off Cloughjordan town in Tipperary, after looking at many sites.

For the next three years, meetings between the future residents occurred. We used consensus decision-making to ensure each community member had their say in the development plan.

In 2005, after the money had been raised and planning permission had been obtained, the site of the now present Cloughjordan Ecovillage was purchased. Over the next few years, we built the infrastructure that would allow a functioning ecovillage to flourish.

Unfortunately, the economic crash of 2008 had an adverse effect on the ecovillage, as it did around the world, which forced 50% of those who had invested into the purchase to pull out of the project. However, those that could stayed on and in 2009 the very first residents of Ireland’s first ecovillage moved into their homes.

The village began to rapidly develop, and by 2012 the village had fibre optic broadband cables installed, a 500m2 solar panel array, an eco-hostel, an eco-enterprise centre, and 50 homes built or under construction. With all these new developments, the idea of an eco-village was finally becoming a reality and the community has been collaborating, thriving, and growing ever since.

Our Achievements

Cloughjordan ecovillage has become a model for environmental sustainability and community resilience. This has been acknowledged around the world and the ecovillage has achieved a number of awards and achievements that demonstrate our determination and internal diversity. Some of our proudest are:

Our Process and Principles

" To serve as an education, enterprise and research service resource for all "

- Mission statement of Cloughjordan Ecovillage residents

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Process Principles

Members of Cloughjordan ecovillage adopted the idea of shared purposes and principles and shared out responsibilities. By creating a process of mutual agreement, Cloughjordan Ecovillage represents a shift towards the new paradigm of self-organizing adaptive systems.

Every member of Sustainable Projects Limited has had their say in the development of Cloughjordan Ecovillage. Each step of the project was decided upon as a community, from choosing the location of Cloughjordan to agreeing upon the Ecological Charter for sustainable housing development.

This means that not only are the homes and infrastructure of the ecovillage built to be environmentally sustainable but that this was done in a collaborative and co-creative manner that was inclusive of the ideas and opinions of all members of the ecovillage.

Our Consensus Decision-making Model:

As a community we aim to share out the rights and responsibilities of making our project work successfully. Organised according to the Viable Systems Model (VSM), we are structured non-hierarchically so that all members can have an equal say in decision-making. VSM creates an adaptive and resilient social dynamic that preserves the autonomy of members and working groups within a structure of support and accountability.

All members of Cloughjordan Ecovillage use the process of consensus decision making to arrive at decisions. Instead of simply voting for an item, consensus decision making ensures that everyone’s opinions, ideas and reservations are taken into account. But consensus is more than just a compromise. It is a process that can result in surprising and creative solutions, and is committed to finding solutions that everyone can live with.

In the media

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Nov 12, 2021

Communities are already striving to be climate problem-solvers

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Mar 25, 2021

Debt, planning battles, and a mountain of volunteer work: The true cost of running an ecovillage

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Mar 05, 2021

Ireland’s Greenest Community: Cloughjordan Ecovillage

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