In the 1990’s a small group of Dominican Sisters set about establishing an ecological project in Wicklow. The Dominicans owned 70 acres of land located on a hillside overlooking the Irish Sea which had been rented out to farmers for many years. In 1998 they decided to reclaim the land and use it for an organic farm. This required several years of intensive labour in order to get back the fertility of the soil and become certified as organic. They consulted the local community who contributed their expertise in farming, forestry and other local knowledge. Research was done on other similar projects in England and the United States. Today, the community’s goal of providing a model of sustainability is realised by a farm which produces an abundance of organic vegetables as well as organic beef and pork from its livestock, a wildlife conservation area and an ecological education centre.
The name – An Tairseach
An Tairseach means ‘Threshold’ in Irish and was chosen as a reflection of being ‘in-between’ understandings of our place in the world. As a human race, we had come to believe that the planet belonged to us. At An Tairseach, through our retreats and courses, we seek to convey a sense of the vastness of the time it took the Universe to create first the stars, then the planets including planet earth, and finally, to burst forth into life itself. In contrast, we also invite people to enter into the inner world which is as mysterious and deep as the outer world is astonishing. An Tairseach’s tranquil and organic environment and teaching provides an opportunity to reflect on the interconnectedness of all creation and our place within this.
Who we are
An Tairseach is a registered charity overseen by a Board of Trustees. The Dominican Sisters who form this Board are a living presence and are actively involved in supporting the programmes, retreats and care of the land. The Board of Directors is a voluntary board and is comprised of local community and business representatives. The Dominican community of women religious continues their commitment through their support and presence to the programmes, retreats and care of the land.
The Mission of An Tairseach is to raise awareness of the place of the human as part of the web of life, through practice and education.
An Tairseach is a community which values:
- Truth and fairness in its relationships.
- Respect for the whole community of life.
- Graciousness to all who come.
- Beauty in all its dimensions.
- To improve the long term ecological health of the farm.
- To manage the farm and Centre towards economic, social and environmental sustainability.
- To create awareness of good ecological practice for all those who come into contact with the farm and the Centre.
- To explore spirituality in the context of an evolving universe, an endangered earth in the Christian tradition.