Common Knowledge, a non-profit social enterprise group based in Ballyea, Co Clare, has announced the launch of its new courses for 2023.

For those seeking hands-on experience in building, making, growing and mending, these courses offer a new kind of place for learning.

With a variety of courses on offer, you can choose a specific area in which to expand your skills and knowledge; all varying in length and price.

Taking place from 14 April, some of the courses available include building fundamentals, introduction to furniture design, DIY and repair at home and organic growing at home.


Common Knowledge is a social enterprise for sustainable living and was founded in 2021.

One of the co-founders is Harrison Gardener, an Australian eco-builder and sustainability designer living in Clare.

He has 15 years of experience designing and managing the construction of conventional and passive buildings worldwide.

Harrison and his wife Erin previously ran a build-school programme from their home for a number of years.

When Fionn Kidney (co-founder and co-CEO) attended their class as a participant, the pair got talking about the potential of the programme and the development of Common Knowledge’ grew from there.

Many of the skills needed for a sustainable life already exist, according to Harrison. We just need to learn from one another, and from the generations before us.

He said: “Over just a few generations, a significant decrease in our basic skills has led to a wider loss of agency, affecting our ability to meet our own basic needs, to solve our own problems and to support each other.”

Classroom session at Common Knowledge. \ Common Knowledge

The programme founders have set up a new type of space where people can come and upskill while connecting with members in the community.

“Its intention or goal has always been to empower people with the skills, knowledge and community to do the things we have started to think that we can’t on our own anymore. We really make a point to try to share with people the skills our grandparents and parents had and were lost over the last generation,” said Harrison.

The Common Knowledge Centre

Common Knowledge has now moved into a new home with 50 acres to grow, experiment and explore.

They crowdfunded the deposit for the purchase of €60,000 and are fundraising the balance. Whether coming to take a course or just to visit the Burren, people can now stay on-site in their range of lodge or courtyard accommodation, or you can hire the space for your own events.

Harrison explains it’s “all hands-on deck” at the moment, “with a group of over 100 volunteers coming to help get the place ready”.

Common Knowledge celebrates and shares practical skills to support people to create a home in Ireland despite rising costs of housing and living – skills like building, making, mending and growing. By learning together, across generations and perspectives, they hope participants will become more confident, capable and connected.

The ethos of true sustainability

For Common Knowledge, truly sustainable home life means that it is sustainable for you, the planet and those around you, but also attainable and maintainable by you. Along with Common Knowledge’s vision of true sustainability, they value empowerment and delight because they believe joy is one of our basic human needs.

Course participants outside a structure they built. \ Common Knowledge

Harrison said: “Sustainability is so much more than responsible product purchasing. Skills, knowledge and communities are essential for us to live sustainable lives. Being able to maintain and mend things yourself is still at the core of sustainability.”

Courses for 2023

The courses at Common Knowledge are tailored to a range of skill levels, from beginners to those with more experience.

It is a non-profit organisation, so in order to pay for resources and materials, there is a cost to the courses. The prices vary depending on the course. The week-long build school programme is €780. The shorter courses range in price from €250 to €380.

There is an access programme for people who could really use certain skills but can’t afford to come to the programme. Harrison explains that they open it up for people to apply and then ask applicants to explain what they want to use their skills and experience for.

The courses are taught by experienced instructors like Harrison (Common Knowledge co-founder and presenter of Build Your Own on RTÉ), Cian Corcoran (furniture designer), Malú Colorín (natural dye instructor), Dominic Keogh (master stonemason) and Gavin Morgan (metal fabricator) who are passionate about sharing their skills and knowledge with others.

For more information on the courses visit: Common Knowledge.

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