Who is behind CELT and how did it start?

CELT (Centre for Environmental Living & Training) have provided training, education and awareness-raising in traditional and ecological skills since 2001.  Our whole ethos is to encourage individuals and communities to live a more sustainable way of life by providing skills and knowledge aimed at increasing personal capacity and community resilience.  Our Weekend in the Hills (and previously Weekend in the Woods) skills training events have captured the imagination of thousands of people, many of whom have made repeat visits to learn additional skills - and many of whom have used skills they have learned to develop employment opportunities.  These events have regularly won funding awards from The Heritage Council.    

We recently entered the Bord Failte Tourism Awards (Best Environmental Initiative) and we would like to share the entry with you. We feel it sums up perfectly what CELT is about, and what we aspire to be. Click here to read it

We have provided traditional and ecological skills exhibitions nationwide at shows, fairs and festivals, including Electric Picnic and Body & Soul festival, reaching a wide and diverse audience.  CELT craftspersons have also exhibited their skills in Northern Ireland, England, France and Switzerland - this has helped to show elements of Ireland's eco-tourism potential.  In 2013 CELT achieved runner-up position in the national Green Awards (eco-communities section). Our biodiversity-related projects have also made a huge impact.  

In collaboration with Tuamgraney Development Association and Woodland League (and with support from Clare County Council) we have developed Tuamgraney Community Woodland Wildlife Park.  This project won funding awards from The Heritage Council and the Forest Service and came 2nd in the national Pride of Place (eco-communities) competition 2014.  We also helped the local community to put together a Local Biodiversity Plan.  

In 2012 we did a biodiversity report for the Mooghaun Project (Newmarket-on-Fergus), helped to develop their nature trail and provided a hands-on crafts exhibition for their Heritage Day.  We have also provided regular guided walks with native woodland specialists on behalf of local communities, including Tuamgraney, Scariff and Killaloe and recently for the Brian Boru Millenium Festival.    

CELT Native Tree Nursery, created in 2007 with the help of an award from the Forest Service, has grown from strength to strength.  We specialise in native trees and shrubs of certified Irish origin (very important for biodiversity), including hedging plants, and we offer advice and help with planting.  Also the nursery has a selection of fruit and nut varieties suitable for agroforestry or forest-gardens.    

With the help of a funding award from Department of Environment (through Irish Environmental Network), we have established three small agroforestry projects in East Clare where we provide basic training for landowners and farmers in ways to integrate trees into agricultural or horticultural systems for the mutual benefit of both trees and vegetables / grazing.  We aim to show the great potential for agroforestry in Ireland where trees grow easily and well and a properly designed system can more than double the overall yield from an area of land - giving a win-win-win situation for environment, economy and climate. 

CELT are a member of Irish Environmental Network (IEN) and through this organisation receive annual core funding from Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE).   

CELT is a member of the Environmental Pillar and has made input to policy, interacting with government departments, other environmental NGOs and local authorities.  We have provided information stands showcasing our activities at a number of political events and we have supported environmental campaigns with provision of information and assistance with fundraising.


Bob Wilson

Bob is a founder-member of CELT.

Bob represented CELT on the IEN Board of Directors.  Much of his work is advocacy, connecting with many other NGO's and submitting policy recommendations to local and national government departments and also campaigning for sustainable living practices and a clean, healthy environment. 

 He represents CELT in the Public Participation Network (PPN) and is also a dry-stonewall tutor.  

Bob says "A better future can be reached by developing stronger local communities throughout rural Ireland that share skills and knowledge and respect nature.  Land use should be transformed with a view to climate change mitigation, biodiversity and optimum nutrition for all.  Multi-cultures including trees and perennial plants are essential and native woodlands can be linked together via corridors formed by diverse hedgerows, shelter belts and planting native species alongside waterways.

Esther Zyderlaan

Esther is the owner of Slieve Aughty Centre 

and has a great interest in the organising of the Weekend in the Hills, Festival of traditional crafts. Esther is one of the Directors of Celt.

Slieve Aughty Centre is a great venue for this event where accommodation and camping is available. The Centre is an eco-escape resort that promotes responsible and eco-tourism.

Andrew St. Ledger

Andrew works with Bob on the Biodiversity and Environmental subgroup of CELT, he is the co-ordinator of the Tuamgraney Community Native Woodland project, and is the CELT Native Woodland specialist conducting guided walks and talks in Raheen oakwood and the 

Community Native woodland as well as being available in other woodlands. He is a heritage specialist on the Heritage in schools scheme focusing on native trees and biodiversity etc. He designs and organises Biodiversity events on an annual basis for schools and community groups, he works on submissions commenting on state environmental policy, and on funding applications connected with all of above.
Andrew represents CELT on the Environmental Pillar, a social partner made up of 28 National Environmental NGO's, influencing environmental policy, making submissions, meeting Ministers and civil servants. He was elected to sit on the steering committee of the Environmental Pillar, the Forestry Liaison Group consultation body, the Rural Development Monitoring Committee, contributing to all.

Andrew is also the Wood Carving tutor on the Weekend in the Hills events. 

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Phil Wilkinson

Moved from England to Ireland in 2006

Became involved with CELT in 2008

Director from 2013 to 2017.

Currently CELT Finance Manager

Hobbies and Interests - Woodlands, Organic Smallholdings, DIY and a self confessed obsession with Land Rovers.

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Julius is Filmmaker & conservationist. He runs a YouTube channel  (Smooth Gefixt) together with his Cousin, where they practice Bushcraft & Wilderness living skills with conservation ecology and sustainable harvest of natural material in mind. He studied Forest & Nature Conservation & Management at Wageningen Univerity, the Netherlands. Celts aims of Environmental Living Skills combined with Nature Conservation fit perfect with his philosophy and where he dedicate his passions and work life to. Especially rewilding and conservation of Native woodlands has the most of his interest!

Julius Brummelman

Ronan has been involved with CELT since 2019, and is currently Chairman of the board of directors. 

Ronan's interests span bee keeping, fly fishing, organic hobby gardening and agroforestry. His focus in CELT is on ensuring the sustainability of the charity as well as compliance and future growth. That growth shall be through networking and collaboration with other groups and initiatives with complimentary interests.