Meet Our Team
The Irish Seed Savers Team
The work involved here is enormous and we really welcome any support or help you would like to give us..... Our staff are highly skilled and specially trained and are now ready to pass on their knowledge and experience. We are able to offer a wide range of training courses to suit you or your organisations needs. Our staff are also available to give talks or demonstrations to interested parties.Contact us to find out more.
Jennifer McConnell (General Manager)
Jennifer joined us on February 1st 2017 (the beginning of the Celtic New Year) as our new General Manager.
With a long-standing career filled with many travels and adventures in HR, Operations, SME supports and Event Management, she also has an academic background in Business, HR, Anthropology, Geography and Development A seasoned traveller, she has lived in Jamaica, Haiti and most recently Papua New Guinea. Jennifer's experience brings support to Irish Seed Savers both in strategic development, HR alignment, networking, relationship building and system strengthening.
Prior to joining us, Jennifer worked with Rotarians Against Malaria in Papua New Guinea - the logistics operation to support the national public health programme in eradicating malarial deaths in rural and remote communities. She previously held the position of Chief Operations Officer with Digicel PNG Foundation which was the philanthropic arm of the telecoms operation, which involved overseeing the build of school infrastructures, mobilising rural health clinics, and overseeing community development programmes in addressing gender based violence, education development, and environmental care. Jennifer previously worked with Digicel in Jamaica and then in Haiti as Human Resources Director prior to the 2010 earthquakes. Her previous role in Ireland was as Business Network Manager for the County & City Enterprise Board's Women in Business Networks, to develop female entrepreneurship in Dublin City, South Dublin, Fingal, Wicklow and Sligo.
At the end of 2009 Jennifer took a five year career break to undertake a Bachelors Degree in Anthropology and Geography and a Masters Degree in Anthropology and Development, with the intention of moving her career towards social development. Jennifer's academic research was on the role of social actors in supporting an NGOs desire to effect change for those in need; as well as her Masters thesis on the role of myth creating a national identity leading to genocide - with the focus on the Rohingya genocide currently taking place in Myanmar.
During this career break Jennifer managed Fundraising Ireland's 2014 Annual Conference and was an advisor to Charity Hack which provides free advisory support to small scale charities. She was also voluntary Board Director for Healthy Food for All which was a policy group focusing on addressing food poverty in Ireland.
She has an avid interest in travelling, learning, human rights, understanding environmental issues, and is keen to develop her skills in writing and learn new ones about gardening.
Returning to Ireland at the end of 2016, and as a long-time supporter of Irish Seed Savers eager to get more involved with our work, we are delighted to welcome Jennifer to the helm of the team.
Eoin Keane (Orchard Coordinator)
Eoin hails from Offaly. With a background in Industrial Engineering he started his career with a year in the busy industrial estates of China. The love of the land and the outdoors brought him to the Irish Seed Savers in 2008, as a volunteer at first, on summer holidays from a factory engineering job in Galway. Eoin comes from a farming background and is passionate about trees and woodwork. At the ISSA, he spent most of his time working in the orchards, but now has become the Orchard coordinator.
Pat O’Mara (Orchard Curator)
Pat is originally from Flagmount County Clare, he joined us in April of 2011. Before joining, his horticultural experience includes growing up on a farm, wwoofing for 18 months in France and completing horticultural studies in Ennistymon in 2010. Pat is a member of our orchard team and is mainly involved with running of both the orchards and the fruit tree nurseries.
Joanne Newton (Seed Bank Coordinator)
Jo started working at the Irish Seed Savers Association back in 2001 with her role taking her from Orchard worker, gardener to coordinating the seed bank. Currently she is Curator of the collection and mentor to new staff members. She has plenty of practical experience, in organic growing, having run her own market garden and small holding in Clare for 15 years. She is also very active in sharing her knowledge teaching workshops such as the Organic Gardening Courses here at Irish Seed Savers, in addition to workshops on sustainable land use.
Flora Barteau (Seed Bank Assistant)
My name is Flora I was born in the north-west of France and grew up in the countryside. I studied art and photography for six years then moved to Ireland in 2009 to do Woofing work in Wicklow and Meath where I learnt english. I stayed for seven months in 2010 to volunteer here. I have been living here in Ireland for the last three years now.
I have been working in the garden and with the seed bank since June 2011 and I'm now really happy to be a gardener.
Felice Rae (Garden Assistant)
Felice Rae has been here in Ireland for the past 23 years on the shores of Lough Derg and has been working at the Irish Seed Savers Association since 1999. She loves her job in the gardens propagating the soft fruit and also works with the seeds. Recently she has taken on facilitating the groups from Enable Ireland in our Horticultural Therapy Unit and also enjoys working alongside the new volunteers .
Joe McGrath (Garden Assistant)
Joe McGrath is a native of Bodyke and has been here with us around 11 years now, he is a handy guy to have in the gardens. His main job is to keep the paths clear and mow around the beds he certainly keeps the gardens looking smart. He also helps Felice in the horticultural therapy tunnel when the Enable Ireland folks come for their visits throughout the year.
Áine Ni Fhlatharta (Education Coordinator)
Áine Ni Fhlatharta is from Carraroe, Co. Galway in beautiful Connemara, she is a former student from An T-Ionad Glás Dromcollagher.It was on a visit here as a student she was so inspired by Tommy and Anita's work that she moved to Co.Clare to get involved ,her background is in political and environmental campaigns and has been facilitating ecological workshops for children for over10 years. is our resident Education Coordinator working with the many primary schools in the surrounding area; Children oftern have a visit in thier school and sometimes they manage to get a day out here to see and feel the natural biodiversity of our site. Áine has just begun a new program incorporating the leaving cert students which we are all very pleased about.
Jeanne Mérer (Education Assistant)
Jeanne is originally from France but has felt more at home in Ireland since 2000 when she first arrived in Dublin port. With a graphic design degree under her belt, she navigated the visual art and dance scene in Dublin for 9 years. Strange and wonderful circumstances wooed her back to France for a life changing experience on a vineyard. This served as a major eye opener regarding modern agricultural practices, what we eat, how we grow and forage food, how we relate to the earth. On her return to Ireland in 2016, she moved to the Cloughjordan ecovillage in Co. Tipperary and was delighted to join the Irish Seed Savers team as Education Assistant. Coordinating the big workshop weekends here is one of many ways she plays her part in today's environment and an opportunity to support such a beautiful and life sustaining place in Scariff.
Valerie Keogh (Subscription Administrator)
Valerie moved to Clare from Dublin in 2007, and has strong family ties to Tipperary (so is a country girl at heart!). Her past life was in finance and stockbroking. She is a fully qualified holistic therapist and reflexologist (mmmm!). Valerie takes care of our supporters database, administration and wears several other hats within the organisation. She loves the feedback we receive from our supporters which is so positive and encouraging, and very different from her previous role in finance.
Barry Foley (Marketing and Development)
Barry is a native of Tipperary Town but is now based in the Burren in Co Clare. Having attained a Masters Degree in Digital Arts from the National College of Art & Design in 2007 he worked as a supervisor for Irelands Eye and Assistant Director at the Limerick City Gallery of Art. Barry began working for Irish Seed Savers in 2014 and his dedication and commitment has made him an integral part of our team
Tansy Watson (Marketing and Development)
Tansy is local to Co. Clare, growing up in Tulla, only down the road from Irish Seed Savers. She is a past pupil of the Raheen Wood Steiner School in east Clare. She graduated with honours from the Limerick School of Art & Design in 2008 and has had a career in Graphic Design since 2009. Tansy began working for Irish Seed Savers in January of 2014 as part of the sales development team and as their in-house designer.
Marrianne Cronin (Administration Coordinator)
Marrianne is from Cork originally and arrived in Clare with her family in 2000 via London! Joining Seed Savers in June 2011, Marrianne was initially brought on board to administer our Department of Agriculture, Pobal and LEADER grants and has since added a few more strings to her bow. She does a lot of our proof reading and actually knows the difference between eminent and imminent, but don't hold it against her. She is efficacious, indefatigable and always has her brightness setting turned up full! When she is not working, Marrianne likes gardening (organically of course!), knitting, singing and reading and lives in Tuamgraney with her husband and two cats, her children having flown the nest.
Tues - Fri 9.30am - 4.30pm
Sat 12pm - 4.30pm
Closed Sun - Mon
Entrance to Organic Seed Gardens, Orchards and Woodlands is free to children & subscribers.