Gurteen College in Co. Tipperary officially launched a ‘year of celebration’ this past weekend to mark its 75th anniversary.

The event on Saturday (September 3), which saw several of the college’s former pupils and staff turn out, was marked by a letter from President Michael D. Higgins, which was read out to attendees.

“Generations of young people have begun their pathway into farming and related careers in rural development at Gurteen, a place they remember with great appreciation and affection,” President Higgins said.

“Like all the best educational institutions, Gurteen College has continued to change and adapt in our evolving world, equipping its students to meet the challenges in a sector that is becoming ever more complex.

The president’s letter said: “The skills validated and promoted at Gurteen are well able to absorb these new challenges. The global challenges of climate change and biodiversity, for example, have become key considerations for all those that work in the agriculture sector.

Image source: Jon Parry 1
Image source: Tom Ryan Casey

“As is preserving the family farm model, while building up Irish agriculture’s capacity to expand into new markets globally. It is greatly reassuring, therefore, to know that Gurteen College is unafraid to continuously innovate, in order to provide the best agricultural training possible, while staying committed to the essence of what is authentic farming,” President Higgins added.

Image source: Tom Ryan Casey
Image source: Tom Ryan Casey

The launch of Gurteen’s 75th anniversary year was attended by some of its most notable alumni and past staff, including: Minister of State Pippa Hackett; former agriculture minister Ivan Yates; Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) president Tim Cullinan (a former staff member); Cullinan’s predecessor as IFA president, Joe Healy; former IFA national livestock chairperson Angus Woods; and former director of Teagasc Gerry Boyle.

Gurteen College principal Jon Parry conducted proceedings as master of ceremonies, while Ivan Yates also took to the stage to reminisce on his time as a student…his occasional misadventures drawing frequent laughs from the crowd.

Image source: Tom Ryan Casey
Image source: Tom Ryan Casey

Yates also planted a tree to mark the event, the first of 75 trees that will be planted throughout the academic term, one for each year of the college’s history.

A tree was also planted by Donal McCormick from Co. Mayo, who was among the very first intake of students 75 years ago.

After the speeches and tree planting ceremony, past students had the opportunity to reminisce though photographs and records from Gurteen’s archives as far back as 1947.