Teagasc Horticultural students participated in the landscaping competition at Valais College, Switzerland

October 4, 2023
By: Gerd Alscher

Two Teagasc students, Niall O’Brien (Kildalton Horticultural College) and Eoighan Mountaine-Barry (College of Amenity Horticulture, Botanic Gardens) won the People’s Choice award at the recent landscaping competition in Switzerland last weekend. Niall and Eoighan are Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Horticulture students were selected to represent Teagasc in the landscaping competition at the Valais College in Switzerland from the 5th to 8th May 2023. The competition was run in conjunction to mark the 50th anniversary of Jardin Suisse Valais and the 100th anniversary of the Valais School of Agriculture.

As a member of Europea International, Teagasc was invited to participate in the horticultural landscaping competition in the Valais College in Switzerland. The participants received the specification for the garden design in April, developed a garden design which they then built over the two days of the competition. Teams from Switzerland, France, Hungary, Luxembourg and Ireland competed side-by-side as Europeans showcasing their profession.

Ivan Donnelly (Kildalton Horticultural College) and Louise Jones (College of Amenity Horticulture, Botanic Gardens) together with their colleagues from their colleges supported and mentored the two Teagasc students.

Ivan Donnelly who is based in Kildalton Horticultural College was team leader and travelled to the competition with the students- he commented that  “the competition itself was exceptionally well organised from the outset and the horticultural and building materials supplied to students were of suitable quality. The students worked outstandingly well together under the given time constraints and considering the unfamiliar temperatures, demonstrating high standards of teamwork throughout the visit. The hospitality shown by the college throughout the visit was second to none and overall the trip itself was extremely beneficial from an educational perspective whilst also providing an excellent opportunity to network and great valuable contacts within the horticultural industry.”

Louise Jones from the College of Amenity Horticulture, Botanic Gardens passed on her congratulations  “I am delighted for Eoighan, Niall and my colleague Ivan. It was great to have students from both Teagasc horticultural colleges, coming together to compete in the Valais Horticultural College in Switzerland with their European peers. This was an excellent opportunity for Eoighan and Niall to put their training into action and display their teamwork, time management and construction skills. Congratulation to both for winning the ‘People Choice Award’ a fantastic achievement representing Teagasc and Ireland, making us proud!”


Anne-Marie Butler, Teagasc Head of Education added “Congratulations to Eoighan, Niall and their teacher Ivan on their wonderful achievements in Switzerland.  This was the first time Teagasc was represented at the competition and we are delighted for the team.  International travel and new learning experiences are invaluable for our Teagasc learners”.

(Pictured Left to Right: Students Eoighan Mountaine-Barry (Teagasc College of Amenity Horticulture, Botanic Gardens), Niall O’Brien (Teagasc Kildalton Horticultural College) pictured with their teachers Ivan Donnelly (Team Lead) and Louise Jones.)

Compiled by Carmel Finlay & James Maher, Teagasc

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