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Thomas H Culhane (right) assisting the build of the Clonakilty Community Garden Biodigester

Posted on: 4th August, 2015

Category: Home, Garden & Environment

Contributor: West Cork People

GIY Clonakilty notes by Riley Liao

The Solar CITIES Blue Flame tour held a community build of an IBC biodigester at the Clonakilty Community Garden on July 8. Thomas H. Culhane, co-founder of Solar CITIES and an expert in small-scale energy production, led the demonstration and shared his insights into the possibilities of the home-based biodigester.

A number of people attended, including families from the Clonakilty Lodge Direct Provision Centre, The Clonakilty Community Garden and GIY (Grow It Yourself) Clonakilty. Everyone had a hand in putting together the biodigester and it started to warm up within a few hours of completion.

The Solar CITIES IBC (International Bulk Container) biodigestor’s design is as simple as it can get. It’s essentially a big stomach that has two large pipes for input at the top that go all the way to the base and a hosepipe in the middle for collecting gas.

Assembling the biodigester involved ‘burning’, an exciting process where a 4in metal cylinder was heated up and pushed through the top of the tank to make a hole for the input pipe. The IBC tank was then wrapped in black plastic to prevent algae from growing.

Post-assembly, the tank’s 1000litre capacity was filled with water, and the task of shovelling fresh manure began, seeding the tank’s bacteria. The biodigester runs anaerobically (without oxygen). In a few weeks the bacteria will have multiplied enough for the Clonakilty Community Garden to start the process of feeding in weeds and food waste.

While talking about the origins of the IBC biodigester, Thomas told a story detailing his quest for a sustainable energy source during his travels to places such as Iraq, Egypt and India. The Holy Grail turned out to be a ‘burping’ bucket of liquid compost on the roof of an Indian household. There he also learned the key of feeding a biodigester food waste instead of manure — ‘it’s a stomach not a colon’.

This fire-breathing dragon is the new king of DIY projects. Once running, a daily bucket of food waste produces enough methane gas for around two hours of cooking. At the same time, the biodigestor processes organic matter faster than a compost heap without losing any nutrients. The only maintenance it requires is a balanced diet.

For more information on biodigesters visit www.solarcities.eu.

Come and get growing at the new Clonakilty Community Garden between 11am and 1pm every Saturday, behind Deasy’s carpark. GIY Clonakilty’s first meeting after the summer break will be at 8pm on Monday, September 14 in O’Donovan’s Hotel. Con McLoughlin from Lettercollum Kitchen Project will give a Nutritional Cooking demonstration.

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email bandonwalledtown@gmail.com
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11th October, 2017  ·  

Submarines, American Sailors, and the Underwater War in Irish Waters, 1917-1918
by Dr John Borgonovo in The Parish Centre, Clonakilty
on Thursday Oct 26 2017 at 8.30 pm

In 1917, unrestricted submarine warfare by German U-boats brought the United States into WWI and created a crisis in Britain. To defeat the submarine menace, an American naval fleet was dispatched to County Cork, bringing about 10,000 sailors with it. This talk will explain the circumstances of this extraordinary event, and how Cork residents dealt with their unexpected American guests.

Dr John Borgonovo is a lecturer in the School of History at UCC. His publications include Spies, Informers, and the 'Anti-Sinn Féin' Society: The Intelligence War in Cork City, 1920-1921; The Dynamics of War and Revolution: Cork City, 1916-1918; Exercising a close vigilance over their daughters: Cork women, American sailors, and Catholic vigilantes, 1917-18; Something in the Nature of a Massacre: The Bandon Valley Killings Revisited (with Andy Bielenberg). His latest publication (with co-authors John Crowley, Donal Ó Drisceoil and Mike Murphy) is the highly acclaimed and magnificient Atlas of the Irish Revolution. In July of this year, he organised a very successful conference on Winning the Western Approaches - Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and the US Navy in Ireland 1917-1918.
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11th October, 2017  ·  

Apple Juicing Day in Clonakilty next Sunday Sept 30th. All welcome to bring their apples from 2-6pm to the Clonakilty Community Garden (on entrance road to Clonakilty Lodge).

Building on the success of its inaugural 2016 event, local voluntary environmental organisation Sustainable Clonakilty invites people to bring along their apples and press them to extract their own juice to take home, using the group's Apple Press.

Volunteers will be at hand to assist in the procedure. Bring along your apples washed; clean containers to freeze your juice (milk/juice bottles or cartons, plastic bottles with caps); clean, sterilised glass bottles to pasteurise with swing caps or suitable for 26 mm diameter metal cap.

A limited number of new 3 litres juice bags that are suitable for freezing and pasteurising, can be purchased for a nominal fee on the day also.

This is a free community event and donations will be welcome to cover costs.

For further information, please contact Xavier at xavierdubuisson@gmail.com or text at 086/0476124.
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26th September, 2017  ·  

Dúchas Clonakilty's first lecture for the Autumn promises to be of huge interest to all: Emerging from the Shadow of Tom Crean – The Parish Centre, Clonakilty, Thursday September 28th 8.30pm.

Lecture by Aileen Crean O’Brien & Bill Sheppard

In May 2016, Kerry man Tom Crean, along with Ernest Shackleton and four other crew members, landed the James Caird lifeboat on the rocky isle of South Georgia. The navigation of that small boat, across 1500 km through icy winds and towering seas, is regarded as the greatest ever feat of navigation. They then trekked across the forbidding and inhospitable mountains and glaciers of South Georgia to seek help for the rest of their crew, who were left behind on Elephant Island after their ship, the Endurance, was crushed by the Antarctic ice.

One hundred years later, Crean’s grandaughter, Aileen Crean O’Brien, set off with her sons and partner to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps. Join Aileen and Bill to hear of their adventures (and misadventures) on the Southern Ocean and the island of South Georgia.
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7th September, 2017  ·  

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