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Stan McWilliams.

Ardmore, Muff,
Story of change Stan McWilliams. story
“Let’s leave this place better than when we found it"


Meet Stan. A son of the soil, Stan and his wife Berenice had always dreamt of growing vegetables organically – a dream he has fulfilled on his flourishing family farm in Colpey. “I’ve lived here, farmed here, raised a family here, and it’s been fantastic.” Originally trained as an aeronautical engineer, Stan was a pioneer for bringing sustainable energy to Ireland before it took off commercially, and instrumental in establishing some of the country’s first wind-farm projects. He has applied his skills and knowledge since arriving at Colpey some 30 years ago, incorporating solar power and using surplus wood from his forestry to power a wood-chip burner which creates energy for his home and farm – an innovation which has since been used as a case study to demonstrate sustainable energy solutions.

When he first arrived at the farm, Stan set up a polytunnel to house a tree nursery that each year sold some 40,000 broadleaf saplings which have now matured into forests all over the country. Stan explained to me how he gave refuge to the 10% of trees that didn’t make it to saleable size, planting them under the Aspens with good wishes in the hope that they would successfully survive the briars, rampant grasses and hungry cattle. Stan was delighted to discover years later that one of those ‘puny’ plants, with no marketable value, had grown into a strong and resilient 10-metre-tall oak tree – showing that if we cherish it, and give it room to breathe, nature will find a way.
Stan says that like most farmers he will never retire, though he “works slightly less”, and he takes great pleasure from managing his 50 acres of semi-mature woodland and watching the forest “grow tall and full of wildlife”.


For a love of the natural world, awakened by my early discovery of the wonder of fields, ditches, rivers, trees and forests.


The simple thing anyone can do if they are building or renovating a house is to focus on insulation. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has a brilliant website to research government schemes to support homes with grants.


The world has a future, and we can be part of it. The last couple of years have shown us that we can act fast on a global scale. The world produced COVID-19 vaccines and started the successful vaccination programme within a year. Climate change initiatives need the same urgency.


PROJECT - Inishowen Rivers Trust. PROJECT - Inishowen Upland Farmers EIP Project.