Sonairte [pronounced SON-ART-A] is an interactive visitor centre promoting ecological awareness and sustainable living.
Sonairte was established in 1986 by members of the local community and concerned environmentalists to promote environmental awareness and education. The founders, several of whom remain on the present Board of Directors, drew inspiration from organisations such as the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales, the HDRA (now Garden Organic) in the UK and the Permaculture Research Institute in Australia. Sonairte has been certified as an organic food producer with the Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association since 1986 and has been teaching organic horticulture and providing courses in various aspects of environmental education ever since.
The name Sonairte is derived from a middle Irish word meaning “positive strength”.
Sonairte, which is situated in a farm complex of noteworthy historical interest on the banks of the River Nanny near Laytown (Co. Meath), has developed steadily since it was originally established, in terms of both its physical facilities and its standing as an environmental organisation, visitor attraction and educational facility.
The site, which now covers some ten acres, is held under a recently renewed long term lease. A redevelopment project for the centre will soon be launched.
In all aspects of renovation, care is taken to stay true to the green philosophy of the centre, particularly in the choice of building material and use of renewable energy and energy conservation. The facilities that are being created will allow Sonairte to become active in many diverse fields. The centre is run entirely by volunteers but the intention is that permanent staff will be employed in key posts as an income stream is developed, in order to improve the facilities that are offered.
Sonairte is a registered charity and welcomes tax efficient gifts.