The John’s Hall project is a 30-year commitment by the IHS to the town of Birr, beginning with the restoration of a set of historic buildings in Birr, County Offaly, as an educational and community resource. Our ambition is to establish a third level teaching and research institute in the town, focussed on our natural, built and community heritage. While predominantly teaching in the fields of environmental science, landscape studies and biodiversity & conservation the school’s curriculum will also extend into cultural heritage program and ‘service’ based projects. The venture has the capacity to attract third level students to Birr from all over the world – as well as acting as a teaching hub for Irish students, adult education, vocational training and, potentially, link in with the town’s primary and secondary education systems. Crucially, the building is also intended to act as a hub for several local community groups with an interest in rural development and the above themes, which will see full use of the site in time – something that has been desired by the local community for a considerable time.