Department of Engineering

 Rachel Freeman

 Lecturer in Horticulture

    E10, Eolas
     01 8851344


I love the beauty of the natural landscape here in Ireland. My interest in nature and the outdoors has accompanied me since early childhood and in these environments I feel alive. Studying Horticulture and making it my career is dream come true.  I love the hands-on practical nature of the discipline, the potential for creativity with natural materials, and the provision of food and green space to society. 

Community horticulture and social/therapeutic horticulture are where my research interests lie.  In research, I am fascinated by the therapeutic use of horticulture with groups/individuals and its incredible potential as a social tool in community to promote engagement and integration. Again it's the hands-on action research with a focus on practical outcomes that draws me in. 

Outside of work I am involved in the horticultural efforts of my local community and in my children’s school. I also give community talks locally in Dublin 15 on general horticulture. When life allows I love to head west to County Mayo to roam the land and enjoy the pristine environment.


M. Sc Social & Therapeutic Horticulture, University of Coventry
B. Sc. (Hons) Horticulture, University of Essex (Writtle College)
Diploma in Amenity Horticulture. Teagasc College of Amenity Horticulture

Professional affiliations

Member of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture (MCIH)

Academic administration responsibilities

Course coordinator - Bachelor of Science in Horticulture, Year 2
Placement Coordinator - Bachelor of Science in Horticulture (2009-2017)
Bloom garden coordinator (2009-2012)
Industry Liaison - Horticulture

Teaching & learning interests/passions

My role in education is one I relish. Horticulture is a unique discipline with the potential for co-creation of knowledge with a practical outcome. I love teaching,  sharing my knowledge with students and learning from them.  

Through the modules I teach, I am lucky to be able to engage in the community to raise local environmental awareness, demonstrate and build knowledge of all aspects of horticulture in the community from food growing, to care for trees and the environment while engaging my students with these local communities and groups for the benefit of all. 

As the first horticulturist to join ITB, I was part of a small team that developed the first degree  programme offered at ITB. Now as part of a growing team, I continue to update, innovate and expand the programme.

Modules taught

Practical Training in Horticulture
Floristry and Interior Landscapes
Arboriculture (Trees and Woodlands)
Plant and Landscape Management
Horticulture in the Community, Retail Horticulture
Group Project, Soft Landscape Construction
IT & Professional Development

Community & employer engagement interests/passions

I am passionate about the environment and working with groups concerned about the local environment and seeking to remedy litter black spots or improve the aesthetic of their neighbourhoods is a real delight for me. 

School Gardens are a particular interest as I believe all children should spend time                  outdoors growing and engaging with nature.

Community engagement initiatives

I am engaged in regular consultancy with local groups and their horticultural endeavours. One such group, Blakestown Drive Community Group, have won several awards for the presentation of the green spaces.  

Employer/enterprise engagement initiatives

We in horticulture in ITB see close relationships with employers in the sector as essential to ensuring that our graduates are industry ready. Part of my role as industry liaison is to foster these connections in order to keep abreast of changes as they unfold and allow these to inform our teaching.  As placement coordinator, I manage contacts with a range of 30+ organisations/businesses in the horticulture sector on an ongoing basis. 

Horticulture connected articles

  • Effects of mycorrhizal fungi on root initiation and development, Summer 2016 
  • Horticulture for Human Health, Summer 2016
  • Education, Communities and the role of Horticulture in Ireland, Autumn/Winter 2016
  • Learning Strategies in Horticultural Education, Winter 2017 
  • Using Horticulture to restore health, Spring 2018 

External positions

Secretary of the Old Bawn Residents Assoc.
Steering committee for STH Ireland
Board of Management Educate Together NS Firhouse 2012 -2015

Conferences and Invited lectures/presentations

Guest lecturer - M.Sc Social and Therapeutic horticulture, Coventry University (2018)

'A career
in Social and Therapeutic Horticulture' - Social and
Therapeutic Alumni Conference Coventry Universtiy (September 2016)

'Sowing the seeds
of change: Educating for nature assisted practice' - Nature Connections
Conference University of Derby (June 2016)

Institute of Technology Blanchardstown, Blanchardstown Road North, Dublin 15,D15 YV78

Tel: +353 (1) 8851000 | Fax: +353 (1) 8851001 | Email: info@itb.ie

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