About the College

The People's College, Adult Education Association, is a voluntary body with the status of charitable organisation. Set up 1948, to provide workers' education, it continues to provide general adult education - languages, social political studies, literature, art appreciation and cultural activities as well as personal development and communication skills - for trade unionists, their families and the general public.

The College is part of the European Workers’ Education movement which emphasises education for democracy. This involves creating a space where workers can study, reflect on and react to their continually changing society as well as develop their intellectual, social and creative potential. An integral part of the system is the active participation of the students in the decision-making process and organisational structures of the College.

“The working class must be free, not only economically, but intellectually”- Jim Larkin 1914

What we do

The People's College organises courses in the following areas:

  • Languages (Irish, English , French, German, Italian, and Spanish)
  • Arts, Music Creativity (Painting Art Appreciation; Music Appreciation, Creative Writing, Tin Whistle and Guitar)
  • Social Studies ( Current Affairs,History, European Union, Genealogy, Japanese Culture, Economics/Political Economy).
  • Environment/Nature Studies (Hill Walking, Wildlife)
  • Personal Development Social Skills (Communication Skills/Public Speaking, Pilates, Yoga, First Aid)


CENTRAL COUNCIL: The College is governed by its Central Council elected from affiliated unions and delegates from the Student Committee. Jim Dorney is the President of the People's College and Catherine Shortt was is our Treasurer. Current members of the Central Council include Tony Black (CWU); Paul Caffrey, PSEU; David Duffy, TUI; Paddy Glavin, Student Committee; Bernie Grant, Debating Society; Bernie Judge, TUI; Susan Knight, Tutors’ Representative; Sally Maguire, ASTI; Deirbhile Nic Craith, INTO; Paul Walsh, Choir.

Affiliated Unions are: AHCPS, (Association of Higher Civil & Public Sector Unions); ASTI (Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland); CPSU (Civil, Public Services Union); CWU (Communication Workers Union; IFUT (Irish Federation of University Teachers); IMPACT (Irish Municipal, Public Civil trade Union; INTO (Irish National Teachers Union; MANDATE ; PSEU (Public Service Executive Union; NUJ (National Union of Journalists); SIPTU (Services Industrial Professional Technical Union); TEEU (Technical, Electrical & Engineering Union); TUI (Teachers' Union of Ireland); UCATT (Union of Construction, Allied Trades Technicians); TSSA (Transport Salaried Staffs' Association), UNITE The Union.


The work of the college is organised by Joanne Pearson, Director,and Dearbhla Coyle, Administrator.

Student Commitee

The Student Committee, elected by the students of the College, organises social and cultural events during the year; helps with administration organisation of the College work. It is consulted on the drawing up of the Syllabus every year. A number fo clubs & societies also operate within the college.


  • The College is a member of the Council of Forás Eireann
  • It is a member of AONTAS (National Association for Adult Education)
  • It is affiliated to ILHS (Irish Labour History Society)

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