Sustainable Food Growing in the Far West of Ireland



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  • Description



    Since the big storm that hit the British Isles last Friday we have floods that are unprecedented in living memory, and we don't know how the winter may develop.

    In the circumstances it doesn't seem wise to make any commitment to bringing helpers in until the New Year. March I think will be okay, but February could still be too wet for planting.


    An established rare plants garden on 3 acres, raising unusual flowering and edible plants using organic methods, and evolving in a permaculture direction. The holding is an ongoing experiment in sustainable growing:
    * developing a year-round food garden for a cool maritime climate
    * landscaping sustainable communities of plants

    Current research interests: perennial food plants, all season forage plants for wild pollinators and honeybees.

    Current teaching interests: organic flower and food gardening; protecting native pollinators, especially bumblebees; seed saving.

    It is always interesting to hear from people who are keen to develop skills in related areas, or of course from those who already have some skills and experience. From time to time there is also in need for basic building and maintenance skills, or just a bit of extra muscle.

    Specific tasks depend very much on the season; autumn, winter and early spring are busy times for pruning, planting and propagating, when help is particularly welcome I like to engage volunteers with specific small projects, rather than just routine maintenance. That way, each volunteer can make a visible contribution to the development of the land.

    Two of the original stone buildings on our holding have been brought back into use, and there is some finishing and insulation to be done on the largest.

    Our valley has been inhabited and cultivated for at least a millennium. Quiet but not too remote - walking distance to the pub church and bus; and help given with arranging side trips. Excellent hillwalking & coast walks nearby, quiet local lanes f,or running or strolling.

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    General Maintenance
    Help with Eco project

  • UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Help


    2015 has got off to a slow start, with some very erratic weather.

    With the continuing cool damp weather, still time to plant a few trees and pot perennial plants for plant stalls. Summer vegetable patch to be tidied and planted up. Strimming in the wild area near the pond.

    Summer pruning of fruit trees; propagating from cuttings and bulbs. Late summer and early winter vegetables to be sown. There could be opportunities to help with plant stalls, and with an Organic tent at the Galway Garden Festival.

    August - September
    Re-organising a bee planting area and starting a cutting garden. Sowing green manures. Putting up a shade tunnel for the winter. Finishing off missing areas of stone facing on the old cottage would be good - needs a patient person with basic construction skills.

    October onwards
    Planting of saplings for fuel, fruit bushes. Taking late cuttings, starting winter pruning. Willow and tree work.

    For bad weather, there are always tasks in the polytunnel, greenhouse or potting shed, some times a little indoor decorating or fixing.

    Most hot water & central heating comes from a wood / *turf-burning stove, so there is often fuel to be cut or stacked.
    * peat, in mainland English

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English, French, German, some Italian

  • Accommodation


    Long attic room, in two sections; accommodates two people, and has its own entrance.

    Food is home-grown or localy sourced, where possible, and mostly from organic ingredients. Cooking mainly vegetarian; includes eggs and dairy, home-baked bread. Vegan? easier in the summer!

    The only resident animals iare two shy long-haired cats. (They don't have access to the attic.)

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    The garden is in a sheltered valley within walking distance of pub, shurch, bus stop. But also close to the lakes and mountains of the North Mayo wilderness area, with the Atlantic coast beyond.

    Leisure time
    There are great opportunities for wild hill and coastal walking as well as cycle routes and local walking routes. Connemara and Achill just over ah hour by car, and accessible by bus. For wet weather, the National Museum of Folk Life is a few minutes' drive, and there are a couple of small museums locally. Arts Centre events, films and music sessions in two nearby towns.

    Public transport:
    Buses to Ballina Westport and Galway from the village; trains or buses to Dublin - several a day - are 10 minutes' drive - lifts available, naturally. The West of Ireland airport is half an hour away - some buses.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    Around 25? Flexible working hours depending on weather, &; to allow volunteers breaks to explore the countryside for themselves.

Host ref number: 17842922964e