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Greetings fellow travellers!
My name's Daniel, and I've been a volunteer on Workaway since 2012. In 2016 I purchased a stone cottage with just over an acre of land in rural County Sligo on the west coast of Ireland. I'm looking for enthusiastic volunteers to assist me in the restoration of the cottage and outbuildings (no expertise required), and development of the land into a permaculture smallholding, which is already well underway.
The cottage (pictured) still needs a great deal of work before it's habitable, so me and my partner, Angela, live in a small caravan on site. As a volunteer, you'll be staying in a private cabin which I built in 2020 (also pictured) with a kitchen, shower, sleeping and living area. It sleeps up to two people, so you may or may not be sharing this space with another volunteer. There is electricity, for phone and laptop charging, basic internet over 3G (suitable for social media use, though not video streaming), and hot and cold running water, though as this has to be pumped from a spring on site, we ask that volunteers be conservative in their water usage. There's a gas stove for cooking, and all the equipment you could need. We've even fitted the beds with electric blankets for those chilly Irish nights!
Help with Eco Projects
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
The cottage is situated close to Lough Gara (pictured) and a short drive from the Curlew mountains. It's surrounded by rural countryside, wild moorland and forestry (great for walking). The ocean is an hour's drive west, but we're avid explorers of beaches and coastline, so there will be occasional opportunities for adventure if you're interested in tagging along (weather dependent). The local village, with a population of less than a hundred, is a fifteen minute hike down the road. You'll find a welcoming pub, a village shop and a post office, but very little else.
If you're feeling brave, and it's a particularly hot day, then Lough Gara is great for wild swimming, and we usually go every few weeks in the summer! I also have a bicycle, which I'd be happy to lend you if you'd like to venture out on your own. Lough Key Forest Park and the megalithic tombs on Carrowkeel mountain are about an hour's bike ride away. Ballaghaderreen is the nearest town - about a thirty minute bike ride away. There you'll find restaurants, supermarkets, and a great many quaint little shops with brightly-coloured facades that sell things you probably won't find anywhere else (or indeed have any use for).
I'm looking for helpers (one or two at a time) and can pick you up from Ballaghaderreen, which is connected directly to Dublin airport and city by bus. Alternatively, Knock airport is just thirty minutes drive from the cottage, so if you're flying directly to western Ireland then I can pick you up straight from the airport.
The ideal volunteer would be someone with an established interest in self-sufficiency, particularly vegetable-growing, permaculture, or building restoration, who loves animals (we currently have pigs, chickens, ducks, rabbits, cats and a dog), and hopes to incorporate what they learn here into their own lives in the future. A genuine passion for how we live, and desire to learn is essential, as is a willingness to get your hands dirty, with much of the work being outside, whatever the weather! A good level of basic fitness is important, as you will be on your feet most of the day. Wellies (rubber boots) are a requirement (it gets very muddy here) and can be purchased locally for about €25, as is a waterproof coat. Flip-flops are optional... :)
The work will be varied, depending on the time of year, weather and your area of interest. Have a look through the reviews for examples of tasks completed by previous volunteers. Over the warmer months there's plenty to do outside: planting, weeding, landscaping, harvesting, etc, and it will be a great opportunity for anyone interested in horticulture to learn first-hand as I'm always happy to share what knowledge I have. I'm also focused on restoration work on the cottage and outbuildings, which volunteers are welcome to assist me with, but bear in mind this is unskilled work, and I'm certainly not looking for professionals. And of course there's always basic tasks, like cooking, cleaning, washing, etc.
You'll have two full days off per week. Food is provided, a great deal of which is home-grown from the veg and herb garden (depending on the season). We don't eat meat, but there are eggs from the chickens/ducks, milk and cheese, as well as peas, beans, lentils and other sources of protein. There will be sugary treats, such as biscuits and cookies, for hard-working helpers, but food is expensive in Ireland, so if you have a penchant for luxuries like dark chocolate or imported fruits, you will have to purchase your own when in town!
A cabin on site, custom built for volunteers (as of May 2020), with a private bed, shared bathroom/kitchen/living space.
I'm a published writer by trade and have some experience teaching English, so if you'd like to practise and improve your language skills whilst here then I'd be glad to help, though ideally this should be secondary to your interest in our lifestyle here. Also, please write your introductory letter in English!
Projects and ongoing work in 2021:
- Establishing the Polytunnel
- Building gravel paths between vegetable areas
- Cleaning out and re-landscaping the natural spring
- Finishing the stone pointing in the granary
- Building an internal stone wall in the granary
- Building an internal timber framework in the granary
- Creating custom doors and windows for the granary
- Building an artificial warren for our rabbits
- Maintenance work on the cabin
- Building a stone pig-house
- Weeding, planting, harvesting all the outside vegetable plots
- Re-imagining the strawberry hugel-mounds
And much much more... :)
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
This host can provide space for campervans.
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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