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Please read our descriptions of our place and all it involves! We are relatively isolated. Your exposure to Irish social life will be minimal, unless you have your own car. Our ability to deal with foreign languages is limited. Our advice is not to come here just to improve your English. Do you understand what a weed is? Gardening, the control of weeds is one of our main priorities. However the area is stunning, you will be in an unique part of Ireland with all its wildlife at its best.
There are two of us with our five cats and quite a collection of chickens, guinea fowl and ducks and now a small pony. We are retired and trying to get our one acre plot into shape. We moved here 2 years ago and the garden had been neglected for many years. Ivy is a problem and just keeping on top of weeding and general maintenance. I was trained as a botanist and specialise in growing ferns, snowdrops, hellebores, woodland plants etc. We do not use chemicals so we are more or less organic.
We live in a stunning location at the end of a peninsula on Lough Conn. We lead a quiet life in a very rural setting. The weather changes all the time, sun, wind, rain, seldom snows and when it is a clear night, the stars! You do need to think carefully about our description of the place and what you can do to help us. For most, probably a maximum of two to three weeks would be ideal, but if you are enjoying yourself, yes of course stay longer. Being here, bored and nowhere to go would not be good. Due to insurance, it is not practical to have others driving our car. If independence is required, it would be easier to hire a car. Remember this is Ireland, the winters are wet, often windy and can feel cold! Some areas can become very muddy. Summers are far better but still can be windy and wet. We provide Wellingtons. However you must have warm clothes and a waterproof jacket.
I was a teacher before retirement and Shelagh is a photographer and did have a jewelry business in Maine, USA where she lived for 25 years. There she lived alone with her 10 cats in the solar powered house she designed and had built nestled in 10 acres of forest on a small lake. Prior to that she was a long distance sailor who crossed the Atlantic 6 times on small boats and ended up living in the Caribbean for 12 years. She is now very keen on art, watercolors mainly so goes to lessons twice a week nearby. We both go to Tai Chi lessons in Ballina. Shelagh goes swimming in a local indoor pool for exercise and relaxation. You would be more than welcome to join us in these activities or simply have private time off. One of my other passions apart from gardening is fishing! A few yards away is the Loch and nearby I fish for salmon in the River Moy! We love showing visitors the local sights when we are not working on the garden.
Cooking / shopping
Help in the house
The area has numerous Neolithic sites within an hour or so, several old abbeys, one within 10 minutes walk and we are not far from stunning coastline. Our closest town is Ballina on the River Moy which has an interesting history. It is a remote rural area located in a beautiful corner of Ireland. The husband has been trained as a botanist but has been a teacher most of his life and is very keen on gardening. My wife is a photographer and a budding artist! She has sailed across the Atlantic six times so is also a passionate sailor.
It is, to be blunt and realistic, not the best place to improve your English language skills. We are not English teachers and do need people with reasonable English language skills. Lack of English makes life difficult for us all. Otherwise we get into a Faulty Towers situation with the ‘Que’ problem which is frustrating and could through misunderstanding be dangerous.
Heavy work helping to get the garden into shape, weeding, trimming hedges, cutting grass, moving stones around, digging the soil over. General garden maintenance, weeding, cleaning the chicken coups, cutting some tree branches, cutting hedges. Always odd jobs in the house which is a bungalow, help keeping the house clean and tidy would be a huge help.If you enjoy cooking, do feel free to muck in or cook us some meals!
We really need someone who understands gardening, so many workaways tick the box for gardening, do you really have those skills not someone who thinks that any fool can garden. Distinguishing what is a weed and what is precious is a challenge. If unsure, just ask.
I would describe this garden as the most difficult and frustrating that I have experienced having had many gardens in my life from scratch to maturity. It is the speed at which grass especially and certain of the weeds can grow back. Breaking the cycles of these weeds is our challenge and this is one aspect that we desperately need help. I have had areas clear of weeds in March, by the end of the year, we are back to square one!
Whilst you stay with us, we do have insurance provided by AIB bank backed by AXA. You will have to sign a contract for this cover to be applied. Hopefully all hosts provide this cover as well.
English, Welsh, smattering of French, a few words of Spanish
On the shores of Lough Conn, a one acre site with an interesting garden and rare plants, collection of hens and guinea fowl, cats and even a pine martin has made a home with us. Plenty of bird life on the lake and the otters are around. One cozy warm bedroom with a double bed overlooking the lake, shared bathroom, shared cooking facilities. Remember there are five cats so it would not be suitable for someone with allergies! We keep the bedrooms cat free! If you want to cook your own meals, that is no problem. We will provide all your meals and buy any food you need. We work with solar power so we use our washing machine on sunny days. We are retired so are always around. We are non smokers, don’t drink but certainly do not mind if you want a glass of wine with your meals. We have no TV hooked up so we tend to watch dvd’s on the TV occasionally. We have reduced our intake on meat considerably but can cope with gluten free diets. We can easily be vegan if you are. We have wonderful views of Errew Abbey about 10 minute walk away, Nephin mountain and Loch Conn. We have kayaks available to go on Lough Conn. There is no public transport nearby, but we always like having days off from work to explore the local area and you would give us the excuse. We live in an unspoiled part of Ireland. Even here the modern world catches up with us, many miles away near Bangor Erris there are the biggest wind turbines in Europe, we unfortunately can see them and their red warning lights at night! Progress?! And they are probably 20 miles away so we at least do not hear them.
Local transport is problematical, we have a bicycle if you want to be independent and Crossmolina is about 5 km away. Otherwise we will take you where you want to go. Knock is about an hour away by car for flights from most of Europe. There is a good rail and bus service from Dublin to Ballina about half an hour away. We would of course pick you up from any of these places. We have no landline and use Skype via the Internet instead. There are no restrictions on the use of the internet but the signal is best in the living room. It is a satellite link so streaming and playing games will limit the bandwidth of the internet and make it difficult for everyone to use. But why should you be playing computer games when there is so much to see and do.
We believe passionately in the workaway ethos of give and take. If you want a very structured approach, let us know otherwise we are very reactive to situations as they arise. However we will always make sure you have your own free and private time.
We have had some workaway situations that have not been satisfactory for either parties so we now insist on a week to see whether things work out. It means that there must be plan B if we find that things do not work out.
We have a septic tank and it cannot digest plastics, wet wipes, q tips, sanitary towels. If you wish to dispose of such things, it is easy to give them to us to safely dispose of.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week. We can be flexible.
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