I am a senior activist/gardener/writer/singer with five beautiful acres of wilderness by the sea on the breath-taking Beara Peninsula in West Cork on the Wild Atlantic Way.
Accommodation, in summer, for volunteers is in solar-powered caravans on my small-holding, which is about 8 kms from town - Castletown Berehaven. I also have a cottage in town with good modern facilities, including wi-fi.
Entretien / Bricolage
Cuisine / courses
Aide avec les langues
You would be spending time on one of the loveliest parts of the Wild Atlantic Way, The Beara Peninsula, West Cork. No photography can do it justice but maybe have a look at this short video:
Apart from being an organic/permacultural gardener, I have extensive knowledge and experience of environmental activism. I enjoy passing on the lessons and skills I have learned to those open and eager for that kind of knowledge. But my ears and eyes are also wide open to the lives and interests of my WorkAwayers with whom I have sometimes being so wonderfully surprised.
My other great life-time interest is history, and again, I like passing on my specialist knowledge e.g the Romans in Ireland (they were not supposed to be here!); first Irish contacts with Christianity (much, much earlier than St Patrick/Succat); The Norman Invasion (not really an invasion at all!) ;the Great Irish Famine (I did a very controversial thesis on the subject): I'm also regarded as a bit of an expert on the subject of Sheela na Gigs (Google it, if you wish); the invasions of the Spanish (16th C) and French (1796) in this area and the ever-present activity of smuggling are other subjects that I know quite a bit about and that can enliven guests' experience of a stay at my place. And more ...
In consequence, I guess I'm a good guide to our Irish story, our shores and hinterland.
Films - good films - are also a passion with me and I have quite a selection of DVDs; the Irish-interest ones are often the most popular with visitors: Michael Collins, The Wind that Shakes the Barley, Ryan's Daughter and so on ...
I love getting to our local music festivals (mostly a summer thing) and music-session pubs (all the year round) and exposing my guests to that great Irish cultural experience, 'the Craic'. I contribute, hopefully, to the Craic myself with songs, sometimes in Irish ('sean-nós'), but also I like sea shanties and 'aislings' - I did a good Elvis impression too! One of my favourite - and unique songs - is one I've deeply researched which has roots in the medieval troubadour tradition; it is a dark, deeply romantic story where true love transcends even death itself; ' I must awa' now, I can no longer tarry' ...'the grave that held me was cold and wet'.
Lest it appear that you should have a good knowledge of English to get the most out of a visit here, don't worry; my favourite WA last year was a Russian grandmother who had only the most basic English. We had so much fun - she was a singer too - and laughter together. Coming from deep within Siberia - 1,000 kms east of Moscow - she was completely bowled over by our incessant seascapes (I live on a relatively narrow peninsula).
Need help from January through to October, mostly.
Work is fairly light. I need someone to work alongside me at gardening and building maintenance. At this stage in my life, I have a maxim: if the work is not fun - the work is not done!
I take my Host responsibilities seriously and give my volunteers a really good experience of where I live. I know our history, archaeology and culture well.
My smallholding is right by the sea. I have some small boats, wetsuits and snorkelling gear and, since last summer, a SUP board that can be used by guests. I also have an archery range and several types of bow and enjoy passing on my skills.
For years I farmed organically and ran a lively activist website and had dozens of volunteers. All guest workers have remained friends to this day. I can talk the talk bigtime on environmental issues - and can sing The Whale Song!
First two weeks in August is fiesta time down here on the Beara Peninsula. Last summer I had two volunteers spanning late July and August. I think they really had a ball!
And we even got some work done!
English, Irish, Latin a smidgin of German, French and Spanish - and Aymara!
For summer work, I have two guest caravans. There is some solar power and an outdoor compost toilet. Access directly to the sea and beautiful views across Bantry Bay. For some meals, hot showers, good broadband, etc , use can be made of my modern cottage in Castletown Berehaven, about 8 kms away.
If I have just one guest WA, they usually stay in my cottage in town (8 kms).
It is rather small but the guest would have a comfortable camp bed in my study and, even if I say so myself, very good food.
This video conveys some of the beautiful scenery of this peninsula
The Peninsula is steeped in myths and legends. The mountains and valleys are rich in archaeological sites such as stone circles, wedge graves and other relics from the past. There are scenic lakes cradled by gorgeous mountains and a rugged coastline with lots of great fishing spots. Linking all this together is the Beara Way walking trail, also a cycling route and the Ring of Beara. There are three islands you can visit, Dursey, Garnish and Bere Island and, when my big sailing boat is launched in 2018, The Skelligs, The Blaskets, or over the horizon ...
Local transport is almost non-existent, but I am happy to drive and guide my helpers and get them to cultural events, when the work commitment is over, of course.
I also have bikes, one of them electric and I have a Zodiac inflatable for fishing and excursions.
We are not at the centre of the cultural universe here but we manage to get to a fair share of music pubs, plays, pantos, poetry readings etc
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Five hours a day for 5 days = 25 hours for a week. In summer could do just 3 x 8 hour days