As I've mentioned previously here last year before we left Ireland I was lucky enough to get involved with a couple of week long permaculture courses which were run by Cultivate/Greenworks in Dublin.
The two courses were run by a fantastic teacher by the name of Suzie Cahn. She and her husband Mike have an organic small-holding in Wicklow where among other things they run courses and they also have an OOOOBY (out of our own back yards) store nearby (www.dulra.org/).
While I've always been a Green, taking part in structured courses really opened my eyes to the world of permaculture, sustainable living and hands on skills. Besides the great fun and the learning on the courses (and the great people), there was an immensely empowering feeling of realising that it really is possible to build things and grow things on your own or with friends (while I was always aware that it was possible I just didn't really realise that it was possible for me too and I think a lot of people feel that way, one of the perils of modern living is that we forget these things).
The other thing that really struck me on visiting Carraig Dúlra was how incredibly productive relatively small areas of land can be if they are laid out and designed well. As mentioned in a previous post I'd love to see more of our urban green areas planted with food gardens and orchards rather than ornamental species, I'd love for more people to feel that sense of empowerment.
During the summer of 2011 after I had completed the courses I managed to get back up to Carraig Dúlra a few times with Sam and Ela and some friends I had made on the courses (anyone up in the Louth direction should look up O'Callaghans Edible Garden which is run by some of the folk we went along with). Getting our hands dirty with the planting and weeding was immensely satisfying and the company couldn't have been better. At the time we were living in Dublin and while we had plenty of green around where we were living it couldn't compare with the countryside and it was great watching the kids (ours and others) play and explore by themselves. Below are some photos of one of those visits taken by Marie our au pair at the time (she loved it there too!).
So if anyone is interested in permaculture or just getting in touch with the land and hands on skills look them up and get involved! February is the begining of the planting season here for a lot of things so we have plans afoot to get planting and grow more of our own food next year.
|The orchard with the yurt and sheds beyond|
|The herb and vegtable garden|
|Snack time for Ela|
|The gathering area with a outdoor pizza oven under construction!|