Sunday, 8 August 2010

Back to the WWOOFing

Our trip to Ireland has started well for us, it has been good to be back WWOOFing after our enforced break, and Laura’s ankle is holding up very well to being back at work.

Since last Tuesday we have been on a smallholding right on the banks of Cork harbour, near a small village called Carrigtwohill. Our hosts, Peter and Carragh have been great and we’ve really felt very welcomed. It’s been different to be staying with hosts of a similar age to ourselves, and good to meet other ‘younger’ people interested in living a more self sufficient lifestyle. It is a very family orientated life here with various siblings and other relations living close by and dropping in at regular intervals. We had an interesting evening chatting to Peter’s granddad, and have come to realise how amazingly poor our grasp of what is essentially fairly recent British/Irish history is. I’m sure we were taught nothing of how Ireland came to be controlled by the British at school, and equally little of the uprisings and civil war here, the creation of the Irish free state and eventually the foundation of the Republic in the first part of the 20th century. Why was that?

As for the work we spent our first two days working in an orchard within the walled garden that they have here. We were clearing and mowing the overgrown ground of weeds and long grass ready for when the apples are ready to harvest in the autumn – they turn all the apples into delicious apple juice (we tried some of last years – delicious!).

We’ve also done a few other odd jobs including babysitting Peter and Carragh’s children, harvesting some onions, planting a few lettuces, moving a fence, watering the greenhouse and feeding the pigs – which is quite a funny spectacle to watch as they try to get the feed off me as I carry it over to the far corner of their field where the trough is!

On Saturday we worked in the morning finishing the last bit of clearing in the walled garden then had the afternoon to go and explore. We went to the Ballymaloe cookery school (which is nearby and is owned and run by Carragh’s family) and ate delicious pizzas, before going for a lovely walk in the baking hot sunshine along the cliffs at Ballycotton and stopping for the first Guinness of our trip! Today we went down to Kinsale which is a lovely seaside town near Cork where we had some lunch, then in the afternoon explored the coast for a while before heading back along to the cliffs near Ballycotton. This time walking along from the other direction and stopping in a small cove where we went swimming – it was bracing! And then we warmed up sunbathing and reading for an hour or two on the shore.

In a change to our previously advertised itinerary we are headed up to Dublin tomorrow and will be staying on Howth, an island overlooking Dublin Bay for the rest of this week. We have been given the opportunity by a friend of Carragh’s to stay in a house there for a few days in exchange for some gardening – and it’s an offer we couldn’t refuse!

1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous. I think Cork is definitely a good potential site for your future homestead, mainly because I want to go there. And I'm jealous you went to Ballymaloe - Rachel Allen is my baking hero! We have had nothing approaching sunbathing weather here, so it is obviously the promised land. Buy now xx