Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Carraig Dulra

We have come to the end of our stay in Wicklow at Carraig Dulra and its slightly odd to be adjusting back to life indoors with the civilised world of electricity, hot water and beds (though we are missing our sheepskin mattresses!). Part of our working day there was taken up with the simple activities of just living, eg. heating water to take a shower, foraging for food from the extensive vegetable garden and permaculture food forest on the site, chopping up firewood for fuel, and even collecting water from the spring and carting it up the hill when the pump was broken. It was a much slower pace of life, but an enjoyable one and it’s surprising how quickly we slotted into a completely different routine and way of life. Ending the routines that we usually live and adjusting to this new, more feral existence seemed to occur so naturally. The time went incredibly quickly, and yet to think back to the first few days we spent there it all seems such a long time ago. It was made even more enjoyable by the fantastic company of the other WWOOFers who were also working there.

The Kitchen!

Another candle-lit evening in the Yurt!

We have essentially been living in a mini WWOOFer community (7 WWOOFers max) on a slightly exposed hill surrounded by the Wicklow mountains with a yurt, outdoor kitchen and compost loo for company. It was a great experience and quite different to anything else we have encountered whilst WWOOFing, working with and getting to know people from lots of different nationalities (Israeli, French, American, Italian and German). We now have plenty of contacts for further travels in the future!

We have weeded, made jam, worked in a store, cooked beetroots in the fire, fed pigs, moved pigs, watered pigs, mulched trees, played “Dubito” (Italian cheat), drank lots of tea, cut grass, eaten honey straight from the hive,

showered out in the open with beautiful views, eaten very healthfully and well (especially when the Sicilians took over the kitchen!), taken odd trips to the lobby of the Grand Hotel, Wicklow for the use of their wifi, lounged in the beautiful sunshine on top of a hill, sat in front of the fire in the yurt, watched stars and sunsets, and had great conversations late into the evening, and pointed out several times that it is our English and not that of America that is correct! We can also recommend putting garam masala in porridge – a surprising taste sensation!

Tommaso building the ‘Sunshine Shower’

The basic camp set-up made the experience completely unique, and very rewarding – a totally tranquil place to be (most of the time!) and the evenings spent in the Yurt laughing and eating with the other WWOOFers and the host family (and their vision in creating this place), Mike, Suzie and children will be remembered very fondly indeed. There were a few odd ‘low’ points which starkly contrasted with the general calm feel of the place: for a few days at the beginning we had to collect eggs from the rather mangy and smelly “free range” chickens on a neighbouring farm;

people attending a weekend course, made us feel strangely as though they were invading our personal space despite the fact we had only been there a week and wild children making one particular mealtime during the course rather more stressful than was necessary; and we also had a long day of miserable rain where we were all cooped up inside the yurt with not a lot to do… These things really just highlight what a fine balance was struck at Carraig Dulra, and how the slightest outside input could unsteady the community even just momentarily whilst we re-adjusted then continued with living at our own pace. Overall it has been a fantastic experience and yet again on the whole we have been blessed with good weather!

Now we are being tourists, planning on exploring the south west (headed for Dingle) and west for the next week or so. We are currently treating ourselves to a few nights B and B on a sheep farm near Limerick, had a great Full Irish for breakfast and even managed to learn a bit about sheep shearing too – we can’t get away from farms at the moment it seems!

In other exciting news we have just found out that we will be stewarding in the body and soul ‘festival-within-a-festival’ at the Electric Picnic festival next weekend – it’s Ireland’s version of Glastonbury, so we can’t wait for that. Fingers crossed that our shifts don’t clash with too many of the bands we want to see!

1 comment:

  1. Oh you guys! It just sounds gurt (or yurt...?) lush and I can't wait to come visit you on your farm in due course! PLEASE can you have an outdoor shower at your place, they are my favouritest things in the world!! Have a good festival and see you in a few weeks. love Kelly x x