24.6. - 26.7.2021
It has been more than a month since Marjorie and I arrived here, at a small coast town called Moville. From our last host down in Glengarriff, deep in the South, it took us four hours by car, four and a half hours by train and one and a half hours by bus to get here into to heart of the land of fairies.
If you are interested to see our travel journey and the overall daily work routine, here is the link to the video on my channel.
Although we are directly situated at the main road, there is hardly anything that would let one suspect this. Down the curved driveway, set right beside the Bredagh River and surrounded by tall trees, bushes and a lot of green, you mostly hear the crows crowing, the birds chirping or the river and just occasionally a car passing by. It truly is a small sanctuary of nature and provides cool shade and relaxation from the heat wave that has had a tight grip over Ireland these past three weeks. Within the old stone buildings, centuries old, I have no mobile service and the WiFi cannot reach my room on the first floor. This brought me to rekindle my long lost and nearly forgotten passion for books. Or more precisely, it took away all the remaining temptations of internet consumption and presented me in return with the huge collection of books in Seamus’ house and the hostel library. Within this first month I have read eleven books (see the list below), still counting, currently devouring “The Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett. And there is an additional upside to living right beside a camping site and a hostel (that truly is more like a hotel in its love for details, gorgeous interior and special decoration). I have met people I would have never met in a different setting and was able to start conversations with a lot of the guests. Among them were world nomads, families, writers, other WWOOFers. This brings up a lot of interesting and surprising topic ranges and inspired me more than once to creative outputs, from suggested books to handmade thank you notes or travel arrangements.
At the moment there is no permaculture garden here anymore. Up until last year the so called “Eco-Hub”, directly by the side of the river, was thriving through the hands of Brian, also the hostels’ handyman, but since he moved away, it more or less overgrew with weeds and was abandoned. Right now the most urging project is the set up of a poly tunnel on the back side of the property, on a field that was a month ago still overgrown with a vigorous weed. It had been dug up to get the deep roots out of the soil in order to make the land manageable and, as I said, build the poly tunnel. For the most part of my stay here I have been doing the preparation of the earth in order to sow seeds for a variety of grass pasture and insect attracting flowers. Here and there I did weeding, soil preparation and planting of hedges, but mostly I have been appointed the job in the field in the back of the property. It is dull and not very challenging, hard physical labour and causing backaches and blisters on my hands. But it gave me a chance to listen closely to an audiobook, try the meditative Zen way of work and also, which is probably most important, toughen up the soft skin on my balms for future farm work. Sometimes I am able to be of service by helping cleaning the rooms in the hostel, which gives me joy because the staff there is absolutely lovely and, as previously stated, the rooms are just amazingly beautiful. My most favourite task is the feeding of the animals. Every morning for half an hour, smetimes forty minutes, I am able to tend to the chickens, rabbits, geese and goats and it makes my heart beat faster. I adore them and it is the most rewarding thing to enter the fenced area being greeted by the variety of animal sounds, all eager to get fed and have fresh water.
My free time is spend mostly outside as well. Although there are only two walks Marjorie and I can take, we both enjoy them nonetheless. There is the Breadagh River Walk, which is a small path alongside the river itself and also overgrown with weeds because no one maintains it anymore. And there is the concrete path directly along the shore of the ocean. Marjorie doesn’t like to walk very much since we got here, so mostly we walk along the main road, enjoy sitting by the vast green spaces beside the ocean and afterwards walk back along the river, all in all no more than two hours per day. Since we are currently living through a heatwave I do not force her to walk longer distances and in any case she has a lot to do following me around with my tasks during the work week, getting cuddled and belly rubbed from everyone passing her. Either way, her exercise is also balanced by the weekends when we are able to go to the other side of Lough Foyle. From Moville to Greencastle it is quite a distance by foot to the ferry that takes cars and foot passengers over to the Magilligan Point and Benone Beach, but it is so absolutely worth it. We were there two times already, spend the whole day there, and it is just gorgeous. An endless sand beach, not many people and the vastness of the ocean, stretching to the horizon. Sometimes, when it is very clear, you can even see Scotland in the distance and that makes my heart jump with excitement.
As always it took me some time to get used to the life I am leading here, and in the beginning I felt restless and unsettled. Where this feeling came from I do not know. I thought that the work did not challenge me enough, but once I trusted someone else’s view on that matter, they opened my eyes that this could also be seen as an opportunity to focus on the work in a meditative way, as well as getting in close touch with the soil itself and therefore the entities of nature around me.
Then I thought the limited access to possible walking paths was the issue, albeit the Breadth River Trail gives us both joy every time we walk it (here is the link to the video). But clearly enough Marjorie was not eager to walk anyway and now I know that it was me who wanted the exercise, for during walks I can order my thoughts. Gradually I came to terms with the way things are here, and now I see that it was the usual time of adjustment to different ways of living, getting to know the people and the surrounding area. I am very glad to make this experience of acclimatisation over and over again, it teaches me how fast I am getting stuck in my own limited ways of thinking and perception. Above all, it gives me the most welcome chance to not get stuck in my ways and be forced to re-establish my boundaries over and over again. Prior to this whole of a travel experience, I did not have real boundaries to begin with. Now, seven months into it, I am beginning to see where my boundaries lie, with every new host and every new situation I am able to grasp a little more what is dear and important to me, and what is not, what I can bear and how much I have still to learn. It all comes back to gratitude to be honest. When I lose my touch with gratitude everything that happens to me is without a sense, and this senseless state of being is causing me to exaggerate a situation, fall back into belief systems and behavioural patterns, doubt myself and my ambitions, my goals and my ability to achieve them.
There is another host expecting me mid of August, near Lough Key. Since I got invited by Hugh, I have gained another insight about myself, that is how once I know where the next destination is going to be and when I am travelling again, I start to see the place I am currently staying at in a nostalgic light. The things I am going to miss, the things I want to finish before I leave, the things I need to capture with my camera before long. From being mesmerised by the beauty of this place, to doubting if there is validity and value in what I am doing here, to now feeling somewhat sad to leave, once again I can see clearly the depths life has to over as well as the heights. And gratitude for being able to live these highs and lows floods back to me instantly. I am thankful for the lovely family that opened there home to Marjorie and I, thankful especially for Seamus and his kindness in making each and every weekend special, either with a spontaneous outdoor feast or an adventure on his boat out on Lough Foyle or his hundreds of stories about this peninsula Inishowen and the people and places he knows here. Thankful for the strangers I met and the conversations we had, thankful for the part I played in revitalising the back field, thankful for the knowledge how much joy animals give me.
There still are two weeks ahead of us before we go on and meet our last destination here in Ireland, before hitting the road again, back to our beloved Scotland. I am looking forward to those two weeks, all settled in, acquainted with the rhythm and the life here, enjoying reading and having the ocean practically at the front of the door.
So much for an update, all of this is also available in motion picture on my YouTube channel, currently Part 1, very soon Part 2. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy days and reading or watching my journey. I am blessed by all of you, thank you so very much!
Love and light, beloved souls
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