Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Stories From Nature – November 18

Thinking Afresh in a Time of Climate Change

Saturday November 18th, 10am – 4pm

How should we think in an age of Climate Change? How can we speak differently about its challenges?

On November 18, we will be hosting a day on how our stories from and about nature might help us navigate the current ecological and climate changes. In a creative and participative way, we will explore the roots of our relationship with the natural world and begin to express that relationship in ways that might help us to live in a time of radical ecological change.

The day is hosted by Paul Kingsnorth and John Cleary.

Paul is a writer and thinker based in Co Galway. His work focuses on the interaction of humans and nature and he has a particular interest in spiritual ecology. John has studied climate change in the context of food security and recently worked with affected communities in Vietnam.

Cost for the day is €15 (includes lunch and snacks)

To book a place, email us at: or phone 087 2845443

Learn Composting and Soil Care – October 7th

COMPOSTING and SOIL CARE, Saturday – 7th October

With Istvan Marguly

Learn all about soil:

  • How to create healthy soil
  • How to build up soil fertility
  • How to test your soil
  • How to make bio-fertilisers etc.
  • Learn how to have beautiful compost in just 18 days!
  • Turn your kitchen waste into a rich resource

10am – 4pm. Cost for the day is €35.

For more information and to book your place, contact: or phone 0872845443

Nurturing Nature – September 23rd

Our next day on Nurturing Nature is on September 23rd from 10am to 4pm.

Writer Paul Kingsnorth and consultant ecologist Janice Fuller will facilitate the day. It will be a day of exploration of nature in our everyday lives.  How can we reconnect with the wonders of the natural world in our own lives and communities?  What can we do to communicate its importance to others?

It will be a nourishing day on many levels. We will be both indoor and outdoor.

The event is grant-aided.  The cost is 20e for lunch and refreshments.

To book email us at or phone 0909741689 before September 16th.

Awesomeness, Intimacy, Place

I do not often succumb to the urge to write! However an event yesterday is niggling me to do so. I attended the launch of the bird-hide in Portumna Forest Park on Saturday – a project conceived by Kieran Fallon of Coillte and Helen Carty of National Parks and Wildlife Service. The hide was built with the purpose of being able to view the White-tailed Sea Eagles on Church Island.
For me the launch was a special and moving occasion. The convenience of 4 telescopes allowed us to get close up to the now almost fully fledged chicks and it was a marvel. I also got a short view of some of Richard Foyle’s magnificent photos.

But there is another memory of the afternoon that is staying with me- maybe somewhat haunting me but in a very awesome way. This experience did not happen at the hide but on the walk to the hide. On the way I caught up with Anne Rabbitte and as we were chatting she told me that recently when she was out on the callows, one of the adult eagles landed close by. As she was describing the experience she conveyed a great sense of being overwhelmed, that she was trespassing and that she needed to get out of the place. I may be mistaken but I think this was not just a sense of fear but a sense of awe, a sense of the eagle’s strong presence and majesty, and of being overwhelmed with a deep sense of ‘place’. 

I like to stay with that feeling and believe that it is not only size that evokes such an experience and that the insect, tree, worm, mouse and all nonhuman species evoke a similar sense of awesomeness, intimacy and place. I am reminded of one of John Feehan’s mantras – ‘size is no measure of complexity’. Indeed John also describes a similar experience which he had on encountering a herd of elephants in the night in Malawi some years ago. He writes ‘ How can anybody who experiences this presence be so presumptuous as to deny this creature its God-given place on the earth? How can anybody who has come face to face with the elephant butcher it frivolously – so that some of us may use its teeth to decorate ourselves or its feet as umbrella stands in fashionable hallways – or banish it from the home for which it is made, so that we can grow tobacco?’

Migrating Trees

There has been a lot of attention focused on the role of climate change and increasing occurrences of severe weather events being contributing factors in human migration and conflict over the last decade and more.  Sea-level rise, extended droughts, and severe flooding events are just some of the symptoms that humans seek to move away from in attempts to safeguard families, cultures, and livelihoods.

Plants that have adapted to specific conditions in various regions are also finding themselves less able to thrive in changed climatic patterns but are without the locomotive capabilities of humans. ‘Assisted migration’ is an interesting response, but obviously comes with risks attached and is somewhat counter-intuitive given the strong rationale for planting natives that has informed much tree-planting in recent years. Perhaps it’s time to move past a strict line on this and increase the diversity of our tree species with an eye to the future?

What are your thoughts?

If you’re interested in this topic:


Seminar – Saturday, 1st of April

On Saturday April 1st we are delighted to be hosting a seminar on the theme of Care for our Common Home – Reconnect with the Sacred in Nature.

This will be a lively and positive day. We will be deeply inspired and our horizons will be broadened as the facilitators offer us a new vision and a new approach to everyday life.

Facilitators: Nellie McLaughlin, Paul Kingsnorth

Nellie teaches Creation Spirituality and is author of Out of Wonder and Earth’s Sacred BalancePaul is a writer and thinker and is interested in Spiritual Ecology.

Cost: €10 (Grant aided. Lunch included.)

Please book your place by March 25  – Ph. 087 284 5443 /

National Tree Week, 8 – 15 March

Each year we look forward to Tree Week and we always have some native trees and hedgerows lined up for planting.

Last year’s native hedgerow planted by 4th class from the local primary school is thriving. This year we will be planting another hedgerow and some trees.

We love our native trees and hedgerows and plant them for their own sakes but we are also keenly aware of the amount of wildlife they support – varieties of birds, of bees, of butterflies, myriads of insects, mammals, lichens, mosses, liverworts and ground vegetation-wild flowers. Our native trees are so beautiful and so rich in flowers and berries.

We are reminded of John McGahern’s observation that in the midst of confident life we forget what an amazing glory we are part of. In his book Memoir he describes the place in which he grew up:

The hedges are the glory of these fields, especially when the hawthorn foams into streams of blossom each may and June. The sally is the first tree to green and the first to wither, and the rowan berries are an astonishing orange in the light from the lakes every September. These hedges are full of mice and insects and small birds, and sparrowhawks can be seen hunting all through the day. In their branches the wild woodbine and dog rose give off a deep fragrance in summer evenings, and on their banks grow the foxglove, the wild strawberry, primrose and fern and vetch among the crawling briars….

Open Planting Day

We will have an open planting day on Wednesday 8th March. Let us know if you are coming. We do a mixture of native plants for the hedgerows – predominantly Whitethorn and Blackthorn, as they form a dense hedge. We add Holly, Guelder Rose, Spindle, Alder, Wild Rose, Hazel, Alder buckthorn and Purging buckthorn. This year we are also planting some trees – Birch, Alder, Rowan, Willow, Hazel and Bird Cherry.

Exercising the power that you have

The 2017 Oxford Real Farming Conference took place in early January and is a forum for discussing and developing approaches to agriculture and food that are based on ecological principles rather than the dictates of neoliberal economics. The opening plenary, touching on the topics of food democracy, politics and public health among others, was given by Olivier de Schutter and is well worth a listen. Although his focus in the talk is the UK, many of the points remain valid in the Irish context.

Audio Interview – Frederick Kirschenmann

Here’s an interesting interview with Frederick Kirschenmann. Kirschenmann has been a leading figure in the US over the last several decades in the area of sustainable, organic farming. The interview ranges over a number of topics including the depletion of resources (particularly Phosphorus), biodynamic agriculture, bioregionalism and the emerging new economy.

Listen to the episode here: