Weekend in the Hills

CELT Weekend in the Hills – 2 days of traditional craft workshops.   Courses include:

Woodcarving, Súgán Chair, Adventure Bushcraft, Leatherwork, Sheepskin Tanning, Spinning, weaving & Dyeing, Mosaic, Herblore, Meet the Bees and more… 

Once known as Weekend in the Woods, this popular two day event is now held at Slieve Aughty Centre, an eco friendly and certified organic venue, situated 10 km outside Loughrea town in county Galway. A busy equestrian and activity centre, the venue has ample space for parking, camping and even has 9 glorious bedrooms and two lodges for those who wish to experience some luxury for a night or two. Meals are prepared by the team at Slieve Aughty Centre, and must be booked in advance. You can email or ring them on 090 9745 246.

NEXT EVENT September 28th & 29th! at Slieve Aughty Centre, Kylebrack West, Loughrea, Co Galway.

One day courses: €72.50/adult 
Two day courses: €145/adult course, €85/child 
NEW family rate: €410 for two adults and two children 
All courses now include organic lunch!

View Courses

Those attending the events, spend one or two days (depending on the course) learning their chosen skill. Most students go home with a finished piece, although this is not the objective of the event. The aim is to teach the techniques and skills needed to go home and persue the craft or subject studied over the weekend. 

Saturday begins at 9am with registration and a short introduction. Courses start at 10am and finish up at about 5pm each day. Lunch is usually at 1pm. Súgán chair usually goes over time on the Sunday evening, sometimes as late as 8pm in order to complete all chairs. Saturday night is  spent around the camp fire telling tales and singing, so remember to bring your instruments and warm up your vocal chords! 

For all course booking enquiries please email Jenny at celtskills@gmail.com or call her on 086 321 4929.

For accommodation and meal enquiries please email Esther at info@slieveaughtycentre.com 

Global Strike for Climate Action Friday 20th September 2019

Press Release From Trócaire: A Global Strike for Climate Action has been called for Friday 20th September.

There’ll be millions marching across the world. 

You can join a strike taking place near you or you can organise your own action in your community. Together we’re going to make this the biggest mobilisation ever, because we know it works, and we know it’s urgent.

In March this year, 16,000 young people across Ireland and 1.6 million globally came out on a School Strike for climate action. The power of young people walking out of school was so strong, the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar had to come out and say he supported them.

A massive increase in climate action and ambition is urgently needed globally and here in Ireland. 

The impacts of climate change are already visible here in Ireland, and as we know only too well, it is having devastating impacts on poverty and hunger in the countries where Trócaire works. Communities in the Horn of Africa have experienced extremely low levels of rainfall for two consecutive seasons. This is coming after a severe drought two years ago. Communities simply do not have enough time to recover from the losses incurred from one drought before the next drought hits.

We need to make September 20th the moment in history after which no politician can allow further harm to our climate – and to do that, we all need to come out and support the young people who are leading the way, fighting for their future.  Click here for info on the Dublin and Cork #ClimateStrikes.

If you can’t make it to the Dublin or Cork strikes, you can organise something in your community/town or workplace. Go out on the street or to a local landmark with your colleagues at lunch and take a picture in support of the strike or meet up at your school gate or work entrance….more ideas here. If you are organising something please register it on the Action Map here.  

Our friends in the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition will add your event to this Map, which shows where similar events are happening around Ireland, there are already 50+ planned! Let’s show our decision makers that people right across the Island are calling for action.

All the resources you could need are here.  Once you register your event, you will be linked up with a brilliant team of Climate Strike Volunteers who will give you any support you need, getting into the local press, writing a press release or recruiting a team of helpers as well as attendees! 

Check out schoolsclimateaction.ie  and fridaysforfuture.ie to stay up to date.

Remember, join your local strike, or organise a local action and post it on the Action Map. See you on the streets on September 20th!

Polly Higgins – Stop Ecocide Become An Earth Protector

On April 22nd 2019 – Polly Higgins, one of the most inspiring figures in the green movement, died aged 50. For those who don’t know of Polly she dedicated her life to finding a way to create a legal duty of care for the Earth with the aim to impose a legal duty on governments to protect the public from dangerous industrial practices.

Right now, ecocide (destroying the Earth) is legally permitted.
Help us make it a crime.
There is nothing more powerful you can do with two minutes and a fiver. Visit www.stopecocide.earth/become to sign up.

ECOCIDE is serious loss, damage or destruction of ecosystems, and includes climate and cultural damage.
We believe ECOCIDE should be recognised as an atrocity crime at the International Criminal Court – alongside Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity. ~ www.stopecocide.earth/ecocide

The Saltee Islands

On Wednesday 24th July we finally got around to visiting the Saltee Islands which are located just off Kilmore Quay Co Wexford.

Visiting The Saltees has been our ‘To Do’ list for so many years it’s embarrassing how long it has actually taken us to plan a day out on this Bird lovers paradise!

The Great Saltee Island

Better late than never though so we booked our passage with Declan Bates who runs regular boat trips out to the islands – (You can book by texting him on +353 (0) 87 2926469) and made sure to check the weather in advance. There is practically no shelter on the Saltees (nor toilets/ shops/cafes etc) so a wet day might be a bit – well, miserable. We packed an easy to eat picnic lunch, water, suncream, a cap for the head, fleece and we wore good runners.

Visiting The Saltees

We arrived at Kilmore Quay about 15 minutes before set off and there we got chatting with some of our fellow passengers who included a research team from UCC who have been “on Great Saltee satellite tagging Gannets as part of @uccBEES project looking at where these birds go to feed and on what”..

View Tweet Here https://twitter.com/SamBayley2/status/1151493402174861312?s=20

The Saltee Islands lie 5 km off the coast of Kilmore Quay and are uninhabited save for the one house on the Great Saltee where the Neale family, who privately own the islands, are in residence for a couple of weeks/months a year and thus, when their flag is flying, visitors are requested to afford them privacy and not to approach the house. In fact the family came out to meet us (well, I think they had a visitor on the boat) with their very cute dog as we landed, having transferred from the bigger boat into 6 seater dinghys to bring us the last few metres in to land – watch those waves – some of us got wet, others didn’t… I suggest bringing a small towel with you in case you need to dry off before you go trekking about the island.

Transferring to the the Dinghy to reach shore

Day visitors are allowed on the Great Saltee between 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. only. Arranged trips from Kilmore Quay are approved within these hours only so make sure you book with approved trip providers such as Declan. Discover more about

Arriving at The Saltees – The Flag is Flying

Myself and my partner @WhatsOnWOW set off to the right (about a 30-40 minute walk) to where Cian (the very cool young fella who works on the boats) had directed us for the Gannets. Of course the research team had already set off that way as they were there to remove the tags that they had previously attached to some of the Gannets as part of their research. As we approached we could hear the clacking (and the smell) of these magnificent seabirds grow louder but were quite blown away by the sheer spectacle that confronted us upon turning a corner… Thousands of nesting Gannets with loads of the swirling and swooping around – like a scene from a movie!

That WOW Moment…

Ash Bennison explained the process to us and we watched as they then released the birds – one has to throw them from the cliff rather than let them down on the ground as they are rather angry little birds after being held – watch the video to see what we mean!

Ash Bennison shares some insights
Releasing a Gannet

Well! Who needs Puffins?!! Ok, so we had originally come in the hope of seeing some Puffins but we were ( as feared) a little too late, although there were some Pufflings out to sea apparently but too far for us to see.

No Puffins were home..

The Gannet display was truly wonderful so we were more than happy to find a comfortable rock and have our lunch – what a view!

Lunch on The Saltees

Since visiting The Saltees I’ve discovered that Ash had quite a part to play in discovering that a colony of puffins in Ireland have adapted their behaviour to drastically reduce the effort of searching for food by using the strong tidal currents in the Irish Sea & saving up to 46% of their usual energy usage.
Ref: Tidal drift removes the need for area-restricted search in foraging Atlantic puffins – Ashley Bennison , John L. Quinn , Alison Debney and Mark Jessopp. Read the full article here >>

View Tweet https://twitter.com/Ash_w_b/status/1148868683374235648?s=20

As part of my current Organic Horticulture & Biodiversity course that I am studying I had prepared a metre sq measuring twine so I could lay it down and see how many different species were enclosed. As you can see there are a lot of plants for such a small space and I look forward to identifying all of them next week in class. 😉

Biodiversity Saltees
Metre SQ Biodiversity Check

To finish.. I 100% recommend a trip to the Saltees for anyone who has been thinking about it or for those who didn’t know they existed – there are many! There are a number of boat operators that are approved for trips including Declan Bates whom we went with (Thanks for the recommendation Sam @TweetingGoddess) and also Nick Furlong 087 7738595 (recommended by Hook Rural Tourism Ltd @HookTourism) amongst others.

Bye Bye Saltees 😀

Planning a Yoga Zone

I am planning a rain friendly Yoga Zone for my garden beside the frog pond. It’s pretty exciting and I love discovering ideas on Pinterest. I have a carpenter coming around this evening to have a look and give me an estimate to build it.

Yoga Platform Idea
Img taken from Pinterest Outdoor Serving Bar Ideas ArchitectureArtDesigns

I love the look of this one above and the slanted roof for rain (aka Ireland!). Obviously I would have to add some sort of walls and allow a space for the stove flue to go out the side. I recently had a go of a Yoga trapeze swing and it was super! So I am thinking to add a bar for same too. This design allows for plenty of room!

As I live in Ireland mine may include an indoor stove . I found these small stoves that are apparently perfect for Shepherds huts and Bell tents so I may invest in something like this Pipsqueak Mini Wood Burning Bell Tent Stove!

Has anyone here created an outdoor Yoga platform in their garden? Any tips are welcome.. To stay updated and get ideas why not follow my Pinterest Board here >>

Eco Wedding Venues

Eco Marriage Made in Heaven

Are you a nature lover looking for a unique eco friendly Wedding Venue in Ireland? Our Members at Slieve Aughty Centre offer a magical eco wedding experience that you’ll never forget.

With gorgeously designed rooms, some of which have interlinking balconies (perfect for the Bride and her maid of honour), separate chalet style accommodations and their organic restaurant you can be sure of a unique alternative style wedding that will make your guests sigh with pleasure!

Slieve Aughty offer civil ceremonies, indoor or outdoor and the grounds are seriously cute with a myriad of artistic signage and crafty objects lovingly positioned to make you smile.

With fairy houses, twinkling outdoor lights, chill out areas and even a magical woodland close by, Weddings at Slieve Aughty are truly the stuff of dreams for the nature loving Bride & Groom.

We only cater for one to two weddings per week and can comfortably accommodate up tp 80 guests for your ceremony and meal. Additional guests may be invited to your afters.  The venue is exclusively yours with incredible photo opportunities on our 30 acres and in the surrounding landscape.  Horses can be a part of your photos or entertainment for kids, and the surrounding 2,000 acres of forestry ensure privacy and peace on your day.  Check out the photo gallery to see for yourself.

We offer 3 different all-inclusive packages starting at €78 per person, or you can customise your day. For more details see our brochure.
Guests stay in The Three Towers Eco House, Eco Lodges and glamping cabins. The venue can accommodate up to 32 sharing guests. Other accommodation is available within 10 km. Transport can be arranged. Complimentary accommodation is provided for the Bride & Groom in the Bridal Suite with en-suite pebble bath and access to a balcony with views over the hills and fields.

Discover more about Slieve Aughty here or email weddings@slieveaughtycentre.com to book your personal showcase today.

Organic Horticulture Course Wicklow Town

Did you know that you can study Organic Horticulture for FREE in Wicklow?

The course is part time and runs for 32 weeks – currently it is due to start next Monday 15th July 2019 however, as it is dependant on numbers to proceed I am sharing this to encourage any other like minded folks to get in touch with Wicklow Training on +353 (0)45 988050. I have applied this morning 🙂

The aim of this award is to enable the learner carry out horticulture operations independently under direction in a range of fields. The award will also enable learners to prepare for progression to a horticultural specialisation at level 6.

Education: No formal education or qualifications are required although applicants may have participated in primary and secondary education. Applicants will be expected to demonstrate a standard of knowledge, skill and competence equivalent to NFQ Level 4 when accessing a Level 5 programme.
Aptitude: Applicants must have a motivation to learn, an interest in the subject and the ability to acquire the knowledge, skills and competencies set out in the course
Previous Experience: Applicants must be able to demonstrate a moderate range of knowledge, skills and competencies relevant to the course, be able to work with responsibility and demonstrate the ability to work on their own initiative.

Title Award Awarding Body
Teamworking Teamworking (5N1367) QQI
Work Practice Work Practice (5N1433) QQI
Plant Identification And Use Plant Identification & Use (5N2527) QQI
Plant Science Plant Science (5N2528) QQI
Biodiversity And The Natural Environment Biodiversity & the Natural Environment (5N2553) QQI

On completion of this programme learners will have the skills, knowledge and competencies to undertake horticulture operations independently under direction in a range of fields. The award will also enable learners to prepare for progression to a horticultural specialisation at level 6

This programme can be used to gain a Level 5 Major Award in Horticulture. Modules include Biodiversity and the Natural Environment, Plant Science, Plant ID & Use, Teamworking & Work Practice.

Wicklow Training on +353 (0)45 988050
REF: 229285 – Organic Horticulture – LTI

Wilder Wander Digital Gamified Tours For Kids

Wilder Wander offer free family-friendly digital gamified tours on trails that might be of interest, especially for summer! Locations include Courtown Woods, The Raven Woods, Kilmore Quay, The Dodder, Tara Hill, Enniscorthy, The Dublin Mountains and many more.

The interactive games are played using your mobile phone and help kids and adults explore the area around them and discover the wildlife to be found there.

Download the FREE App,Search for FREE Tours,Get outdoors, discover your local area and have fun! To download the app and find out more visit www.WilderWander.com

Live on an island with broadband to rival New York!

Have you heard about the search for new residents to join the community of Arranmore off Co Donegal?

“Not only are they offering new residents the chance of a delightful place to retire to, the community is trying to make the island a more attractive place for families and business people who work remotely. Arranmore now boasts of internet speeds that rival Dublin, London and New York City.”

We think this is one unique offer worth checking out!

Read the full article here >>

Green-Schools Teacher Training Course

Did you know that Green-Schools – Ireland’s leading environmental management and education programme for schools, have a range of teacher training Summer courses available in Dublin, Meath and Online that will appeal to all teachers with an interest in the environment.

The Climate Action Team from the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce, in conjunction with Green-Schools and the Climate Ambassador programme, have developed a new online short course specifically for primary school teachers in Ireland. The main aim is to empower primary teachers to confidently explore climate change as part of the curriculum and encourage climate action in your school communities.

Discover more at greenschoolsireland.org

Baya Storyteller

Baya is a storyteller, a performance artist and a motivational speaker.

Her courses and events offer a unique brand of storytelling which blends research with current day applications and performances.

She speaks at training events and conference

Baya has also contributed to the revival of the old Celtic Festivals all over the South East of Ireland, bringing venues to life with her voice and her ceremonies. From The Hook Lighthouse to the walls of Wexford Town, adults and children are entertained and sometimes startled by her tales.

Baya is a member of the Storytellers of Ireland / Aos Scéal Éireann

I also create stories or adapt stories for special occasions sometimes to do with historical buidlings, sometimes a special birthday. I have also created ceremonies and storytelling events for rites of passages like Hens Events.