Killegar Estate near Carrigallen has welcomed the opportunity to host WWOOFers for the summer and already has a group of five energetic volunteers working on the house and in the grounds while learning about local life in the wilds of Ireland.
WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) Ireland is a voluntary, educational exchange which provides opportunities to learn about life and culture by living with families in countries around the world. By becoming members, volunteers can arrange placements with host farms in Ireland and learn about organic growing and sustainable lifestyles.
The five WWOOFers, Valeria Matasci (from Swizterland), Pascal Arlandis, Mathilde Lozachmeur, Marie Breton and Quentin Le Turnier (all French) are working on projects both in and outdoors in preparation for the Mushroom Festival in October. Pascal, who at 39 is the ‘old man’ of the group, is an expert in the use of traditional materials both in the restoration of old buildings and in modern eco-friendly builds. These methods are being used in all the renovation work carried out at Killegar. When Pascal returns home he will be working in conjunction with an architect to build a village in Evaux, central France, using entirely eco-friendly, traditional methods.
Lady Sue Kilbracken has invited Pascal back to Killegar to be a Guest Speaker at the Mushroom Festival in October when he will give a presentation on some of the restoration work undertaken during the summer, which visitors to the festival will be able to see for themselves. He will also be available to answer questions on heritage restoration using every day, inexpensive materials such as flour to make paint.
WWOOF was primarily set up to enable people to learn about organic growing techniques and give practical assistance to producers of organic food but over the years has expanded to incorporate hosts who have a general ethic of respect for the environment. After posting on WWOOF.ie, Killegar had over 75 applicants in a matter of days. Throughout the summer a further eight WWOOFers will be coming and going from as far afield as Germany, Spain, Italy and America. In keeping with the WWOOF ethos of learning about local life, the WWOOFers attended the opening of the art exhibition at Teach Duchais. They will also be visiting Drumshanbo during the Joe Mooney Summer School and the premier of Seamus O’Rourke’s ‘The Sand Park’.