PLEASE READ CAREFULLY BEFORE APPLYING
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Volunteers normally come throughWWOOF Ireland or Help Exchange. We have been hosts since 2007, and have hosted over 250 wwoofers and many local volunteers have also passed through our farm in that period. We also wwoofed ourselves with our 4 children for half a year in Europe so have be able to create our own Carraig Dulra wwoof experience: the main part of that is is to wwoof in a small group of other wwoofers. We host 2-6 at a time. Many of our volunteers also end up doing work with other hosts in the area; we have links with several host families.
During the busy season, we co-create a kind of small community of volunteers at the farm. We've found it a great way to host, as the sense of community and meeting others is fun, which makes the work much nicer!
We prefer WWOOFers and Help Exchangers to stay for at least 2 weeks; as with any new project, there's a learning curve. Longer stays of 2-3 months are great for us and a deeper experience of the place and people for the volunteers.
What you need to consider! Farm work is hard work. However, as ours is a learning place with lots of different projects as we develop them, there is plenty of variety. You get to learn about organic growing, bee keeping, permaculture, natural building, nature and bush craft and more. Being interested in learning is a critical element to being a good volunteer for us, and getting the most out of the experience for you. We find that work done with others also helps keep it fun.
Volunteers live close to nature at our farm as we have no hot water and no electricity in the living areas (there is access to electricity onsite for charging mobile phones and internet access for occasional use). For washing dishes, laundry and yourself you need to boil water. Accommodation is camping (we have some caravans, a small cabin, tents and some sleeping bags. The group work out who is in which accomodation. We have a covered camp kitchen for communal cooking, a cob pizza oven, rocket stoves and wood BBQ. In the evenings, we have a library cabin, a sauna with a wood stove to sit in, chat, dry out wet clothes and wash in. There is also the greenhouse and occasionally a yurt to make music in if anyone has that talent and when they don't, a place to sit and chat and relax.
There are two villages each about 3 miles away from the farm. Several volunteers have found the walk ok and we can sometimes lend bicycles. There is a bigger town 15 mins by car and volunteer who feel comfortable doing so often hitch hike there.
Working Hours: We give everyone some choice in which way they work :
- some might be cooking for the rest of the group that day
- some working on different jobs on the farm,
- some working in groups or some alone,
- each person finding their own pace and rhythms
- some being early risers others happy to wash dishes late at night in the dark by candle light
We give lists of current work projects and explain how things like compost heaps and compost toilets work. We don't always assign jobs, but allow the group to self organize as much as possible. We are good as spotting talents now!
Then it depends on what is going on in the rest of our lives how often we will call in and out. Usually wwoofers see one of us every day or two days. There are also other people involved with the development of our project and sometimes other wwoof hosts that drop by to help or visit.
Everyone learns what it is like to live with others in a simple way. Comments from past wwoofers tell us that people love the opportunity to get closer to nature, new people and new parts of themselves. They like our family atmosphere and the opportunity to meet other people from the area.
Time with your hosts.
We don't live on the site of the small-holding but close by. We are still developing every aspect of Carraig Dúlra trying to create local livelihoods (our own included) from our activities while still offering a lot outside of the money economy to our local community. We design and manage all aspects of the the farm in a collaborative manner but, we also spend a lot of time on the administration: the business side, marketing courses, book-keeping, research and supporting our outreach projects. We still volunteer ourselves in our wider community often in sustainablity projects, some we've helped start: community and school gardens, transition towns, and local small producer supports and events.
With having four children, ( most are teenagers and young adults now) our lives are busy!
Therefore, it is important to note that our volunteers form a group that needs to be able to work on tasks quite autonomously at times. We spend time teaching volunteers new skills and stop and chat about all sorts of ideas, Irish culture and so on. We are often in the farm office, and gardens, but may be working off site some days. With well established groups we will sometimes be able to be away for short periods. Someone is always available by phone to support volunteers as needed.
What you need to provide us.
If you are not members of Wwoof Ireland (And we'd prefer that you are.) We will need emergency contact details, and see proof of insurance. (We have only had to use these rarely, but things do happen. We have had two wwoofers end up in hospital: one with a thyroid problem and one got hit by a car while (rather foolishly) jogging in the dark and broke his elbow. So we do insistent about these details.
Please note that unfortunately we cannot provide assistance for any Irish Visa applications
Food is vegetarian and not processed. We buy in quite a lot of the fruit and vegetables as we would not have enough in the gardens for much of the year. Therefore please note that not all food supplied is local or organic. However, making sure everyone has enough to eat is important, and we make sure no one goes hungry. When the garden has surplus we do supply some from there especially fresh leafy greens and salads. We will help teach you how to cook economically for a large group! Volunteers buy their own luxury food items.
The menu most groups create is roughly something like this:
Breakfast choices: porridge, fruit, yogart, organic eggs from neighbour, pancakes, cheese.
Lunch- (on the farm this is main meal to help fuel the work and because it is hard to cook late in the dark) various styles of vegetable stews with lentils, beans (curries, chillies, etc) or stir fries with spices, chinese or indian; some bulk carbohydrate- potatoes rice, pasta, or couscous, salads.
Supper -soups, salad, bread, eggs, peanut butter, fruit crepes etc Or a pizza night for a social evening.
We ask that volunteers are conscious of their use of the more expensive or fast disappearing ingredients fruitm bread, cheese, peanut butter, sugar, We call this portion awareness and sometimes call it out if the main meal looks to be just enough, to make sure those in the front of the line don't take too much and leave others hungry.
We have a lot of applications and have limit to the number of places we can offer each year. We try to get a nice mix of different nationalities, experience, age and gender so may not be able to accept you for several reasons.
If you would like to come please write and let us know why Carraig Dúlra interests you and give us a bit more information about yourself, your experiences and what areas you think you'd enjoy contributing to the most. Please ALWAYS email. We don't take volunteers without prior arrangement.
Volunteers can stay in touch via the Carraig Dulra volunteers facebook group
We are on Couchsurfing as THECLAN, where you can read some comments about us. And are listed on Help Exchange but prefer people to volunteer through Wwoof Ireland.
To contact us, please email us at email@example.com