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Connacht Tribune

Feelgood factor of Nature Therapy

Judy Murphy

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Marion Edler from Crann Óg Eco Farm in South Galway with her dog Minnie. Nature Therapy is "about the pleasurable experiences around nature, sustaining us and opening us up to the healing power of nature,” she says. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Lifestyle –  Judy Murphy meets Marion Edler from Crann Óg Eco Farm who promotes the values of a simple life alongside nature

In a society where most of us spend our lives rushing around, usually glued to our mobile devices, Nature Therapy can help us slow down and become aware of ourselves and the world around us.

So says Marion Edler from Crann Óg Eco Farm in South Galway, who will be speaking on the value of Nature Therapy at the Burrenbeo Learning Landscape Symposium, which is taking place in and around Kinvara in early March.

Nature and Forest Therapist Marion will also be leading a walk in the Burren where people will be encouraged to tune into their own bodies by fully engaging with nature.

German-born Marion who runs Crann Óg with her husband, Flor Burke, has been promoting the value of simple living for more than two decades, since she first moved to Drummin at the foothills of the Siabh Aughty mountains.

Their 14-acre eco-farm in the hills has been awarded gold-star status by Eco Tourism Ireland, the internationally recognised accreditation body for sustainable tourism and it’s easy to see why. From the pond area, which Flor and Marion created using a nearby well, to the willows that help drain the naturally boggy soil, they have worked with the natural environment to create a holding that supports their small community – mostly this consists of family members and their co-workers, Paul and Marla, who also live onsite. Volunteers visit regularly, too, wanting to learn more about eco-farming and skills such as living willow sculpting.

Crann Óg has been welcoming tourists for many years, mostly people who want to reconnect with nature. And they do so in an eco-friendly way. The farm’s ‘longhouse’ which can sleep 12, has solar pipes on its roof that provide hot water in summer. In winter, a stove in the longhouse connects with the pipe system, which means there’s always hot water. The compost toilets come complete with instructions and, says Marion, they work brilliantly once people follow these.

For Marion, who lived off-grid for six years after moving to Drummin, the message is that “people can live happily with less”. And with practically everything in Crann Óg being made from recycled material, they are proof that it works. Comfort hasn’t been sacrificed either.

During the summer, in a field away from the main house, guests can also be accommodated in yurts and tepee style tents while having access to an octagonal communal shelter known as the Hogan. This tent, modelled on those of the Native American Navajo, is made from old wood pallets and canvas from a defunct marquee. It has a large circular opening at the apex, so guests can stargaze. Directly below is a circular fireplace, made from the metal rim of a tractor wheel. Even in heavy rain it’s dry inside, according to Marion. It’s where they hold storytelling nights, hosted by Flor, where guests are welcome to share their experiences.

Crann Óg’s location in South Galway is ideal for natural experiences, adds Flor. The Burren is 15 minutes in one direction, while Portumna and Lough Derg are in another. East Clare and its rich musical heritage is just over the mountain, and all around there are connections with Lady Gregory and WB Yeats as well as with Edward Martyn, another key figure in the Celtic revival, whose patronage was responsible for stained glass windows in many local churches, most notably St Brendan’s in Loughrea.

And, for people who want to engage close up with farming, there are ducks and ponies to be fed as well as pet sheep.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Time and history conferred character on this home

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The Hermitage, Ballymoe: on the market with a €425,000 guide price.

The Hermitage at Lisnageeragh, Ballymoe is a property on which time and history has conferred a character that no new property could mirror.

Overlooking 16.3 acres of rolling green fields which are included in the sale, this is indeed a unique house and comes to market with charming well maintained stone buildings. These could provide further family accommodation, holiday rentals or craft studios.

The front hall has a beautiful, curved window and leads to two reception rooms on either side of the house. The sitting room has an open fireplace with a black cast iron surround and wooden floors which gleam from years of care and reflect the light coming from two large windows. To the right-hand side, the dining room also has an attractive bay window and an oil-fired stove and it is indeed the perfect social /entertaining space.

To the rear of the house the kitchen is a classic example of a successful marriage of the old and the new. Bespoke shaker style units combine perfectly with modern recessed lighting, attractive tiling and includes a pantry area to one side. A good-sized bedroom and adjacent bathroom complete the downstairs of the main house.

Upstairs there are four bedrooms one of which has an en suite shower. The main bedroom is a delightful space which leads to another small room, a perfect nursery or walk in wardrobe.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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A time when we learned once more that no man is an island

Francis Farragher

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Country singer Dolly Parton getting the jab: she sang about it and part-funded research on the vaccine.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

One of the oft-repeated pub jokes whenever the price drink was increased, whether it by Finance Ministers or publicans who felt that their margins were being whittled away, was that: “As long as it doesn’t get scarce, we’ll be happy enough.”

Who could have believed though in the first month or two of 2020 that this scenario would unfold (at least in pubs), where the opportunity to meet friends – and the odd ‘auld enemy’ too – over a couple of pints in the local bar would be snatched away from us?

We probably have learned to adapt to the reality of the pandemic and most of us will remember the real sense of fear and constriction that pervaded our every word and action early last year.

2020 was the universal version of ‘annus horribilis’ – the term made famous by Queen Elizabeth in 1992 when royal marriages started to collapse like cards houses in the breeze.

Being of rural stock, I loved the little video earlier this from country music icon, Dolly Parton, who adapted a verse of her famous Jolene song to mark her first shot of the Moderna vaccine (she also donated $1 million to its research) in a very sincere effort to try and encourage the general public to get inoculated.

“Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,

I’m begging of you not to hesitate,

Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,

Cause when you’re dead that’s a bit too late.”

A year before that, times were indeed very strange across Ireland and indeed the world. I remember on the Sunday night before St. Patrick’s Day when a sense of incredulity greeted the news in my own local that ‘a lot of the pubs in Galway city were closing down’. Surely, this couldn’t happen in our own little watering hole in the sticks, but it did.

Michael Karmen’s soundtrack from the Band of Brothers series – a wonder piece of music even to my untrained ear – will always remind me of that early Spring period of lockdown in 2020.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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€4.5m worth of property sold during online event

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This detached house at Seacrest in Knocknacarra attracted a "staggering" level of interest.

More than €4.5 million worth of sales were recorded at the O’Donnellan & Joyce auction last week, where 350 people had pre-registered to bid on the 40 properties which went under the hammer.

80% of the properties sold during the auction or following negotiations immediately afterwards.

Among the properties sold at the auction were:

106 Seacrest, Knocknacarra, Galway. Guiding at €250,000 due to the extent of renovation and upgrade works required, the auctioneers were staggered at the level of interest in this 4-bed detached house.

Siobhra Hennessy, Senior Auction Co-Ordinator, said: “There is an increasing demand for city centre homes in need of repair. Couples want to put their own stamp on a property and often look for properties similar to this.”

Bidding commenced at €250,000 but quickly rose to over €350,000. After intense bidding from a number of internet and telephone bidders, the sale price of €364,000 was reached and the deal was done.

192 Bohermore, Galway. A 2-bed terraced house which attracted great attention, with many enquiries and bidders pre-registering. The house needs complete restoration and modernisation works but obviously appealed to a wide audience. It guided at €120,000, but sold for €179,000, despite the great amount of work required. Again, this is an example of a near-derelict building that offered great potential.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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