Several rock ridges cross the farm shaping and dividing it into various pockets, fields and other areas. The poorer ground is mainly planted up with mixed varieties of native trees. The more solid ground is used for pastures, a fruit orchard and vegetable growing.
We are very fortunate, as a large rock ridge separates us from the main road. That way the farm feels very private and sheltered from the outside world. It feels in the middle of nowhere, and is only 5 minutes walk from Sneem.
The vegetable garden, poly-tunnel and the blueberry plantation and soft-fruit gardens are close to the big timber barn, which contains the stable and is the centre of the farm. The stable area has partitions for three cows on one side and a large pen for pigs on the other. Upstairs are a large workshop for timber and metal working, and the storage rooms.
A path from the barn leads to our house. It is a hexagonal building adjoining an old cottage to one side. It has a pencil point roof with several dormer windows and gables.
A large conservatory and farm kitchen give it plenty space to relax or work, even in large groups.
We have a small lake next to the house, in which we often swim or enjoy watching the ducks and wildlife visit - all enjoying the peaceful and still water.
When we bought the farm initially, it was totally overgrown and the fields flooded with every rainfall due to the blocked drains from fallen willow trees. These willows spread wildly and covered a lot of the lower land in what resembled a wild dark jungle.
We had to gain access gently, restore fields and drains, and work hard to bring some nourishment back into the ground that had washed out over the years.
Months and years of cutting back gorse and keeping the rushes down improved the land.
Especially in the first 10 years we rarely had the money to spend on machinery for landscaping, and the ground would have been too soft to carry a tractor of any size. Thus we had to do most of the digging by hand and bring material in on wheelbarrows. These restrictions made us work with the shape of the land and not, as is common practice today, force the land to work with us.
The first gardening attempts were like cutting turf. It took years for the earth to develop a quality where vegetables now grow large and plentiful.
Every Farm year is different, with varying priorities. That way the farm constantly changes and areas that were neglected one year bloom the next.
Many people stayed with us over the years
For working holidays during or straight after college, or later in their life, just to experience something different. We want to thank all those people that stayed with us, worked on the land and shared some of the joy of living on the land with us. It was very important to have so many helping hands during these difficult years, and we have many happy memories and anecdotes from those days.
In the beginning, life on the farm was more difficult, colder, and a lot more basic. We enjoy the comfort we have created for ourselves, but the years of living rough had their own charm; upstairs in what is now the barn, without electricity or running hot water and with only a small kitchen stove to heat the place in the winter.
Life felt more real, and nature a lot closer. We are glad to live in a comfortable house now, but we are also glad to have lived without it for the first ten years.