Photos and Blog

We're a week into our time in Ireland and the cultural avoidance of internet access has rubbed off on a good way. Despite an unlucky start in Ireland with a fender-bender and a blown out tire, we've been able to see beyond that which isn't hard to do when your surroundings are as peaceful and comforting as the rolling green hills of Western Ireland. These pictures are from our time in Co. Sligo outside of Easkey.

12 hour layover in London was made a lot less stressful by Jess and Cody sleeping at the airport with all of our gear. Champs!

None of us got much sleep that night.

In the country 20 minutes and Heron plays bumper car with a poor Dubliner.

About an hour later, our tire unexpectedly blows out. No better way to pass time than frolicking in the greenest field ever.

Castle near Easkey where we camped for a night. More pictures to come.

Do as the Irish do. Not a bad way to kill some time.

In the early stages of planning this production, we told an acquaintance in San Francisco that Ireland was one of our first stops. He mentioned we had to meet up with his friends the Butler-Ritchies who are into green building, have kids around Given and True's age and they surf. An email introduction was made and 4 months later we are leaving their newly completed self-built cob house in northwest Ireland.

Fia, Colin, Daihti and Feile

The house. A 3-year labor of love. Built out of cob, a mixture of earth and straw. They are fully self sustainable by using only caught rain water, generating heat by solar power and a wood stove, grass roof insulation, plus the most ingenious refrigerator we've ever seen. They have committed to this way of life with such grace that it seems like a no brainer, from recycling to a compostible toilet, we could all learn a bit from them.

Almost all the materials in their house were found or salvaged, like the door frames and hand railing from fallen trees and wood floors from a retired school house.

Building with cob means no hard angles which allows for really comfortable curves.

The refridgerator: Such a simple concept, yet we've never seen this before. The cold is harnessed by the natural air flow around the outside of the house, channeled into the fridge with a series of pipes and then held in by slate stone.

Look at those eyes

With 13 people and two dogs all under one roof, our time here was a whirlwind of chaos and fun. The best part - I think we will all be implementing some of their methods into our lives. And as if they hadn't done enough for us, Feile also introduced us to her brother, a Uilleann Piper on Achill island....more to come on that.

After leaving the Butler-Ritchie family, we drove south to Achill, a beautiful sleepy island with a thriving traditional music scene. One of the local musicians is Feile's brother. John took up the Uilleann Pipes when we was 16 and has since devoted his career to playing and making them. He allowed us to film his workshop and a proper trad session at their local pub.

John's workshop is in an abandoned school house. Which, conveniently, has amazing acoustics.

Just about every piece is hand made in his workshop, from leather straps to ebony chanter. A full set of pipes takes about 3 months to complete.

The Uilleann pipe, the national pipe of Ireland, in a rough Irish translation means pipe of the elbows, named for its use of the elbows to pump air in rather than blowing like Scottland's bag pipe. Fun fact of the day: In Braveheart, bag pipes are shown but Uilleann pipes are what you hear on the soundtrack because the sound is less shrill.

Multi-tasking momma. One of our favorite things about Ireland is the family atmosphere at pubs. Baby in a bar? No problem!

This set of pipes is from 1924 and is the model that John emulates with his own pipes.

Just like Mike said with his Live Vicariously post, the local pub really is where you will absorb the true Irish culture. No leprechauns or shamrocks just honest, open, friendly people who are all game for a laugh and a pint.

Ireland has more variety in it's waves than anywhere in the world. It's coast is full of nooks and crannies, slabs, points and beachies. If the wind turns on at one spot, it's most likely gone off shore down the road at another. The over abundance of surf may be the reason that Ireland is full of friendly surfers willing to share a few waves and more than happy to give you a tip off to one of their little hidden gems. With each session in Ireland comes a brief lesson in medieval history followed up with a pint of Guinness. The points are lined with relics of castle walls and the nearest pub is only a stone's throw away. Thanks to Mickey, Fergal, Colin, Irene, and crew for taking us surfing.

Ireland was so kind to us. It gave us waves, amazing people, and some of the most beautiful scenery you could ask for. It will be missed!

Shalom Israel! A preview.