Welcome to my blog. I am Esther, the owner and creator of Slieve Aughty Centre. One of my New Year’s resolutions was for me to start a blog after having different people make a go of it and always stopping…so I thought I will do this myself. I am not a great writer or talker but there are so many stories that can be told at Slieve Aughty Centre. So this will be the start…I hope you enjoy my blogs!
It was more an escape from too many rules and too little space and to make a simple sustainable living on the land!
With a van turned into a camper and lots of organic food in linen bags on the roof and books of living on the land and some knowledge of our previous jobs on an organic model farm in Holland, we left for Ireland to look for a small farm. We looked around for a while and finally after 1 year we found this beautiful place in a valley surrounded by forest. With lots and lots of forest treks ( more than 2000 acres)
It was a small piece of land with an old ruin (7 acres) where we decided to settle down by many surprised neighbours who could not understand what we where going to do on this 7 acres. This time all the young people our age were all leaving to look for work in England or America.
We soon started to buy some cows and goats and 1 horse (my first horse Belle) and we started a big self supporting garden. With the milk we made cheese, yoghurt, butter etc. and went to the Galway market every Saturday. We rented a cottage from Sadie just beside the land where we lived till we finished our own timber house. From a recycled school and trees from the forest we made a beautiful house. It took many years to have it all finished for the first Guests to stay with us on our farm. After 1986 I slowly had swapped my cows and goats for some horses and ponies as we bought in so much milk for our dairy and that time Merel ( my daughter) showed a great interest for the horses. We did a trail together for 1 week on our ponies without saddles over the mountain down to the coast where the beauty of the Slieve Aughty mountains and the close contact with our ponies opened my heart and thought “this is what we can do. Bring people out through the forest and the slieve aughty mountains and show them the peace and quiet and the beautiful landscape”. And so we started …..The Slieve aughty (riding)Centre!
With help and support of family , friends and government grants and lots of hard work and love for the work we do, we built a beautiful place where many people come to stay and can relax and enjoy! Not only for riders any more but for families, lovers, walkers, party goers and people who like to learn more on organic gardening, organic cooking or lots of other activities.
I will write about the garden next; what is happening there, what we grow and make in our kitchen, what we do for the weddings and parties, interesting workshops and I will introduce you to all the great team that is beside me here to make it work!