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.