The homestead is a very ancient, old mountainside cabin which has existed along the original ‘St Kevin’s Road’ medieval pilgrimage route from Kildare to Glendalough for an unknown length of time and it still retains some of that character despite a few haphazard-like additions. The original structure is earth walled (cob) and thatched with rushes, and tucked almost half into the ground in a ‘Hobbit’-like style. Indeed, the old traditions of hospitality and traditional farming practices are still carried on here and old ways of living in harmony with the land and the seasons still holds strong. History is evident in the triple walled ring fort beside the garden and the Piper’s stones to the west at the end of the valley. Church Mountain rises over the land to the south, one of the Holy Mountains of Eiriu, and Scalp Rock guards the north. Church mountain is documented as one of the sites for the celebration of the Feast of Lunasa and it is still climbed to this day similarly to Croagh Patrick in Mayo.
There are two wooded areas above and below the house and an old circular walled garden containing Damson trees at the bottom of the land. The rest of the land is in two divisions with a haggard garden surrounded by out houses beside the house.
The land is currently being transformed into different areas of cultivation after some years of potato growing to clear the ground. There is one large polytunnel, an orchard of mainly apples trees and a sizable vegetable garden already in place. Many of the varieties here are old heritage varieties but it is also geared towards production.
Under construction, is a labyrinth garden in the pattern of the ‘’Hollywood Stone’’ and ancient symbol for the healing journey (pilgrimage) undertaken to restore wholeness and harmony. The original ‘Hollywood Stone’ was found nearby and is currently on view in the Visitor’s Centre in Glendalough.
The plan is for the construction of the following spaces:
¨ A ‘Medicine Wheel’ garden following original peoples of America’s teachings
¨ A garden to restore the herbs of Airmid and the de Danaan to their order
¨ A garden of Dr Bach’s Flower remedy plants,
¨ A garden of dye plants
¨ A water and bog garden to honour St Bride of Kildare.
¨ A garden of the plants used mainly in Homeopathy
Many wild plants that are used as food sources for foraging are being fostered here so that people can learn the skills of foraging and identifying plants that can be eaten safely. It’s a great way of explaining away the super abundant ‘weeds’!!
Most of our powerful herbal cures are found in ‘weeds’ so we are happy to see them find their own places to grow here and allow them thrive where they will and sure it’s a lot easier to view them with respect they deserve!
I think some visitors seem to pass by thinking the place uninhabited due to the lack of a ‘rounded –up’ roadside and front yard and drive.