Sunday, 11 May 2014

Day Trip To An Ancient Killarney Smallholding.

An old friend visited us last week.  So we took him to see Innisfallen Island in Killarney.   It's in Killarney National Park and you get to the island by boat.  We duly paid the ferry man (we ignored Chris De Burgh's song advice) and he took us a mile across Lough Leane ("Lake of Learning" ) to Innisfallen Island.

It was our second visit but we still picked up on the serene and peaceful atmosphere of the Island.  The abbey was founded by St Finian the leper in the 7 th century.  It is said to be a seat of learning and the 'Annals of Innisfallen were written there.  These are now stored in Bodleian library in Oxford in Blighty.  Innisfallen Island's most famous student is Brian Boru.  The lad who introduced the cow tax to Ireland.  See previous blog posts if you're interested.

We spotted these lads and lasses watching us and giving us a run around.  Playfully stopping and running.  There was evidence of the winter storms with quite a few uprooted ancient trees.  The boat man informed us that the deer graze the grass and swim to the the other islands and mainland when they want new pasture.
I think the island must have been very bleak for the monks and deer.  But it must have also been a wonderful place for solitude (the smallholders constant companion), prayer and reflection.  Plus they would have been self sufficient in meat, fish, honey, mead and of course vegetables and medicinal herbs.

I had never heard of rural isolation until I moved to Ireland.  Some times I think I would go mad without the Internet, satellite television, my smallholding and the country side.  How do other smallholders cope with rural isolation?


  1. Living in the middle of the countryside surrounded by pasture land on all four sides, is absolutely splendid, especially with only the sounds of nature coming through the open widows.

    I thoroughly enjoy the privacy and seclusion of our abode. I do not miss the nosy interfering neighbours complaining as to when I am going to cut the grass or that my bonfires have smutted their washing. No, I am free to do exactly as I like.

    As for TV no thank you; even the portable radio is stuffed in a drawer somewhere and I know not where and nor do I care.

    Once a week we drive to a distant town for supplies and to visit the library, plus we enjoy a quiet cup of iLLY coffee and a bun in a small side street cafe before joyfully driving home.

  2. Dave
    I found your last statement the most interesting
    Before we moved to Wales. We lived in Sheffield and we loved the city lifestyle....
    When we moved to the country, I just knew I could not cope if we were totally isolated
    Well, I know that I could NOT cope.... Living in a village , we have the best of both lifestyles.... But still, occasionally I still miss the city... Getting on tram, going to the cinema at lunchtime if I wanted to........
    How close is your nearest village matey?

  3. I would go cracked if I was totally isolated!
    I don't think it is a good thing for mental health. I enjoy my trips to the city and make the most of it and I make great effect with visiting older neighbours and also meeting up with friends regularly.
    We have planned a day deep sea fishing in two weeks for six of us.

  4. Hi Heron. Thanks for your thoughts on living in the countryside. I love the peaceful lifestyle but I do miss meeting people in a pub, public transport and going to rock concerts. I can sometimes go a week without speaking to anybody. Everybody waves when they drive passed. But so few people have time to stop and talk. At least blog writers communicate. Thanks!


  5. Hi John. We live 5 miles to the nearest town - Bantry. I really envy your set up in North Wales with your smallholding and a fantastic community. I think a village or on the edge of one is what most people who originate in the town or city require. The silence can be deafening at times. Thanks for your thoughts John. I always read your blog every day. Don't know how you think them.

  6. Totally agree with you Marie. I need to get to a rock concert or do some shopping (books) in a big town or city every so often. A lot of rural areas have little infrastructure like public transport, a pub or community centre. At least we have got the Internet. Thanks for your comment Marie!

  7. Hi Dave,
    I think that I could happily handle living the monks life style but without the religious side. I've never truly been a people person, perhaps that's why instead of seeking advice and help when the darkness threatens I tend to turn my back and head for the hills.

  8. Hi John. I admire how you are happy in your own company. I can walk miles but I prefer to be walking with somebody. Thanks!


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