A Self-Sustaining Community

Located in Cloughjordan, (klok-JOR-dən) Ireland, is the only eco-village in all of the country, a place with a population of around 5 million. The village is located in a small area in the heart of Ireland. An eco-village is a self-sustaining ecosystem that prides itself on being earth friendly and is meant to provide everything for itself limiting the carbon footprint compared to a typical village. It is important that they are taking steps to limiting their carbon footprint in my opinion, because other countries are not taking enough precaution and they have to compensate for their own sakes as well. Limiting the carbon footprint can be done in many ways such as: decreasing your energy usage, utilizing renewable energy, growing local foods, limiting food waste, recycling, and much more. I believe the eco-village is a great way to do this, while having a beautiful functioning community. During my three-day stay at a hostel located in the village, I found it interesting the multiple ways they as a community practiced an environmentally friendly lifestyle, although they were limited financially.

The village has a large farm which was great for getting fresh food naturally and not having to get it delivered. This is because transportation is one of the highest sources of carbon emissions, therefore having local food is a great way to reduce their footprint.

Unfortunately, as mentioned briefly before, the village does as well as they can to reduce their carbon footprint, but, “they are limited due to financial issues,” as one of the community members of the eco-village put it. A huge issue that the eco-village has is the fact that the solar power farm is not operational and the technology is outdated. This is a problem since they don’t think it would be effective enough to try and fix, and it could be a wasted expense. The village certainty does not have enough cash on hand to get a new one. This would be extremely helpful because of the benefits of solar power in the long run. Energy is a large source of emitting co2 into the environment and creating reusable solar powered energy would not only give the community money from the government. The renewable source of energy will also be a finishing touch on the village becoming practically off the map in terms of poisoning our environment and contributing to global warming.

The Green Hills of Ireland

The great part about Ireland is the way people live within their environment. There are some places that are insanely isolated with a picturesque view. Still the thing I’ve learned from one of my professors is “you can’t eat the scenery.” To me this quote means that, as amazing and as vast the green place is, you can only attempt to take it all in and can’t do much with it or change the nature. It’s great to look at but is not functional. A certain kind of person can get a rush and even goosebumps at the summits, but in my opinion I get a certain feeling of helplessness. When I say helplessness I simply mean there is no way to control all of the beauty surrounding, and like me I like having some form of control in anything I am doing. When living in some of these hilly areas you can’t even farm and you just let sheep roam on the edges of the cliffs. Sometimes I try to harness my fear of heights when I am up on top of the abundant cliffs, but I am a boots on the ground kind of guy and keep my distance.

Most of rural Ireland is filled with hilly and mountainous areas that are incredibly magnificent but there is no way to tame them. Some people are simply out of sight, out of mind hidden in the hills where no one can contact them, and its crazy to imagine being in that kind of environment. A common theme of places in Ireland that we have been visiting is isolation and seclusion. There are homes surrounded by farmland, but they are mostly by themselves in rural areas, and it is hard to think about how families raise their children in that kind of atmosphere. Even some villages seem lonely and empty. Growing up in a rural area such as some of the places we have visited will shape your personality and impact your character. It makes me wonder if the people growing up even care about the view anymore or if they pay no attention to it.

The Freaks Come Out At Night

When traveling around Ireland in our Mercedes bus, I learned a lot about myself, the other students around me and the community within the beautiful green island. I really enjoyed visiting some of the small hostels in the rural areas, and near the coast. The different types of people you will find living and visiting among the hostels are amazing. One experience that stuck out to me was in Spiddal a very quiet village in Galway. After experiencing music provided by the friend of our professor, the other students all went out to grab a pint at the local pub. The pub was the same place we had eaten before and had great food and a great atmosphere. There was live music in the afternoon that was provided by locals playing their favorite instruments and having a wonderful time. This was not the first time we went to a random village pub and heard folks playing their own instrument. This style of community will not be found in the states and I have really come to enjoy it. In most places in America, the pub will pay a band to come play for them and the expectations are very high and you are limited to the music they want to play. The Irish way is interesting because it allows the locals to really connect to the music and create a great atmosphere. In addition to the great vibe if you know how to play, you can join in and play your part. This offers a connection that I could not have imagined in any other location in my hometown. The bar closed down fairly early and we all left and walked down to the water. After meeting some locals, they offered me a foreign beer I’ve never heard of and were listening to music that was played out of a mate’s pocket speaker. This lad was fairly drunk and he yelled “this is the place we live in” the young Irish man was referring to the beautiful night we had on the water with a full moon and a very observable ocean view. After asking them a few questions, I soon realized these guys were younger than me and unfortunately very poor. They all had jobs to make enough money to move into the city. What I really liked about the people in Ireland is that they are very grateful, and they were willing to give a beer to a stranger, even though they didn’t have much for themselves.


Killary Fjord Shellfish which is located in Leenane, Ireland, is a great plot of land that is home to a innovative family of mussel farmers. The family owns at least 500 acres and multiple homes, sheds, and fishing equipment to utilize on the fjord nearby. The best part of the area is on the fjord—250 lines of mussel rope, in which 18 is owned by the family. The family has been farming mussels since 1989, and its innovator, Simon, is considered a pioneer in this type of farming in brackish water (salt and freshwater). A very important aspect of this type of farming is the fact that is does little to the environment besides take up space, and is a great way to have self-sustainable food surplus year round. The family is fortunate to have inherited all of the land, but they have done incredible things with it. Most of all they have turned a sustainable seafood farm into a company that can produce enough surplus to sell to local restaurants and markets. The family can sell the mussels to a processing plant for 45 cents a kilo, and to a restaurant for three euro. The family said “not only do we make more money feeding the locals, we also like to support those around us rather than the industrial side of things”. They have made quite a business out of the farming, and I can assure you the mussels are delicious. If you take a look at the picture, each buoy has a rope that is attached in a grid like formation. Where every buoy is located, there is a rope that falls down to the bottom of the water. Each rope is pulled up revealing an anchor and around 40-50 yield of mussels. After picking up the rope, the mussels get scraped off and cleaned by a brush like machine called an agor. After being cleaned the mussel are put in a bin that keeps them fresh which can hold 250 kilos. The mussels are shipped out using a family owned van or eaten on the spot for 10 euro a head, which is all you can eat mussels and clams. Overall Killary farms is a highly regarded place to visit in Ireland and they know how to live off the sea.

Special Delivery

A small island located off the west coast of Ireland is one way to witness isolation during the week and a fun party scene during the weekend. Inisheer literally multiplies in population on some weekends and tends to get a little crazy. But the thing that interests me most is how they get necessary resources to survive when there is not much to live off of the land itself. First off the island is made of limestone and has extremely rocky terrain, which is not suited for agriculture. How can an island be fed when they are 6 miles away from the mainland? The answer is that food and resources are delivered by boats three times a week, which is conducive to the lifestyle that people enjoy here, and not having to be hunter gatherers. Although the store is limited, I was quite surprised that there was plenty of fresh fruit, meat, and vegetables in the single store. There were multiple restaurants on the island that were very similar to the quality and options that you’d see on the mainland. The planning that goes into ordering and processing the food is incredible and really makes this island something special. “It is bizarre that our food supply is delivered in this way, because of how many things could go wrong and the island relies on the shipments.” Eoghan explained, who worked at local fudge shop where he makes the treat himself. Sometimes it is hard to imagine anything different than your own way of life.


Dear Chris

The following is a work of fiction based on recent events and experiences in Ireland.

Dear Chris,

I know it has been awhile since our family has written you but I am in need of your help. I figured I would describe the horrible event from my point of view. I know you might not think this is as urgent, but I assure you this is an important matter. So this morning I woke up to the usual tickle of a midge on the back of my neck as you know, it’s either the pests or the sound of birds chirping at the crack of dawn. I would like to first indulge in an Irish breakfast, most the food home grown. I am a self sufficient farmer that has been utilizing the land passed down generations in the Bova family and we rely on the livestock and the land for food. So before eating I have to collect all of the food I want to eat. So I have to head over to the shed and get some peat that I have prepared from the previous summer to stoke the fire and cook with. Peat is a lifesaver to our family and has been an important energy fuel for us to live off. The material is free and if you ever need some, I will be willing to ship you some. It is comical to me that if I had the option to receive money, or live near a bog I would choose the bog any day.

Next I have to gather the food, which involves milking the cows, getting the eggs from the coop, harvesting the potatoes and onions. 


Unfortunately, I ran into something horrible. The chicken coop fence had been broken and I believe a fox has killed at least a dozen chickens. These chickens have been laying eggs and supplying us with a solid food supply for years and plus our income when we sold eggs to the local market. Now that they have been killed, we are not going to have a steady income, and we could easily run out of food. This is an emergency since we have no funds to pay for more. I am writing you in desperation, since I know you have a steady job in the States and it would be a great help if you could lend me some money so I can afford to get back on my feet. Although we are very fortunate to have inherited all of this land, we are still not well off and are just trying to get by from day to day with what we were given. The way I was raised is to leave a small impact on the environment and to only take what you need. This is a modest style of life, but now I am in panic mode and require your help otherwise I won’t be able to tend the animals or feed my family. In the near future I would love for you to visit again because last time you came to Ireland we had a great time.


Your Twin

About Chris

Ever since I can remember I have always loved sports. A lot of my life choices and decisions have created who I am and revolve around doing well in my sports. My parents were the main motivators in my sports career and got me into my sports really early on. My dad is the reason I started playing baseball and he helped me become great at it. I played multiple sports through my youth but found my true passion in lacrosse when I was in middle school. When I was in 7th grade I made the B team, which was the second best team for youth players. After experiencing that I became extremely motivated to make the A team (which is the superior team) in 8th grade. I worked twice as hard as anyone and had to compete with some great players just to make the team. I made the team and it was due to hard work, not natural talent. This is important because of the drastic change it had in my life. The change in teams is the beginning of my story and how I decided to come to Roger Williams. This story is something I have overcome, but it is not the first time I have done so. Throughout my life I was taught by my parents and elders to always work hard. I have learned that no matter what gets in the way, you have to focus on how to get around it. I look at where I come from and know that this is the sole reason that I work hard at everything that I do. I am extremely lucky to grow up in a great town with great friends and a great school. A theme that summarizes the lessons I have learned in life, is that being hard working and humble will help you a lot in the long run. I have learned that working hard will be the greatest fulfillment in life. It is what defines me at my core. It makes me push harder in school and in athletics. That is how I have lived so far and that is how I will continue to do so. I get satisfaction from achieving something from just pure hard work.