Getting soaked by Glencar waterfall!

IMG-20170916-WA0016EVS volunteers in the Glencar waterfalls

Glencar waterfall is situated near Glencar Lake, west of Manorhamilton.  Its beauty served as an inspiration to the William Butler Yeats and features in his poem ‘The Stolen Child’.

After a long seminar session in Grange, on the return journey to Drumshanbo, the EVS volunteers took the time to travel down the valley to see the marvelous Glencar waterfall that can only be viewed after a short lovely wooded walk from the car park.

It is a lovely place, where you can enjoy of the waterfalls while you get the blow of the breeze. A pleasant loop turns around leaving you in the car park. There, another of the charms of the valley is the view of the fascinating Crockauns Mountains, a Natural Heritage Area.

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A day on Cuilcagh mountain

IMG-20170913-WA0013                                           Cuilcagh Mountain Boardwalk and Lough Atona.

Cuilcagh mountain is a mountain on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. One Sunday morning I and the other EVS volunteers decided to go to Legnabrocky to do one of the walking routes on the mountain.

After almost 5 km of easy stony path, we went on a wooden boardwalk constructed over a very moist bog, followed by steps  that climbed through steep and stony terrain before reaching the summit.

The wooden path rises steeply and is difficult to climb if you are not in a good shape. Between breaks we enjoyed the scenic wilderness of Cuilcagh Mountain and breathtaking views of Lough Atona, a lake nestled at the foot of the mountain. We took lots of photos, the scenery at the summit is undoubtedly the main attraction of the trail.

Unfortunately, during the return route, a heavy rainstorm caught us by surprise when we were walking down the way. This is Ireland!

EVS Volunteers at the Green Door Festival 2017

Last weekend some of us EVS Volunteers participated at the Green Door Festival 2017, choosing some of the several activities proposed by the organisers.

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Peter Cowman explaining eco-building design principles

On the 30th September we attended an enlightening crash course in Eco-Building Design conducted by Peter Cowman, Director of the Living Architecture Centre, held in Leitrim Village. The workshop was centred around the sheltermaking concept, aimed at meeting both physical and psychological needs of the human being. In the afternoon we were present at The Dock in Carrick-on-Shannon where Kevin Callaghan gave a presentation about Sustainable Development  and what it means at local, national and European level while on Sunday 1st October The Organic Centre in Rossinver hosted an interesting  lunchtime talk on Green Design Principles for Sustainable Building with architect Mary Byrne.

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Thomas Flynn’s greenhouse

During the two-day festival we could also admire a few  private properties which were open to the public for this occasion. These houses have uniquely sustainable features ranging from the use of renewable energies such as solar PV and thermal, micro hydro, wind energy, geothermal heating and the use of local materials for the building construction (timber, stone etc.) to their own vegetable production and sustainable gardens.

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Rob’s micro hydro system

This gave us the opportunity to visit few places and have a chat with the owners and designers. We met very interesting  people, highly motivated to live in a more sustainable way and committed to show that an alternative path is possible. Furthermore, we were able to observe in practice the functionality of these houses and their owners’ aspirations, matching  what Cowman explained during the workshop: “ imagine the house as web that captures your inner world, the essence of who you are, your values, beliefs our dreams, aspirations and what you really want”.

 

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Thomas Flynn’s house view from the pond

We also had the chance to volunteer for a couple of hours by helping out in the kitchen of one these houses, resulting in great experience for us to interact with and be welcomed by the warmth of local Irish people!

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Francesca and Bruno volunteering at Rob and Mairéad’s house

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Ana painting the landscape at Thomas Flynn’s house

EVS Volunteers at the International Climate Change and Health Conference

On Friday 22th September our EVS Volunteers attended the international conference on “Climate Change and Health: the Challenges and Opportunities” which took place at the National University of Ireland in Galway.

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During the morning various speakers presented different aspects of the interconnectivity between direct and indirect impacts of a changing climate and the human population dynamics. For instance, in the future we will assist to an increase of malnutrition among children living in countries largely exposed to severe and extreme climate events such as floods, droughts and heatwaves as well as the increase of mental illnesses and other diseases which could emerge from these types of phenomena.

Dr. Nicholas Watts, the Lancet Countdown, highlighted how climate change can potentially undermine the progress made in global health during the last 50 years and the response to it can be the greatest challenge of the 21st century.  Joni Pegram, Senior Climate Change Policy and Advocacy Adviser for UNICEF UK, emphasised how child rights are being very often overlooked in national and international climate policies and vice versa.

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John O’Neill, Department of Communication, Climate Action and Environment, illustrated the institutional and policy framework on climate change at national level and the key role that the local authorities are called to play at local level in the fight to climate change. Lastly, Dr. Ina Kelly of the NHS Midlands pointed out the importance to build a climate-resilient health infrastructure and to be prepared for extreme events with appropriate planning.

Dr. Watts reminded us that “whether we move from climate change as a threat to an opportunity is not a technological or economic question anymore but it is entirely political”. The time to act is now!

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SMART ENERGY ACTION LOCALLY!

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GEAI volunteers on their way to do an Energy Survey

 

Energy surveys have been carried out in Carrick-on-Shannon, Drumshanbo, Ballinamore and Carrigallen (Leitrim); in Grange (Sligo) and Ballyshannon (Donegal) this summer, as part of the NECS project organised by Good Energies Alliance Ireland (GEAI) and I.T. Sligo.  Six Smart Energy Action events are now organised for the target towns and all are welcome.

The events will take place as follows:

Carrick-on-Shannon on Tuesday 12th September in Bush Hotel, 10am – 2pm.
Drumshanbo on Thursday 14th in Áras Padraig, 10am – 2pm .
Grange on Friday 15th in the Temperance Hall, 10am – 2pm.
Carrigallen on Monday 18th in the Old Schoolhouse, 10am to 2pm
Ballinamore on Tuesday 19th in the Scouts Den, 10am – 2pm.
Ballyshannon on Thursday 21st in the Breesy Centre, 10am – 2pm.

Each event will include

  • Case Studies
  • Results of the Energy Survey
  • Discussions on clean energy schemes and funding and
  • The way forward for each town.

All events are free and refreshments and lunch are included.  All welcome.

For further details, please contact GEAI at 087 2382324.

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