House-sitting in West Ireland

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House-sitting in Ireland (including the dog and hens – ©Exploramum & Explorason

House-sitting in West Ireland

We have arrived at our house-sitting assignment in Ireland.

It is a home out of the tiny village, and on the way down a small road that leads to the sea (we see the bay from the sitting room window, and the rolling Irish green hills from the kitchen window).

Down our little road are farms, and a lot of cows. There has been so much rain in Ireland this year. In fact it is their record year since they have been recording it!

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Cows in the flooded fields of Ireland – ©Exploramum & Explorason

Daffodils grow just up the lane – and spring is here. In fact there are many wildflowers in bloom, and it is lovely.

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Field of Tulips, Ireland – ©Exploramum & Explorason

We have chosen to come to Ireland for this house-sit. We wanted a rest. Peace and quiet.

Away from the shops and the never ending consumerism.

It is time for family. Catching up on blogging. And the associated jobs.

We “world-school”. It is where you use the environment around you as you travel to be the living classroom.  Visiting places including history sites, art galleries, museums and cities and towns.  It includes learning local foods, language, budgeting, currency conversion and a whole lot more.

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World-schooling in Ireland – ©Exploramum & Explorason

Explorson loves to draw, and also uses on-line programmes to play and learn.  But I have found with travel there are areas he is way ahead on, and some ares he struggles with. So we often get activity books and keep them for house-sits when we have time to work on these areas together.  So here, we have been spending time on weaker areas of my sons learning (i.e.: spelling, writing, and mathematics).

And we have been enjoying some time caring for the farm animals.

So here we have a dog, an outside cat, 10 chickens, a rooster, and 6 ducks.

It is nice to see my son outside running around with the dog and the animals.

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Bringing in the ducks for the night in Ireland – ©Exploramum & Explorason

Soon we head off to the beach so both Explorason and I get some fresh air – past the cows, and onward we walk. 

We usually collect driftwood, shells, interesting pebbles (we are rock painting) and whatever a boy of 9 year enjoys to collect on the day.

Unique rocks in this area of Ireland - Exploramum & Explorason
Unique rocks in this area of Ireland – ©Exploramum & Explorason

At the end of our stay, we turned some of the collectibles into art.

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Making driftwood frames – ©Exploramum & Explorason
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Making a frame from pieces of broken bouts we collected off the beach – ©Exploramum & Explorason
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Finished frames, paper towel and soap holder and a cross – ©Exploramum & Explorason

The dog gets a good workout with throwing and fetching the stick in the river, and we have in the past skimmed pebbles.

A favourite beach activity - stick throw and catch -Exploramum & Explorason
A favourite beach activity – stick throw and catch – ©Exploramum & Explorason

Sometimes we go for a bit of a run too. All good free fun.

One day we went with a local lady who has a seaweed business. Seaweed Gatherers Ballycastle.  

She makes all sorts of herbal remedies, and see weed packs for cooking.  So she taught us about the different types of seaweeds, and their uses. It was really interesting!

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Seaweed Gatherers Ballycastle giving us an identification lesson – ©Exploramum & Explorason

House-sitting is a good chance to learn new skill for both of us. I am a qualified landscape gardener, so it is easy to care for plants, but in Ireland there weren’t may as it was too cold. Just a potted indoor one – that was easy.

One great thing my son learnt was how to care for the hens.  Each day he would help me with the food and water, and with collecting the eggs.  He loved doing this and wanted to do it alone.

Explorason collecting the eggs -Exploramum & Explorason
Explorason collecting the eggs -©Exploramum & Explorason

We then would have to call in the ducks before dark.     This sometimes needed a bit of help with flapping of arms and pretending we were ducks calling “Pato, Pato” as they came in.

Bringing in the geese - oh and the farm cat -Exploramum & Explorason
Bringing in the geese – oh and the farm cat – ©Exploramum & Explorason

If they refused to come, we would shake a container with seed, and they would appear out of no-where.

Putting the ducks to bed - Exploramum & Explorason
Putting the ducks to bed – ©Exploramum & Explorason
A few of our farm friends - Exploramum & Explorason
A few of our farm friends – ©Exploramum & Explorason

The not so glamorous job, in this case, was cleaning out the chicken coop, and the duck house each day. Fortunately, gloves, boots and a hose worked for the ducks, but not for the chickens. That was more hands on (yuk) with a spade, but I handled it as part of the chores OK.

We did end up with a lot of eggs, and were able to use or sell them. So that was great to cook with, and keep the grocery bill down a little.  It was lovely to have the whole home, and a great kitchen, so I did quite a bit of baking.  It was great!

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Irish Country cook up – ©Exploramum & Explorason

Even though we were not locals, we were able to meet some locals, and shared our skills with helping them set up some computer programmes they needed – so that was nice!

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We helped with setting up Facebook and a web-page for a new local business – ©Exploramum & Explorason

We really enjoyed having a place to ourselves.  Not unpacking. Having a washing machine. Cooking. My son having PJ days. Reading a book by the fire, and for me, catching up on a lot of work!

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Talking the chill off the evening with an Irish bog fire – ©Exploramum & Explorason

We even managed to get a jigsaw done.

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Time for a jigsaw and some ‘home life’ – ©Exploramum & Explorason

I really recommend house-sitting if you are travelling long-term.

You can’t travel at a fast pace all the time. Don’t be afraid to take the house-sits that are in remote areas (as long as you can access food), as the time away from the constant travelling really is great.  As a single parent, I really need it.  I really appreciate too when housesitters trust me with their home. We are careful, and very neat.  We love their animals and take good care of them.

And at the end of the day we can have a warm bed.

Sunset from the kitchen window overlooking the bog hills - Exploramum & Explorason
Sunset from the kitchen window overlooking the bog hills – ©Exploramum & Explorason

Interested in house-sitting?

Register at  Housecarers.com

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5 comments

  1. Lovely. The perfect example of the benefits of house-sitting. Though I’m very much a s-l-o-w traveler (living and traveling in Asia for the past three years, and now tucked into Ecuador), I’ve not (yet) tried house-sitting.

    This post makes me want to give it a go – as you say, even the remote outposts can be true gem experiences – getting fully a.w.a.y. for the usual life-on-the-trail scene.

    1. We loved Ecuador – I saw a house-sit for there the other day – they don’t come up often in Central and South America. We have 2 more house-sits in the next 3 months. Hope you give it a try. When we get to Asia I hope you can give us some tips 🙂

  2. Looks like fun for both of you and I understand how good it must have felt to have a real house after all your time on the road. The weather; however, looks kind of bone chilling. I loved the photos you shared during your stint, especially the ones of Explorason and the dog

    1. Yes Suzanne, James was the most wonderful dog – we really loved him. I’ve always had female dogs, but this boy really won us over. Would love to sit on my lap in the rocking chair by the fire at night. Ahhh memories of Ireland already!

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