Continuing Our Irish Updates

Hello again, here’s the next part of our story, I think one more update and we will be all caught up!

When we arrived at Virginia Park Lodge, a wedding party was also unloading and arriving. We had to walk through the throng of very nicely dressed people with our backpacks and work jeans on, which I thought was quite comical, until we found someone to direct us. 

We were put up into two rooms, where I shared a room with another wwoofer from Italy. 

The gardens were absolutely stunning. It was the biggest set of polytunnels and largest amount of growing space we had seen so far. Even though other hosts had larger amounts of land, because the lodge catered to weddings, they had to make the entire place beautiful and they maintained a wide variety of flowers and hedges and trees as their ornamental garden. 

The fruit and veg from the garden was either used in the kitchen at the lodge, or was sent off to the other two restaurants in London that were owned by the same chef. Because of this, there was always something big and exciting to do. For instance we had to clear out and replant the entirety of two of the three huge polytunnels, just to make them more effective and to meet the demands of the kitchens.  

The gardeners and groundskeepers we worked with were so sweet and kind to us. They always made sure we were taken care of, as the Lodge kind of fell down on the job more often than not. The problem was that the lodge wasn’t ready to have wwoofers, but they still continued to take them on. Hopefully they’ll have made it better after we left. 

While we were staying in Virginia though, Maire and Martin (the aunt and uncle of our third host that I mentioned last week) made a point of seeing us and helping us out when they could. On our first Saturday there, the three of us and our new wwoofing friend Olga caught a bus to a small town about 30 minutes away to see Kitten Cottage’s pop up charity shop, just to say hello and offer any help. Again, the whole family was incredibly kind and offered anything that we wanted or needed without charge, which helped immensely. We were able to stock up on new pants, some toiletries, and something to read. 

Later on in the week, we got a text from Maire saying that she’d be by to pick us up and take us on a bit of an adventure. We went to see Loughcrew, an adventure center with zip line and obstacle courses, and the adjoining cairns. It was an incredible day, and ended with all of us holding new born kittens. 

We had a wonderful time getting to know Katy’s extended family, and we would love to come back to Ireland specifically to reconnect with everyone later on. 

Working at Virginia Park Lodge was a great experience, as we learned what it’s like to work on a larger scale farm. Of course it wasn’t as big as any kind of commercial farm, but it was considerably larger than the other family farms that we had seen so far. 

One of the gardeners that we worked with at the lodge, Pricilla, was kind enough to drive us half way to our next host, where he would meet us. It’s always sad to say goodbye to all of the new friends we’ve made, but you have to in order to meet more people and continue learning.

Thanks for checking in again! Here’s to hoping for more consistent updates from here on out. 

-R