"free" rent, self sufficient homestead in Galway Ireland available

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Cathy McGuire
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I'm putting this out there for any GW who has a hankering to try off-grid living and can move to Ireland (or is there). This couple want to rent out their place while they travel (read the whole article and see the video):

 

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-40050293

Going off-grid - could you live in a house like this?

An advert on an online message board asks: "Anyone interested in living in an off-grid straw bale house?"

It adds: "No rent, all I'm asking is taking care of the house, and my two donkeys, two pigs (pets!), five hens, two cats and two dogs."

It's not your average property listing, but the owners, by their own admission, are not your average couple.

Both originally from Munich, Andy and Freda Power met in Ireland, by chance, when he was hitchhiking in the rain on holiday in County Kerry.

They married, and after two years of fruitlessly searching for a cottage to renovate, the pair decided to build an eco-friendly house themselves.

Their home is situated on the Roscommon and Galway County border in Ireland and there are no neighbours for almost a mile. The nearest village is eight miles away.

But it's not just the remote location that makes the property special - almost everything inside is made from recycled or salvaged material.

The couple, who have 16 pets, grow all their fruit, vegetables and herbs, and the house is powered by solar panels and a wind turbine.

Andy explains: "We have no USB connections, no water, no sewage, no bin service. We do everything ourselves."

A tree, rooted in the earth, grows in the middle of the guest bedroom.

The structure itself is made of salvaged timber beams, lined with small stone walls. Straw bales are then stacked on top, and the walls coated with lime plaster.

'Just try it'

Remarkably, Andy is a social worker without a background in construction.

"The main thing is we are a little bit crazy and brave - lots of people tell me: 'I couldn't do that,'" he says.

"But when I ask them if have they ever tried - they say: 'No'."

The whole process took three-and-a-half years.

"I bought some good books but, to be honest, the whole thing wouldn't be possible without the internet. We get so many ideas from websites all around the world," he says.

Many of the cottage's quirks are not immediately visible. The oak in the kitchen is from an abandoned lock-keeper's house in Dublin.

Feature windows in the hallway are actually converted washing machine doors, installed after the motor was used for a wind turbine.

"The whole house sits on a layer of wine bottles," he said.....

Cathy McGuire
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darn, already taken...

Sorry - I didn't read far enough - the end of the article says it's been rented to a young couple. but the article and photos are worth looking at, to see how one amateur couple went about doing it.