Chieftain Trees

Crainn

Our vision is to see the Earth wild again.

In ancient Ireland trees were held sacred by the people. Native forests of oak, ash, elm, birch, pine, alder and hazel trees flourished across Ireland’s landscape. The chieftain trees were the most revered and it was a crime to cut them down. By 1900, less than one percent of these woodlands remained. We want to see them return and create sustainable and long term ecosystems for wildlife. 

We fundamentally believe that more heads are better than one. We aim to create a community of diverse thinkers, collaborating to find creative solutions to environmental issues and restoring the earth.  

The first step in building towards this vision is simple, get people planting trees. We aim to inspire tree planting locally but also connect with landowners who are happy to donate their land to wilding projects. We are also looking to promote sustainable and ethical businesses that share our values.

Celtic Fox Herbal

Eolas Ársa

Luke Heron, also known as Celtic Fox, is a forager, naturopath and student Herbalist based in Ireland.

He was born and bred in an Irish household in France. He was lucky to have been able to enjoy the freedom of the countryside in a small village in the middle of the Champagne region called Essômes-sur-marne. He spent most of his time outside and was surrounded by local stories about animals, plants and their value. He just generally ran wild in the local forests and through the vineyard hill. His life’s journey brought him to a full dedication to nature. It began after leaving his career behind which he worked in for over a decade after moving over to Northern Ireland. He fell ill, both physically and mentally while working religiously 5 days a week, 9am to 5pm, in between the four walls of an office. After a decade of living under the pressures of modern life and having bad lifestyle habits, his health was down the chute, he never spent time outside and his stress levels where off the chart.

It was thanks to his (re)discovery of a more natural lifestyle and the determination to get better that he found his health again. He received great help and support by herbalists and peers who both treated him and taught him so much.

He wanted to be three things as a child: a gardener, a chef and a doctor. He was told back then that it was impossible, yet here he is, studying and on his journey to becoming a registered clinical Herbalist. A career encompassing all three of his passions. Now that he’s much happier, empowered and ambitious, he wants to share this wonderful new perspective of life with those who will listen through his experiences, workshops, walks and talks.

Wild Awake

Tallamh

Lucy O’Hagan

Wild Awake Education aims to rekindle environmental and cultural resilience through the (re)learning of ancestral and traditional skills in nature.

It is grown from the belief in the need to preserve wildness in ourselves, in our landscapes and in our cultures.

We run classes and offer nature connection programmes to people from all walks of life. It is no secret that Nature-deficit disorder, a term coined by author Richard Louv, is something experienced by many of us in this age. A love of nature and a wish to share that with people, to inspire effective earth stewards, is at the heart of what we do. We envisage a future where our relationship with the earth is founded in compassion, dignity and respect.

Wild Awake recognises the provenance of these skills and teachings from our ancestors as well as the practises of indigenous peoples. It is not our intention to culturally appropriate from native peoples, but to create community and ceremony that actively engages in a reciprocal relationship with the more-than-human world. We believe that these skills lose their meaning when practised in isolation and that it is the efforts of a community which can create a better world for our future generations as we face a warming and changing planet.

We hope that you will join us on this journey in recognising ourselves as a part of nature, not apart from it.

Sean Fitzgerald Art

Imbas

Sean Fitzgerald is an Irish artist living in the North West of Ireland. His illustrations are mainly based around nature, folklore, decay, incorporating intricate Celtic knotwork and stippled patterns. He has his heavily illustrated book “The Last Battle of Moytura” out now on Hill of Tara Press.

He is also the co-editor of ‘Airmid’s Journal’ a zine about Irish foraging, folklore, myths, magic and remedies. He currently illustrates and researches Irish megalithic sites and folklore. 

Súil on Craic – Declaration of Intention and Terms

Uncategorized

Súil an Craic is an independently-organised outdoor experience by a small number of people, whose intention is to encourage local tourism, highlight Ireland’s intangible heritage, open a new possible way of pilgrimage and engage in holy well care-taking along the way.

– The invitation is open to other interested, self-relying individuals to join in; as long as they commit to leaning on their own resources to being able to participate. Participants will be taking full responsibility for their own transportation, equipment, food, medical needs and adherence to safety practices. There is no economic exchange to participate, and though community, sharing and exchanging is of course encouraged, every walker is expected to be 100% self-sufficient upon their choice to join the walk. Walkers do so by their own initiative and will, private resources and personal abilities.

– We hope participants will contribute their own personal skills, abilities and knowledge for the benefit of the group, in a dynamic where everyone can shine in what they do best, and learn what they don’t know. We intend for experts in various fields to join us at different legs of the journey to offer a learning experience for everyone involved.

– Participants are welcome to join in and off at any point during the experience upon their own judgement, and everyone present in the walk is committed to contribute to an atmosphere of transparency, integrity and grace.

– We will be engaging in cleaning, up-keeping and caring for holy wells along the way, so any relevant tools and equipment for such activity are of course welcome.

– We encourage open and true communications as far as our group dynamics is concerned; and expect the group as a whole to behave with dignity and respect for the land, communities and individuals around us. We intend to open frequent Talking Circles to make decisions and deal with arising issues, and we strongly want to keep the event free from self-serving, petty or egoistical behaviours.

– The walk’s route follows an established direction and a number of milestones, but it is not 100% defined as the objective is to offer flexibility and discovery. We have agreed on a daily walking distance cap of 15kms per day at most, but intending to keep it around 10kms per day on average. As context needs and allows, there will be days-long stops at certain points. While we expect to reach our destination in County Meath around the beginnings of October at the latest, we reserve the flexibility to flow into whatever length the journey may take.

– We recognize that an experience like this can have a great impact on a personal, psychological and spiritual levels, so while as a community we offer assistance and help along the way, we encourage Walkers to have a support network and communicate as clearly as possible any struggles that they may be going through.

– Everyone is responsible for their own equipment and we adhere strongly to a LEAVE NO TRACE attitude. Camps along the way are to be kept tidy at all times, and cleaned during stay and before departing, and every Walker is responsible for his or her own rubbish.

– This is an alcohol-free experience. We expect the physical challenge of the experience to be mild, but every participant is responsible for judging their own capacities and endurance needed.

– No participant or facilitator is liable for injury, loss of personal belongings or damage of any kind.

Please note: Walkers are encouraged to adhere to Public Safety guidances in relation to the current COVID-19 pandemic and are responsible for carrying the necessary items like rubbing alcohol and facemasks.

Súil an Craic – Preparation, Kit and Packing

Uncategorised

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.”

Mark Twain 

Please consider what you need for comfort. We encourage people as much as possible to buy Irish and support our local enterprises.

In the lead up:

The more training and preparation you do prior to joining the walk, the more you will get out of it. You’ll be better able to focus on the scenery, culture, immersion in nature and getting to experience meaningful relationships with each other. Here are some guidelines to help you prepare.

This is a pilgrimage that will bring you to an innerstanding of yourself and the land. Begin to prepare by connecting in with yourself and surrendering to the feelings and thoughts that arise as you approach this brave step forward into the unknown.  What each person will learn and gain will be their own pilgrimage. One of the therapeutic mechanisms of this walk involves the act of long-term long-distance walking. It is a holistic process, purifying, strengthening and unifying the body, mind and soul.

We will be living as nomadic tribes of old, where simplicity is celebrated and innovation and creativity have a place of honour at our fire. This walk will focus on the giving back to the land. For us, this walk is our active participation in the caring for all that we hold dear. This  journey through what it is to love and is motivated by and through the heart. We would ask all participants preparing to walk to truly connect in with their own intentions, desires and expectations. We encourage open and honest  communication about your experience as it unfolds. 

Before embarking on this journey we ask everyone to enter into a practice of breathwork. It can be as simple as finding awareness of your breath, or exploring more complex breatheology such as the Wim Hof. Breathing connects us to the present moment, to ourselves and to each other. It will sustain us in difficulties as they arise and support us physically as we walk and connect us with the lessons we will learn.

During the walk we will breathe, sing, share stories and stretch communally, this brings unification and understanding in tribe. Truthfully, we wish this experience to be equally co-created and as much craic for everyone as possible.

As well as breathwork, we recommend you do a range of exercises to prepare for your trek and in particular activities that you enjoy to help you stay motivated. It is also important you do some outdoor trek training, rather than just walking on flat surfaces. You need to train your body to walk on varying, undulating terrain, often with a pack weighted from 15-45kg. This type of preparation will allow you to be better prepared for your walk, and make the experience less strenuous and more enjoyable.

Make sure that you have got, or can borrow, all of the kit on the personal kit list. Every participant must be fully self sufficient.

  • Practice packing your rucksack with everything you need. 
  • Fill your water bottle and put all of your waterproofs into your rucksack. On a hot day you will be carrying rather than wearing most of your clothes. 
  • Ensure that your kit will stay dry by packing everything in plastic bags and using a rucksack liner. This will help you to stay organised too. 
  • In addition to your personal kit and food, you will each have to carry roughly 2kg of group kit. 

As a guide you should be aiming for a fully packed rucksack with group kit, personal kit, food and water to weigh around 25kg. The lighter your bag is, the more you will enjoy your journey. If your bag is too heavy you will struggle to lift it let alone walk with it for hours. 

Food 

Each person is responsible for caring for the food they need. We will have access to shops and towns on route. When we share meals along the route you can contribute to communal meals. Responsibility to cooking will be distributed and self sufficiency in knowing your own rhythms encouraged. We, when possible use a fire to cook, however if you wish to regulate your own ability to cook please feel free to bring your own stove. We recommend a vango compact stove.

https://www.cotswoldoutdoor.ie/p/vango-compact-gas-stove-D3212142.html?colour=180

Fitness 

In preparation do as much walking as possible. If you get a chance, head into the countryside or visit a park. Practice walking in your boots with your rucksack, gradually increasing the weight as your fitness improves. 

Walking:

We will aim to walk at maximum 15km a day, this is to prevent burn out and ensure a comfortable distance for all.  It’s important to have daily mileage targets to keep the morale up but we are not static in finishing early if we find that perfect wild campsite, or reach an important site or well. At times we foresee perhaps staying in these areas for more than one night as it takes time to clean a well or interact with the sacred sites. We have allot of outer support from groups who are willing to create events we can walk into and also invite local and wider community to attend. 

Kit List –

Personal Waterproof jacket and trousers or Poncho 

• Both are essential. 

• They must be waterproof. Avoid tags saying water resistant, these will not keep you dry. Ensure they have taped seams to stop the water leaking through, you can check this by looking at the seams on the inside. Storm flaps over the zips will also help.

•we suggest https://www.military1st.ie/10630021-waterproof-poncho-ripstop-flecktarn.html?gclid=Cj0KCQjw9b_4BRCMARIsADMUIypfaUPJzC0Pisox1tDWT8KtIOhxRlhS7TkV_j4xhAMqmXRvSgQDO3waAuIIEALw_wcB

 Jackets must have a hood.

 • Lightweight ‘Mac in a Sac’ style waterproofs are not suitable as they will not keep you dry. 

Walking boots

 • Walking shoes or trainers are NOT suitable, neither are fashion boots such as Timberlands or DM’s.

 • You MUST have proper walking boots that cover the ankle bone in order to provide enough support for walking on rough terrain with a heavy rucksack.

• Check that they have a good sole and heel.

• The boots should be waterproof. Either by liner/membrane or leather with wax applied. 

• Give yourself time to break them in so that they are comfortable. Walk in them as much as possible before the expedition. 

• Make sure they are always done up properly. Laces can easily get caught causing you to trip and injure yourself. 

Clothing 

You should look for items which are warm, quick-drying and light. Lots of layers are much better than one thick top. Thermal base layers and natural fibers are best. DO NOT wear jeans or thick cotton hoodies and avoid all other cotton items. When it gets wet cotton becomes very heavy, does not dry quickly and will not keep you warm. 

Clothing to walk in 

• Underwear. 

• Thermal base layer. 

• Thin fleece. 

• Thick fleece. 

You will need to provide for yourself with your own tent/bivy bag/tarp, eating/cooking equipment, first aid kit 

We suggest:

• Waterproof walking trousers (NOT jeans or cotton tracksuit bottoms). 

• Base layer. We recommend natural fibers such a merino wool as they are warm and breathable.

• Walking socks. Choosing right ones will stop you getting blisters and injuries. It’s not fun learning the hard way. The best type of footwear will depend on the terrain you are walking over and the amount of weight you are carrying. Custom insoles from companies like Profeet are also a bonus.

• Woolly hat, sun hat and gloves: (even in summer it can get very cold, particularly at night; ) • If you want to wear fresh tops, underwear and socks each day then you will need to bring extra clothing, but this will add to the weight of your rucksack so think carefully about how many spares you need. Spare clothing to sleep in and for emergencies Spare clothing must be carried and kept dry at all times. If you get wet during the day, you will need dry clothes to wear in camp or at the end of your expedition. This list is the minimum required for an expedition:

• Spare base layer. (merino and natural fibers are warmest)

• Spare warm jumper 

• Spare pair of trousers (NOT jeans or cotton tracksuit bottoms).

• Change of underwear. 

• Spare socks.

Mobile phone 

•You will need to consider how you plan to charge your device and manage your own power requirements. 

• Make sure it is fully charged and has sufficient calling credit.

• We recommend using a drybag to keep it dry. Jacket pockets leak – don’t rely on them.

We encourage minimal use of phones in communal spaces. 

Money

Each person is responsible for being financially independent and self sufficient. 

Medications

•Sun cream If you are walking all day you will need sun cream to avoid getting burnt, even when it is cloudy. Don’t get caught out.

 •Personal medication and blister kit 

• Remember to pack any personal medications that you use eg. hayfever medication, epipen, asthma inhaler. 

• You should carry your own blister kit containing blister plasters (Compeed) and zinc oxide tape. A needle and tweezers for thorns

Covid:

We ask all on the walk to be sensitive to people’s fears and concerns about the covid and request that all walkers carry a facemask.

Backpack

Make sure your rucksack is correctly fitted for your height and figure. It will limit back, knee, bum and ankle strains, injuries and unwanted chafeage

Sleeping kit

Sleeping bag 

• We recommend a 3 season (comfort rating of minus 5 degrees). Or a 2 season with a silk liner. It can be very cold at night even in summer. 

• Compare down and synthetic. A down filled bag will be warmer for its size, but is no use if it gets wet. A synthetic bag is bulkier but will provide warmth even when wet. 

• Use a stuff sack or compression bag to pack and compress your sleeping bag for packing. • Then pack it in a waterproof bag – stuff sacks are not waterproof. 

Sleeping bag liner (optional) 

• A sleeping bag liner will add extra warmth and is easy to wash between expeditions. Silk liners are the best as they are lightweight and warm, but they are expensive. Cotton liners are cheaper but bulkier and not quite as warm, so it’s worth looking at the options carefully before buying. 

Sleeping mat/Sheepskin

• Essential for keeping you warm when you sleep. 

• Foam mats are cheap and lightweight but bulky. Inflatable mats (Thermarest) are heavier but they pack down better and can be more comfortable. Care needs to be taken when using an inflatable mat to avoid punctures.

• Sheepskins can be purchased through our sheepskin suppliers {Frank (Dublin): 087-2780652 / D (Leitrim): 0892527834}

 Small torch 

 Head torches are best as they leave your hands free for doing things. 

• Put new batteries in it before the expedition (and bring spare batteries). 

Water bottle

• You need to be able to carry 2 litres of water. 2 x 1 litre bottles would be ideal. Make sure they are tough enough to last the expedition. 

• Camelbak/Platypus/bladders with hoses, are popular as they enable you to drink whilst walking; but they can leak or burst. It is also harder to keep track of how much water you use. If you do use one, please carry a 1 litre water bottle as a back-up. 

We will be moving through the wells of Ireland, however we can not always guarantee that these water sources are suitable for drinking. Each person must be accountable in the decisions to use water sources.

Eating utensils 

• Spoon. You can usually prepare and eat all of your food with a spoon. Knife and fork are optional. 

•A small sharp knife (we suggest Opinal  as they are made from soft steel and are easily sharpened)

• Bowl. 

• Cup for hot drinks. (A thermal travel cup with a lid we find works well)

Washing up and rubbish 

• Bring a scrubber and a small amount of eco washing up liquid to clean your pans. 

• A plastic bag for your rubbish. By keeping everything as plastic free and sustainable as possible we would hope for little to no rubbish.

Insect protection 

• Insect repellent is useful for protecting you from midges, mosquitos and ticks. Tea tree and citronella essential oils have been good in helping keep the insects at bay.

• A midge head net is a great idea for your kit 

Personal toiletries 

We really encourage people to consider the environment and use only natural toiletries

Please no wet wipes or non compostable items

•Toothbrush, toothpaste,

•Natural Soap 

•Antibacterial hand wash.

Optional extras
These items are not essential, but will make your expedition more comfortable and enjoyable. However, think carefully about what you want to bring as they will add to the weight you have to carry. 

Walking poles / Staff

• Great for helping you balance and for taking some of the weight off your legs. Can also be useful in supporting tarps.

Camera 

• You may want to bring a camera to record your journey –consider if your using your phone as a camera, it is recommended to save battery for essential calls. We recommend investing in a solar panel and battery bank to provide your own power.

Gaelic Woodland Project

Crainn

The Gaelic Woodland Project is raising money through the International Irish Community to buy land in Westmeath to afforest; this new woodland will be planted with the Native Woodland Scheme Grant, filled with native flora, and dedicated to Ireland’s scattered generations.

Our approach will tackle Ireland’s carbon emission deficit by increasing carbon sequestering in new broadleaf forestry; our wilderness strategy will help native wildlife by linking old-growth vegetation in the area with green corridors, exponentially increasing biodiversity and habitat.  

We will offer the Diaspora a piece of their ancestral land; it will be a living memorial to the struggles and triumphs of their families and be the beacon that welcomes home their children for generations to come.

We hope to collect thus far unrecorded family stories in our Irish Immrama Archive and name the woodland after an Irish Immigrant. QR codes will be placed at certain trees so visitors can rest and read their stories. 

The central woodland will be the flagship in our operation; a commemorative standing stone will be placed at its center in 2045, on the 200-year anniversary of the Great Famine. 

We will simultaneously promote and share Irish tales, language, music, lore, crafts and encourage nationwide rewilding as we manifest the idea of a green and wild Ireland that is often imagined but rarely experienced.