Healthy Update at Carrowcrory

CarrowcroryjuneAs many readers here will know I had a stroke a few weeks ago

That kept me in hospital for over 2 weeks,
but I was lucky.

Celtic Dreamtime and Celtic Ways will carry on,
but there will be essential changes
and some very nice new projects being launched,to more than compensate what I now have to back down from.

Recovery :-)

Though I entered hospital quite paralysed, a Christopher Reeves experience, my back and right side recovered mobility within 24 hours, my left arm within 2 days, and left leg in about 5 days, with toes wiggling after a week.

Speech was not impaired but memory was, and I am still needing to train my short term memory but it is improving fast.

Its the first time in my life since I was about 6 years old that I have been on a course of medications, lots of them, though they are now greatly reduced to three medications a day. However, these drugs do seem have effects as my body does not have a clue about how to handle them i think. Fortunately these effects are getting less and less, especially as the drugs get less and less.

Though I can get around my home, cook, attend to personal care, do laundry and some cottage tidy work my physical energy is still low. Mental energy and inspirations are abundant and sharp.

My biggest set backs are not being able to drive for awhile and not being able to personally work on developing more of Carrowcrory into a visitor’s centre, though we still have plans and arrangements to forward this, but have to find some more cash for that.

Cause of the stroke?

As I am overweight, despite constant healthy diet, this was well considered as a cause.

My daily diet is lots of oily fish, lots of greens, no red meats or poultry, loads of oat based foods, a loaf of bread usually lasts a week, I do not smoke, and drink very little alcohol.

The hospital dietician diagnosed my overweight as mainly being due to not enough movement as my work involved a lot of seated driving then seated PC work to write up things and arrange things.

Though I did a lot of heavy manual work in the garden, that apparently is not a great help to weight control unless I was walking long distances too.

Living by myself a lot of the time I tend to prepare too much food and despite portioning it out to last 2 or 3 days, it does not often work that way. Even the healthiest of food falls flat without disciplined portion control.

Having said that, my eventual stroke diagnosis was not connected to weight or diet but to erratic heart rate, which I have lived with through my life, and thick blood caused by reasons guessed but also unknown. The combination caused clots that broke up and jammed in my brain. Medication I am on is geared at regulating heart beat and thinning blood to prevent this happening again.

What I cannot do now …

No driving for about 5 more weeks, and fairly uncertain for a few months after that.

To get people to our local ancient sites now I have to hire a driver and vehicle.

For awhile, I cannot do hard labour preparing the grounds at Carrowcrory to complete our visitor’s centre improvement plans this year..

I was in the middle of creating a rockery beside our labyrinth garden, additional stone circle and medicine wheel on the high level of the land and a large rocky waterfall facility from the center of the labyrinth and out through its aisle opposite the willows. There are a lot of beautiful rocks buried just below the surface of our land that I have been digging up to use for these projects.

I will now have to do other activities to create funds to pay for healthy able people to labour and do this work instead.

What I can do now …

is move forward with other projects on our list to make Carrowcrory and exciting and inspiring place to visit.

Afternoons At Carrowcrory

This will largely replace our Celtic Dreamtime Days, though I am partially doing this out of popular demand that was revealing itself before my stroke.

Since promoting the full Celtic Dreamtime Days several people have approached me to ask if they can just come for the afternoon.

Folks were starting to regard our very full days at 55 euros, including lunch, as way out of their budget so I created a day with less costs to myself so I could price it at 35 euros including lunch. Still folks were telling me this was way out of their budget.

So now we have “Afternoons at Carrowcrory” costing only 15 euros per person, and this includes tea and scones rather than lunch. This is proving to be instantly popular with quite large groups already visiting.

After being here an afternoon, visitors are asking if they can return with us for longer sessions of two or more days. Once here for an “Afternoon At Carrowcrory” folks seem to find that what we do here has value to them and they want to discover more.

Afternoons at Carrowcrory now includes two or more of the following activities ….

Ogma’s Tale Of The Trees

Through our last USA tour and with visitors here since, folks love to engage in this story of the creation of the Ogham Alphabet.

Over time we will develop this beyond drama and poetry into practical hands on workshops of things to do and make with the wood, with reference the the interpretations that have been passed down through the Ogma legends. For now we are developing a presentation of this through our Labyrinth Garden that is themed on trees and herbs.

This is very topical here here as it is said that Ogma first taught the Ogham alphabet near here.

Brigid From Goddess To Saint

Nothing seems to fascinate visitors to Ireland than tales of Brigid, except maybe the “famine”, but we do not cover that. Most people can find reverence in their heart to at least one of the incarnations of the Brigid and Bride stories, legends and traditions. The Brigid spirit is especially an igniting spirit for most women and a revelation for many men who fear their place on earth with women is now lost.

Several of our local ancient sites have a connection to the earliest reverence to Brigid which we can also share through ancient traditions through using our labyrinth garden.

We can introduce and share activities from the four “cilles” of Brigid, resurrection and new life , poetry, crafting and healing

Dream Crafts

Starting with the making of Brigid crosses, a long standing popular activity here, to the creation of other crafts for the carrying of prayers and wishes as well as the receiving of dreams, inspiration and vision, all with materials of nature.

We intend to greatly expand the growing of grasses, reeds, willows, rowans and apples for thin branches to be crafted by our guests for their other world connections or accompaniment to prayer.

Harps and Bards

This really brings it all together, all of the traditions we touch on at Carrowcrory inspired the ancient bards.

Today, when possible, we have Claire Roche and her harps present to share stories, poems and songs with accompaniment with harps. Sometimes we have other harp per bard guests.

Performances are within the living room of our restored cottage, but if weather is sunny and warm, could be in the sanctuary circle of our labyrinth garden


Of course, to enjoy our Afternoons at Carrowcrory, its a wonderful idea to stay at our local Ballaghboy Lodge for dinner, bed and breakfast the night before and night after.

Though Ballaghboy Lodge is the best value we know, especially for comfort and hospitality, and people who stay there just do not want to leave, but we still have some people say “out of our budget!”

Therefore we can now offer basic daily self catering from as little as 18 euros per person per night sharing.

click here for updates and make inquiries and bookings from my web site


Recently I seem to be flooded with inquiries of how to have a vacation in Ireland with a budget of around $US 50 a day. In places like Greece, Turkey, Croatia, this is quite doable but in Ireland this is hard penance rather than vacation.

You can easily have a rustic, eco, low budget vacation here for as little as 60 euros a day for everything

but as this is vacation I highly recommend a comfortable, pampered, hospitality and service vacation for around 120 euros a day for everything.

Most folks want to “do” all of Ireland but you’ll need at least 200 euros a day for that and you’ll find it exhausting.

We can offer you more of a full Ireland experience that is more relaxed and easier on budget.

We look forward to you visiting us when you are in Ireland.


  1. Gosh! John your quotes are extremely reasonable.......too reasonable? Aren't there always people who will say "its out of their budget"? I mean I had a known millionaire barter my fee with me........!! A very good friend of mine told me once ( I think you know him too), to rather increase the price and then see what happens .......guess? :-)

    Contimued best wishes for your health. Bearnaidin

  2. There are situations where I find the higher pricing works very well, but through one on one dialogue. Our "Afternoons At Carrowcrory" seem to work well for us now, a quality taster with people asking afterwards, "How can I explore this much further?". This evolved from several people asking me "I read about your tours, workshops and full days, but what would you charge us if we just came along for a couple of hours?" We have done a few of those now, thoroughly enjoy them, and the visitors tend to book something else to explore further. Accommodation I do as a favour as folks respond much better to here if they have not driven or travelled far.

  3. Sorry to hear about your stroke but glad you are recovering well. My husband had a similar one over 10years ago and recovered almost fully, a little tingling in extremities. I understand what a life-confirming experience it is. Your blog, as always, is excellent and we wish you many long healthy walks to beautiful places.

  4. I am in great form now :-) Many thanks to you all for good wishes


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