South Reen farm… in all its glory

November 3, 2014 10 Comments

We’ve been at South Reen farm in Union Hall, Ireland with our host, Ann, for 6 days now – so it’s about time we brought you all up to speed!

For anyone reading who might be unsure as to why we traveled to a farm in Ireland to spend the next 2 weeks, please let us enlighten you. We are WWOOF‘ing! WWOOF is an acronym for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. These organizations enable people to travel all over the world to volunteer their work to learn about different lifestyles as well as the slow food movement by developing farming skills, all in exchange for room and board.

We wanted to travel, but not just. We wanted to contribute to something bigger than ourselves – whether an individual, a family or community. We reached out to Ann at South Reen farm months ago and both agreed we were a good fit for each other. So, here we are! 🙂

Picking up from the last post now…
After first arriving at Ann’s house and tucking in for the night, we awoke eager to explore our surroundings and begin the projects lined up for us. Our morning started with tea, then a guided walk around the entire property by Ann. We were also able to formally meet her boisterous South Reen farm gang.

The 3 chickens: Pick, Peel and Scratchit
The horse: Handsome, Jamal

The 3 dogs: Cheng Ling, Schmegglie and iPad
IMG_2904zxdDon’t let iPad’s sweet, sleeping gimmick fool you. She is a feisty little firecracker of a pup!

This place is incredibly special. Standing in the presence of the bay, cliffs and forest takes me away from everything else on my mind. I can’t quite pin-point the feeling, but it’s exceptionally calming. It’s complete peace –  everything from the frequent and sudden downpours, dog barks, moos from the cows, hums from passing bumble bees  to the waves crashing on the stones at the beach below. The atmosphere creates a clean slate for your mind, a chance to think about everything, or nothing at all.

The following photos are from our very first day. It was rainy and muggy, but the views still couldn’t hide.


The landscape can quickly change from wide-open pasture to sheer jagged cliffs clashing with violent waves, to an Avatar-like forest. You can experience it all at South Reen, and we have. This being said, the maintenance never ends for Ann. When Ann’s parents first purchased the property and built the house, it became their holiday home. Originally from England, Ann’s family would spend their summers in Ireland. Ann elected to take responsibility of the property with the mission to breathe energy and life back into South Reen.

The improvements Ann has completed here are remarkable.
We consider ourselves very fortunate to be part of it.


There’s endless exploring to be done, but like any new home, first you have to get your work done.
Here are the projects we are currently working on:

  • Building the vegetable garden fence
  • Harvesting and laying seaweed on the outdoor vegetable garden beds
  • Weeding the poly tunnel
  • Fertilizing and laying seaweed on the soil in the poly tunnel
  • Mending the chicken coop
  • Clearing ivy overgrowth from the bungalow walls
  • Cut down shrubs around house
  • Cutting and clearing new path to beach from bungalow
  • Building new steps from qigong area to beach


The projects can be tough, but always very rewarding.

In any case, with meals like this, it’s more than worth it anyway.

Have something to say? We’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment by clicking the chat bubble icon below.

Blondie and the Beard


  • Reply Amanda Cummins November 4, 2014 at 9:38 am

    So pleased that Ann sent me the link to your blog. Reen has clearly worked its magic on you two! Love the photographs, especially the angelic iPad.

    Ann and I were at school together (so I’ve only known her for a VERY short time!!) (cough, cough!!!), and I’ve spent wonderful and happy times at Reen. In a weird synchronicity, having been friends for such ages, Ann discovered a connection between Reen and the Cummins family (well, my great-great-something-or-another) when she took on South Reen.

    Enjoy the rest of your stay at Reen and wherever next your trip takes you. Mandy

    • Reply the Beard November 6, 2014 at 3:17 pm

      Thanks Amanda! Reen really is an amazing place. We’re very lucky to be able to spend some time here. I know it’s an experience I’ll keep with me forever. Thanks for the compliment about the blog and we’ll keep the photos coming!

  • Reply Becki November 4, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    I have to stop reading these because my jealousy levels are getting a little out of control.. looks beautiful, guys! So glad you are soaking up and loving every minute.

    • Reply blondie November 6, 2014 at 5:22 pm

      Becki!! haha! Thank you for following along, I miss you!

  • Reply Steve eisen November 5, 2014 at 12:19 am

    Matt & Brit, thanks for the updates. Your writing is taking me on this journey with you (so to speak). Safe travels.. Look forward to future updates. Love from Minnesota.

    • Reply the Beard November 6, 2014 at 3:14 pm

      Hey Steve, thanks for reading! It’s fun knowing our family and friends are keeping up with us while we’re out here. I think this blog has been helpful to curb the homesickness. Hope you’re all doing well and surviving the Minnesota winter.

  • Reply Mom November 6, 2014 at 2:22 am

    Are you getting my posts and messages? We are so loving the blogs and look forward everyday to see if there is something new! We love you and miss you both

    • Reply the Beard November 6, 2014 at 3:12 pm

      We’re happy to know you’re loving the updates, we love writing them, probably a little too much. We’re loving our time at South Reen and have really lucked out to have such a generous and gracious host. We have some fun updates coming up. Love you too!

  • Reply Jake Shoptaugh November 10, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    I am currently looking for places to travel as I will be WOOFing in the near future. I am really enjoying your story so far. I am also very curious how you started your blog here so I could potentially do the same when I make my journey. Not trying to steal your thunder, it’s just a great way to enhance the memory. I would ove to chat through any medium, whichever is easiest for you. I don’t want to “clog your blog” though with a conversation between us. Feel free to email me if you so get the chance.

    Thanks and have a blast. Gets me excited!

    • Reply blondie November 18, 2014 at 5:57 pm

      Hey Jake! Long time no talk. Glad you’re reading along and enjoying our blog. I can shoot you a quick email with the steps we took to create our blog. Happy to know you will also be doing some WWOOF’ing soon, it was definitely a great experience for us.

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