Kaid Benfield Archive


A sustainable community in County Galway

Kaid Benfield

Posted March 17, 2011 at 1:31PM

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  Clifden, Co. Galway, from the Sky Road (c2011 FK Benfield)

If there are landscapes on earth more beautiful than Ireland’s County Galway, there aren’t many.  From arty, bustling Galway City one heads west into the Connemara country, where windswept mountains, meadows, farms, villages and sea intermingle in majesty.  I can’t wait to return for my fourth visit.

Perhaps when I do, the Galway Sustainable Community Project will be in full blossom.  Its idealistic proponents envision an intentional community built on principles of cohousing, local economy, and respect for nature.  These are the “core principles” explained on the project’s web site:

  • Environmental sustainability and low ecological impact through appropriate technology, shared resources and facilities, organic growing, and good design.
  • poster for Galway Sustainable Community Project (by: GSCP)Conscious commitment to community encouraging real interdependence and connections among people, through the physical design of the village, shared group activities, and commitment to personal development and the sometimes hard work of living in community.
  • Participatory democracy ensuring that everyone has an equal say in decisions, through consensus decision-making and non-hierarchical structures.
  • Accessibility and equality striving to make the group open and welcoming to people from all backgrounds, abilities and walks of life by removing barriers to joining and to full participation in the group, and by supporting members as much as possible to participate and contribute.
  • Self-sufficiency meeting our own basic needs as far as possible, including food, energy, water and waste management, and child and elder care.
  • Education continuing to educate ourselves about ecological and community living, and passing on what we learn to others.
  • Interaction with the wider community keeping our village 

I hope they succeed.  Here’s a nice video from the group behind the project:


And now, because this is my blog and I can, I will treat you to Phil and June Colclough’s anthemic “Song for Ireland,”  performed by the great Irish singer Mary Black.  The video is a composite of her performance of the song in Dublin when President Bill Clinton visited in the mid-1990s and a second, concert performance with the exquisite band DeDanaan.  She sings her heart out:


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