The ground in our farm is poor, having been let go derelict for 20 years so it grows rushes in abundance - black heavy earth over a clay or daub with quartz in sandstone underneath. All the hand-dug drains have collapsed or are silted up. 14 acres are let to a neighbor in exchange for restoration of the rush fields into grassland and he tops the rushes and keeps horses on the land for 10 months of the year, he is highly experienced with a 7 ton digger and many neighbors have told us that it was a great move to have him helping us.
We have also built a practical compromise bronze age replica Irish sweat house or Teach Allais. This design style is taken from archaeological excavations of a prehistoric sweat house on the N25 at Rathpatrick, Silveroe, Co Kilkenny. The Irish bronze age sweat house is similar to Native American sweat lodges except it has the hot stone pit just to one side of the entrance as opposed to in the middle. We have lined the inside with sheeps wool felt and covered the structure with tarpaulin. Instead of a stone lined plunge pool I have built a stand up shower with privacy in mind. Next to be added is a high earthen bank to surround and enclose the entire setup of sweat house, shower, fire, wood store, stone pile and of course a shelter for shoes, clothing etc.
Outhouses include my workshop and a drystone shed or manger. My workshop is where I make and teach leathercraft as well as maintaining our medieval hard kit. Things I make include one-piece leather shoes such as the Gaelic slipper, hard leather helms, arm, leg and chest armour, bags and belts for Roman, Dark Age, Viking, Norman and or course Irish / Gaelic medieval re-enactors. I have displayed my leather craft work at the National Museum and at Heritage and Interpretive centers throughout Ireland. The old drystone shed was home for up to six cows when this farm was working. The neighbours tell me that it is over 200 years old.