In 2018, we bought the land at Dronagiri with the intention of building a new centre for Satmya. There was quite a lot of work to do first (clearing the site, building stone walls, creating new roads, planting lots of trees, getting planning permission & securing finance).
In 2020 -2021, we started clearing the site with the help of John Casey & his team from the Garden Depot in Broadford. John expertly developed the new site with great attention to detail.
In 2021, we commissioned a stone wall and arch to create a boundary around the new site. Stone walls are excellent for wildlife and since we built it, the are lots of wild birds in & around it on a daily basis.
From 2020-2021 we set about designing our new centre with the help of Fergus & Lesley Merriman from Glendree, Co. Clare. They helped us put the technical detail we needed to get planning permission and also introduced us to the Ecococon system of building with straw panels. Fergus was great for guiding us to achieving the most ecological building we could and also taking into account our Vastu requirements.
In June 2021, we secured planning permission and commenced building in November 2021
By the time we got planning permission, building costs had gone through the roof and we had no choice but to self build…. Thankfully we got a lot of technical help and some skilled labour along the way but a challenge nonetheless!
Stage 1 – Foundations – done by a very skilled local builder – Joe from CRJ construction, Feakle
Filling with Geocell – a recycled glass gravel
The geocell is then topped with a thin layer of concrete
Getting ready for the Straw Panels to arrive – building roof trusses with our extremely helpful brother in law, Eddie Dunne, from Complete Attics
The long awaited wall panels arrived from Ecococon
With the help of Paul Lynch from Sustainabuild, the whole building was up in 4 days
After 2 weeks the roof was on and the building was weatherproof (just in time for Storm Barra)
Then the Steico Boards were put on to get ready for plastering
Unfortunately, we had not ordered enough steico boards, so the build had to take a break for half of December until more arrived from Germany – big set back and a bit stressful due to the very wet December we had.
We used Baumit plaster externally as it is a breathable external render. This process took a lot longer than expected due to a few weather set backs and in the end we only finished in March as we needed 3-4 continuous dry days with no freezing temperatures.
For a bit of stress relief we planted 220 trees around the site. We were lucky enough to receive 150 trees from Hometree in Ennistymon and we managed to get them all in the ground before the end of February. The rest of the trees were purchased locally from Saul at Wild Oaks (who actually supplied the lads at Hometree with the free trees as part of a forestry Scheme).
On days when we weren’t plastering outside we had plenty to do inside. (put dry walls & ceilings up, door frames, attic insulation, attic hatch, plumbing, electrics, plastering & decoration and sealing the floor). We’re still in the thick of this inside process and have about 10 days to go but we’ll post more photos soon.
Insulating the building with Ecocell
Applying the clay plaster to the straw. A slow but enjoyable process.
New gravel is down and it is transformative, the exterior is almost complete