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Howard Connick.

Derrycragg, Co. Galway.
Story of change Howard Connick. story
“I once read that there are 300 different life forms that live on oak trees. When you plant an oak tree, you're giving a home to a lot of creatures. I want to support that”


Meet Howard. He has an infectious love of nature and has planted thousands of trees. Originally from America, Howard made his way to Ireland back in 1971 on a visit to meet some friends travelling from Germany. With the opportunity for some cheap land and a sprinkling of "divine intervention", fifty years later, Howard is a permanent feature in Derrycragg (meaning Oak Rock) along with the thousands of trees he has planted since he arrived. "When I first moved here there were 2 oaks. In the year 2000 I planted 2000 oaks and four or five years ago, I planted another 1500 oaks. There isn’t a year that goes by that I don’t plant trees."

The land is mainly red sandstone which is not considered valuable for farming but with Howard’s thoughtful care and attention he has created a magical space where biodiversity can thrive. Howard’s commitment to improving Ireland's forest cover is just a small part of this story. His land is registered organic and with the support of his daughter-in-law, he grows produce in polytunnels, has two goats that he milks to make cheese, honey bees and highland cows. As if that wasn’t enough, he has a hydroelectric dam and a real dedication to promoting the benefits of renewable energy as a way to live more sustainably and efficiently. "I couldn't tell enough people about it, we can power the house as well as the car for about three days without any connection to the grid.”

This is a story of a kind man living on boggy land off the Tulla Road who has grown a forest for the future and has sensibly invested in systems that allow him and his family to live self-sufficiently.


When I was one of the so-called hippies back in the 60’s, people understood that the way we were living was unsustainable. Learning how to be self-sufficient wasn’t and isn’t just about being sustainable, it’s about survival.


I think that every house should have solar panels on the roof and better insulation in the walls. Not everyone can do that so the government should be doing so much more to subsidise the cost.


What gives me hope is that the population of the earth is now greater than the total number of people that ever lived on the planet. Therefore statistically all the great minds that ever were, all exist at this very moment, and most are connected to one another via the internet. I like to think that all that intelligence may be able to resolve the issues that plague the planet.


BOOK: Merlin Sheldrake. An Entangled Life