…By Joseph Benjamin for TDPel Media.
During the Covid pandemic, Amy Johnson, 34, and her husband Peter, 46, made the decision to escape the pressures of the rat race.
They relocated their family of four children to County Mayo in Ireland, where they purchased a six-acre property for £200,000 (€230,000) after selling their previous home in Lincolnshire for £275,000.
The family now focuses on self-sufficiency, cultivating their own food and relying on wood for heating.
Seeking a Change:
Amy and Peter reevaluated their lives amidst the pandemic and realized that despite having paid off their mortgage, they lacked satisfaction and fulfillment.
Although initially considering Wales, they seized the opportunity to move to Ireland, falling in love with their current property.
They left their jobs, packed up their belongings, and embarked on a new chapter.
Longing for Space and Sustainability:
Having always desired more space, Amy and Peter, a self-employed builder, were motivated by their experience of growing vegetables in a small garden.
Their previous residence was in London before they relocated to Lincolnshire.
The move to rural Ireland has provided them with peace, opportunities, and a closer connection to nature.
Growing their own food and raising animals has become an integral part of their lifestyle, offering a sense of peace and belonging.
A Sustainable Lifestyle:
While Amy occasionally visits the supermarket for essentials, the family actively strives to grow as much of their own food as possible.
Their property boasts a vegetable garden, polytunnels, and a greenhouse.
They cultivate a wide variety of crops, including tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, sunflowers, corn, kale, cabbages, strawberries, and fruit trees.
Amy envisions offering a “pick your own” experience to guests and plans to reduce their shopping bill by storing, freezing, dehydrating, and canning their harvest.
Reducing Utility Costs:
Amy and Peter have managed to significantly reduce their utility bills since the move.
They only pay for electricity, which costs around £150 (€175) per month, compared to their previous bills of at least £250 per month in the UK.
While chopping wood for heating can be physically demanding, they find it worthwhile to have greater control over their energy expenses.
Freedom and Homeschooling:
Amy has taken on the role of homeschooling their four children, ages 8 to 14.
The family appreciates the newfound freedom and space they have on the homestead.
The children enjoy exploring and playing outdoors, often accompanied by their dog.
Amy emphasizes the advantages of homeschooling, including easy access to information and the ability to tailor education to each child’s needs.
Future Plans and Renovations:
The family’s Irish homestead is a work in progress, and they have exciting plans for the future.
They aim to renovate a two-bedroom cottage, including redoing the walls and bathroom.
Additionally, they intend to create pathways and gates throughout their land, which is dotted with streams.
The property also features a haybarn and three other buildings that they hope to convert into Airbnb accommodations.
Currently, they are in the process of re-roofing the existing structures.
Amy, Peter, and their children have embraced a simpler and more sustainable way of life on their rural Irish homestead.
By growing their own food, reducing utility bills, and homeschooling their children, they have found greater fulfillment and peace.
With their ongoing renovations and plans for the future, their homestead is evolving into a self-sufficient haven and a potential retreat for others seeking an off-grid experience.