4 Nov 2008
A Blast from the Past No.2: Natural Building in Ireland in 2002
The second film that emerged from my dusty archives is a programme called Leargas, an Irish language programme from RTE television. This programme is from 2002, and is called ‘A Gra for Straw’ (Gra is Irish for ‘love’). It offers a fascinating snapshot of the young and emerging green/natural building movement in Ireland then. It also features a somewhat younger and more windswept me co-ordinating a strawbale building project on a windswept hillside in West Cork.
There is something about this programme I really love. Despite the producer’s inability to do a story about strawbale building without the obligatory reference to the Three Little Pigs (as Barbara Jones put it to “the moral of the story of the Three Little Pigs isn’t to not build a house of straw, but to never let a pig build your house”), it clearly is passionate about its subject. It is deeply respectful of the self-builders it visits, and in an understated way, is quite radical, given that it was made at a time when the march of the ghastly concrete house was stalking across the Emerald Isle with great gusto. The speeded up footage of construction in Dublin contrasts powerfully with the selfbuilders experimenting with natural materials. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.