Natural building courses 2020



We are running 3 short courses spaced out over the rest of the year with 3 different facilitators with expertise in three aspects of natural building.
The building will be used for our herbal medicine clinical practice and dispensary including a large roundhouse space as a teaching space. The building is placed by our woodland, next to the river and nearby the ancient Hazel grove with views from the treatment room of the trees instilling healing and calm. Our medicinal plant gardens will surround the space.

Stone Foundation Course

This 2 day workshop is lead by Harrison Gardiner. It covers installing dry stone foundations and how to build up to dry stone/ lime mortar walls as a base for any natural building. This is the most natural option for any timber frame or earth building.

We opted for this foundation instead of putting concrete into the ground and are using stone from our own land. It's a practical hand on 2 days where we will complete a small section of foundation.


Dates: 10th & 11th July 2020
Meals: Includes lunch and refreshments each day and dinner on the 10th. All meals are vegetarian.
6 participants.
Times: 10am - 5pm.
Cost: €50


Timber Framing Course

The second course is the reciprocal roof framing workshop with roundwood timber lead by Jo Forsythe. We are aiming for end of August 2020 for this 5 day course - dates TBC. You will learn simple joints and framing techniques to erect a roundwood timber frame post and beam structure. We will use our own timber - larch. Most timber rounds will be debarked but there will be enough to get some practice on during the course. This course covers also covers raising the reciprocal roof and creating a straw bale insulated grass roof.


Dates:  To Be Confirmed for Autumn 2020 (5 day course)
Meals: Includes lunch and refreshments each day and dinner each evening. Meals are vegetarian with option of meat depending on the needs of the group.
10 participants.
Times: 9:30am - 5pm.

Accommodation: Camping onsite available with woodland shower and compost toilets.  The nearest B&B is 10 minutes drive away. Possibility of staying at Big Foot Yurts 1km away.

Jo Forsyth is a natural builder and teacher based in Cornwall, who trained at the Cob Cottage company in Oregon, USA in 2008.  She has worked and taught internationally including several projects in Ireland. Private clients, include Slane Castle and residents of Cloghjordan eco village. She has also co-taught workshops at the Hollies centre for practical sustainability in Cork. For the last 4 years in the UK, she has taught alongside Tony Wrench and Simon Crook building roundhouses on the Shift Bristol course with students. She is well known for facilitating a supportive and inclusive learning experience.


Hempcrete Course

This is a 3 day course on how to build hempcrete walls including internal framing. It will be facilitated by an experienced installer from one of the hempcrete companies in Ireland. We are aiming to reach this part of the build in winter.


Dates: To Be Confirmed (3 day course)
Meals: Includes lunch and refreshments each day and dinner on the first and second day. All meals are vegetarian.
6 participants.

Over the course of these 3 events participants can expect to leave with the confidence to pursue their own projects and begin their own journeys. This type of building is community building at its best so, expect a fun yet productive experience in the company of other humans!


All tools are provided on the course but if you wish to bring along your own you are more than welcome. You will need working boots, gloves, waterproof jacket and trousers. This is an all-weather build, bring layers!



Contact Marina & Ross on  086 0800898/ 087 6272633  or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About Ivywood

Herbalists Ross Hennessy and Marina Kesso have moved their businesses and family to a new piece of land in Co Clare. They are busy creating new spaces on the land to reestablish their clinical practice and medicinal herb nursery. Formerly Bareroot Botanicals and Iona Herbal they have now renamed the woodland and business Ivywood.



* indicates required