The Mountain Meitheal
What does Meitheal mean?
Literally: meitheal (Irish). A group of farmers working co-operatively.
Meitheal is the Irish name for a work group. Traditionally, the term referred to rural agricultural groups. The practice was, and is, for a group of neighbours to come together to help each other in tasks such as preparing the hay, or gathering the harvest. Each person would help their neighbour who would in turn reciprocate.
The term is used in various writings of Irish language authors. It is used in modern parlance, for example in Scouting as a group of volunteer campsite wardens who maintain scout campsites around Ireland.
We are a group of volunteers who undertake conservation and restoration projects on mountain and forest tracks. Our objectives are simple, we are attempting to counteract some of the pressures that are evident on Ireland's mountains by working with the various landowners including, the National Park & Wildlife Service, Coillte and private landowners. We also promote the concept of sustainable recreation through the LEAVE NO TRACE message and are members of the Leave No Trace Ireland group.
We meet at least every two weeks on alternate Saturdays and Sundays from late February to late November and our programme details are updated regularly on this site and through emails. You can contact us for further information on joining us by contact us Get out, get dirty give back.
We have volunteers from many different backgrounds, skills and interests. You may have questions for us before you come out and join us so we have attempted to answer them on our FAQs and you can also see photos and reports from some our work on our newsletters You can also visit our little trail shop to purchase t shirts and pins and other goods as available.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do I join Mountain Meitheal?
Come and try out a work day with us and see if you like it! To join complete the attached form and post it with your subscription to the Membership Secretary.
Why do volunteers need to get involved?
In other countries throughout Europe and in the US volunteers undertake path work often supporting the work of professional crews. They work in national parks and forests and on national trails such as the Appalachian Trail or mountain biking trails. Volunteer work makes a real contribution to conserving the environment. The reality is that the problems caused by the increase in usage are outstripping the resources currently available to deal with this conservation problem.
Volunteer effort can also have a huge education impact. IT demonstrates to users the impact they are having and hopefully what walkers and other mountain users can do to help save the mountains.
Last but not least it is also good fun, and finishing a project or seeing vegetation returning to a once badly trampling area is very satisfying.
Where and how often do we meet?
Our “season” is February through to November every year. Workdays are usually every other Saturday or Sunday and details appear on programme. Workdays can change depending upon the weather or a particular project’s needs. Please check our programme first. We also notify all our volunteers by email. Add your name email us at contact us
Anyone who’s enthusiastic, willing to learn and is able to pitch in to their best ability - no experience necessary! The work can sometimes be strenuous, sometimes in remote upland places, and good health is important. We provide training in safety procedures, the use of hand tools and trail construction and maintenance techniques. But as a volunteer you can work as hard or take it as easy as you like.
Why do I pay a subscription?
The annual sub pays for necessary insurance cover, costs of running the organization and the cost of buying and replacing tools. We have no paid employees – All members give of their time for free.
What do I need to bring on a day out?
Mountain all-weather gear – fleeces, no denim jeans, waterproof over jacket, plenty of layers, hiking boots, gaiters; its best to wear old clothes to protect against the elements and the work can be dirty! Bring lunch and a hot drink. Work gloves and tools are provided.
How much time should I give?
The one in seven approach!!
But please – GET OUT, GET DIRTY, GIVE BACK
How much experience do I need?
NONE. We work hard to teach our volunteers the joy of trail maintenance. We hope by investing our time in teaching you trail maintenance you'll come back and join us again.
Where can I get your t shirts, fleeces etc.?
When you join get a MM pin with your membership card. We award fleeces and t shirts to our volunteers for work done. For more info email contact us. You can also buy our stuff fom our little store.
Can I Bring kids?
No sorry unfortunately we can only accept volunteers who are over 18 years of age.
May I leave early? Arrive late?
In general NO. We carry in the tools and out again so it is a little unfair to expect other to do this for you. Our crew leaders give a tool talk and its important that your there to here this important safety message. Our work day runs from10:30am - 4:30pm.
Can I bring my pets?
NO. Please do not bring any pets. We have found that pets can be a significant distraction to other volunteers and trail users and in some rare cases a safety hazard.
Can I bring a big group?
YES. But if your group is larger than 6 people, please contact us to make special arrangements. Email our secretary at contact us.
Do you still work in bad weather?
YES. Unless you are notified otherwise, our crew leaders will be waiting for you at the car park. If the bad weather continues through out the day we may go home early. It's a very democratic process. The crew leader will listen to the volunteers and call off the work party. You may leave early on your own if you like, but please notify your crew leader if you are leaving and sign out.
Should I bring my own tools?
NO. Meitheal provides all the tools you need. The only tools of your own that you might consider bringing would be gloves. Our safety tool talk includes a comprehensive discussion of the safe usage of each tool. We can not permit anyone to bring and use a tool not covered in our safety lecture.
Can I bring my chainsaw?
NO. Volunteers and power tools are a bad mix. Furthermore a special certification is required from land managers like Coillte and the NPWS before anyone is allowed to use a chainsaw on their land. Any felling of trees will be taken care of by the land manager's hired personnel.
|Annual Camp 2006 |