July 16 – Aughrim

july1012July 16th Hitching For Hope blog. Ruairí’s Hitching For Hope national listening tour is a one month project to hear, document and promote the visions and visions of the people of Ireland in advance of speaking at the MacGill Summer School in Glenties on July 29th & 30th . More info 

Blogging from the road, please excuse errors and sound quality issues etc.). Press the orange play icon on sound files to hear audio. 

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Latest blog (reviewing July 16th)

Time to get moving. I had somehow gotten stuck in Dublin for a couple of days. I packed my bags again and waited to watch myself on TV3 (a strange experience) before getting a lift with Susan out to the Red Cow roundabout in Dublin.

A Sunday Times photographer had been trying to track me down and it wasn’t working out. I had asked him what his plans for the day was and he said he had to go to Aughrim in Co. Wicklow for a job. I asked if I could hitch a lift with him. Technically not hitching I know but I’m lazy sometimes!

He said no problem. So off we went south, chatting about his life, family and child care costs. We stopped on the road and did a posed hitching shot for a Sunday Times article. Another strange experience. How can this trip stay authentic and real while doing so much media? A delicate balance but perhaps just all part of it.

We wandered through the picturesque sunshine cloaked villages of the Wicklow mountains and ended up in Aughrim. There I sat in a cafe, got some lunch and did another interview. This time a pre-record for 98FM in Dublin. I had texted a friend who had previously introduced me to her friends from Aughrim. I was curious to see if they were around to where I might end up next. I was open to keep moving but the lads had texted me back and offered me a couch for the night.


James arrived and within minutes we were in full swing chatting about alternative visions for the future including possible different structures for economics, politics, energy, healthcare and more. James was buzzing with ideas and you could tell he was well read and bursting with energy for action. I interviewed him and captured some of his ideas on a short video. See below (sorry about background noise….)

The lads had a booked called ‘Who owns the world’ that an older man in Waterford had given them. This book was a bible of information and was written by an Irish man who had previously worked as a researcher or archivist for the UK parliament. The book is well written and the lads had memorised large chunks of it including mind blowing facts on the individuals and royal families who own so much of the earth and how the majority of us are in many ways still subsidising their land and lifestyles. So much of this is through the common agriculture policy. Sounds like socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor. Aughrim was a major site in the 1798 revolution in Ireland so it felt fitting to be discussing these issues of class and wealth which haven’t gone away in centuries.


We went off for a walk and I did a radio interview with Flirt FM whilst sitting in a stream and trying to block out the noise of a local woman shouting at young people who were using a noisy old jeep to tear up the mountain paths. On the way back we stopped and read a plaque commemorating a local Garda who had campaigned to make the forest walk a reality for all to enjoy. Another example of the power of one person to make a difference that will benefit generations to come.



On the way back to the flat we stopped at an old Mill and James talked to me the possibility of someday turning it into a community co-op full of art, culture, enterprise and community.



Back at the house James cooked up a great fish dinner and we chatted to their friend Alanna (who had heard me on Today FM) about the joy they got out of organising a recent local arts festival, that one older man said ‘turned the lights back on in the town’. They brought young and old together, mixed hip hop and trad, and did it all without funding. They had some naysayers and blockages, which is always the way, but it seemed they’ve unlocked something that is already gathering steam for 2014.





We chatted the night away until 1am with more frightening stats from the Who owns the world book. At this stage my head was full. I couldn’t take in any more knowledge, stories or facts. It was time to call it a day and get some sleep and be ready for more hitching for hope tomorrow.

The hitching for hope continues…

Thanks for all your support.



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Places I have visited so far
Galway City, Spiddal, Moycullen, Oughterard, Cleggan, Inishbofin, Clifden, Mam Cross, Leenane, Westport, Croagh Patrick, Newport, Achill Island, Rossport, Belmullet, Mullet peninsula, Ballina, Sligo, Bundoran, Donegal Town, Mountcharles, St. John’s Pt., Letterkenny, Derry, Leixslip, Dublin, Aughrim Co. Wicklow, Gorey, Kilmuckridge, Wexford Town, Baldwinstown, Kilmore Quay, Hook Head, Ballyhack, Passage East, Dunmore East, Cork City. (Updated July 21st).

Media coverage
Thanks to Galway Bay FM, iRadio, the Galway Independent, Mid West Radio, Ocean FM, Tipp FM, WorldIrish.com, Highland Radio, BBC Radio Foyle x 3, the Derry Journal, DonegalDaily.com, RTE Radio One Mooney Show, the Irish Times, theJournal.ie, Newstalk (Breakfast show), Today FM (KC show), TV3 Morning Show, 98FM late night talk, Shannonside Northern South, Flirt FM, South East Radio, The Cork Independent, Cork Evening Echo, The Sunday Times.

Links to media coverage

Irish Times

Derry Journal
TV3 This Morning  show
Radio – Today FM – KC show (after some ads)
Radio – RTE Radio – Mooney show


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