No. 14 – Cleaning Up the Fairy Trail

Several months ago something new came into our lives. After watching the movie Epic during one of our road trips, the girls became obsessed with fairies. More specifically, they became obsessed with quoting entire scenes from this animated film about fairies. Their incessant exchange of the characters’ funniest lines usually occurs over dinner when Brian and I can’t escape it. Sometimes it’s hilarious to listen to them chatter and giggle about it. Other times it gets to be a little unnerving…at which point a glass of wine usually helps make all the fairy talk more amusing.

A couple weeks ago we learned about a hiking trail in Rineen Woods featuring fairy houses. Of course with this love for all things fairy-related we have in our household, we had to check it out. The trail meandered along the coastline for a while, and then, sure enough, fairy houses began to appear. Some were finely crafted wooden structures built into the curves of the trees. Others were the creations of little girls – makeshift roofs propped up with stones and decorated with ribbons and seashells. The idea clearly started with one person who decided to add a little magic to the woods and then a tradition was born. Our girls were soon creating their own house to add to the Irish fairy village.
Hidden fairy houses in Rineen Woods
Alison at a fairy house in Rineen Woods
Building a fairy house in Rineen Woods

As they wandered around finding sticks and moss to use on their little structure, we began noticing quite a bit of trash lying around. The tides had washed up bottles, wrappers, styrofoam coolers, cans and other things clearly not belonging in a fantasy land for fairies. So we returned a few days later not only to finish the fairy house, but also to collect as much trash as we could find. Notice the pink trash bags. That wasn’t intentional, but it did suit an afternoon of fairy trash collecting quite well.
Alison grossed out during our trash pickup in Rineen Woods
Cleaning litter by the bay
Pink trash bags are appropriate for a fairy clean up day

Trash collecting has become our go-to service project when we can’t find other ways to help out in a community. After several trash collecting experiences on this journey, we’ve become what Brian calls a “net positive family” when it comes to litter. Where ever we are, whatever we’re doing, if we see it we pick it up. Every little bit counts, right?
The Carisch fairy house

About the Author

Tracey Carisch

Mom, wife, friend and change agent traveling the world with my family to learn our place in it. After spending a career in organizational change management and community initiative implementation, I put my career on hold for our family's trip around the world. In April of 2014 we sold almost everything we own, put the rest in a storage container, and departed on this journey. While my husband continued his software development work to financially support our trip, I planned and documented our adventure, homeschooled our three daughters, and found volunteer work opportunities for us to do in the communities we visit. Now that we've returned to the U.S., I'm completing book about our family's adventure and our lessons learned.

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1 Comment

  1. Since we have typical boys, fairies weren’t a very big part of our scenery. However, when we were in England, we did go to the town where Christopher Robin supposedly played with Piglet et al. There is Pooh Sticks Bridge where the boys got a physics lesson while they dropped sticks into the river for hours. There is also a 100 acre wood (actually a 500 acre wood) that you can hike in, If you are heading that way, it is in the town of Ashdown Forest in East Sussex about 30 mi (km?) south of London. I can’t remember which way your travels are taking you, but if you are going to be (back?) in the London area, the other sight that thrilled our boys was Chislehurst Caverns in Kent. You tour these caverns that were mined for chalk ages ago and were then used as shelters during the bombings in WWII. it’s a whole underground town. Great history lesson and great fun.

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