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foot mixing cob

10-Day Mud and Wood Building Course
After the success of splitting the BIG course in 2017, we are doing the same for 2018. For a complete overview of how to build a natural home, come for all 10 days. But if you can't commit to all 10 days, consider our 5-Day Mud House Building Course or our 5-Day Wood House Building Course.

10 Day Mud and Wood Building Course
02 - 13 July 2018
Does Not Include Weekend
Bookings Closed
Start:   10:00 a.m
Finish: 5:30 p.m.
Lunch: Hearty vegetarian stews and curries

Terms and Conditions
Payment and booking form are required to complete a booking. Bookings are non-transferable.
Please click here for our cancellation policy.

Alternative Payment Options
Courses can also be paid for by cheque made out to Mud and Wood or by electronic transfer directly into the Mud and Wood account. Please contact us for our bank details if you would prefer to pay in this way.

Unwaged/Students Terms and Conditions
There are a limited number of unwaged/student places on each course. Please check that there are places still available prior to booking. Proof of unwaged/student status MUST be provided at time of purchase. Failure to provide proof will result in a void booking, in which case the course fee minus an administration fee of €20 will be refunded.

timber frame wall
Click Here for Online Booking Form Click Here for pdf. Booking Form Click Here for Gift Vouchers
Click Here for Testimonials    
plinth wall

This 10-day course will cover all of the elements involved in the design and build of a contemporary natural home. There will be a mix of classroom theory and practical workshops with the aim of giving participants the confidence to tackle all aspects of large scale project. At Mud and Wood, we believe that not only should you learn how to do something, you should understand why you are doing it.

Thorough guidance will be provided in the use of all tools. Plenty of complete novices, as well as those with some building skills, have attended and enjoyed these courses. Scroll to the bottom of the page to read some testimonials from past participants.

If you have samples of soil from your own site which you would like to analyse, please bring a plastic shopping bagful with you. You may have several different soil samples, even from the same site.

This course will be taught be Colin Ritchie, cob-builder and carpenter, and Féile Butler, cob-builder and architect (MRIAI) in the grounds of the Mud and Wood House. Classroom-based lectures will take place in the house.

There are no classes over the weekend of 07 - 08 July 2017. The 10-Day Mud and Wood Building Course is intense, so make the most of this downtime to see what beautiful Co. Sligo has to offer.

The 10-Day Mud and Wood Building Course will cover:

  • Tour of the House
  • Soil Analysis and Suitability
  • Foot-Mixing and Hand-Building with Cob
  • Demonstration of Machine-Mixing Cob
  • Making Plywood Forms for Cob (even curvy ones!)
  • Making Your Own Cobbing Tools
  • Cobbing, Cobbing and More Cobbing (on a large scale)
  • Understanding the Thermal Properties of Cob
  • Constructing Insulated Plinth Walls
  • Plastering and Sculpting with Earth
  • Fixing Timber Elements into Cob (lintels, joists, frames, etc.)
  • House Design Workshop
  • Video of How We Built the Mud and Wood House
  • Setting Out a Building (even a curvy one!)
  • Options for Foundations and Ground Floors
  • Building a Timber Frame and Straw Bale Wall
  • Understanding Insulation
  • Tips for Salvaging Building Materials
  • Making Timber Beams
  • Hanging Floor Joists
  • Making Temporary Windows and Doors
  • Building Simple Pitched and Flat Roofs
  • Natural Edge Wood Fitted Furniture
cobbing with formwork
hanging floor joists
lintels in cob

What to Bring:

This is a very practical hands-on course with all workshops taking place outdoors. You will be working with earth on a daily basis, so bring good waterproof clothes and sturdy footwear (preferably steel toe-caps) which you don't mind getting muddy.

Bring a notebook and pen for theory. A hardback notebook or a clipboard is advisable if you want to take notes during outdoor workshops. The Handbook will be provided.

If you have them - bring a hammer, saw, measuring tape, cordless screwdriver, spirit level and pencils. We have extra tools on site, but if you have your own, you will not have to wait around to use tools.

Please label all personal items before arriving on the course.

Novices tend to be most nervous of the cordless screwdriver. If you can get hold of one to practise in advance of the course, by repeatedly driving screws into and removing screws from a piece of wood, this can help your confidence from the get-go.

Accommodation:   Click here for local camping and B&B and self-catering options.
Directions by Car:   To be sent with booking confirmation.
Public Transport: Click here.
Cost:   €925 / €835 concession or early bird

Cancellation Policy:

  • 100% refundable up to 6 weeks prior to course start date, minus administration fee of €20.00.
  • 50% refundable up to 4 weeks prior to course start date, plus administration fee of €20.00.
  • No refunds for cancellations within 4 weeks of course start date.
pitched roof




Testimonials for the Intensive Mud and Wood Course
formerly a continuous 9 day course pre-2017

"I came to Féile and Colin feeling completely daunted at the task of building my own home. After two quick weeks I am leaving with a head full of ideas and inspirations, a new set of friends from all over the globe, and the belief in myself to go home and start building. I feel as though I will look back on these two weeks as one of the great stepping stones in my life. Thanks :)"
Ronan Linnane, Ennistymon, Co. Clare

"Nine days seemed like a lot before the course started but during the course our time was filled. Every day we learned so many new things in a very relaxed, friendly way. Féile and Colin and the family are lovely people and I would enjoy their company any time or place. Thank you guys for everything. I finish with a lot clearer vision for the future. P.S. Food was amazeballs!!"
David Walsh, Galway

"Colin and Féile and their family have been so welcoming, caring and generous. They have put so much preparation into the course and make sure they deliver its contents in a way that truly enables and encourages resourcefulness. All I have learned is worth every penny of the course fees and much more. Those nine days have cemented my confidence in abilities and helped me expand my vision of a free-er future. Colin and Féile are passing love forward through their expertise in carpentry and architecture. Some of us are hoping dreaming of a better world - they have started building it."
Samuel Angelo, Stroud, Gloucestershire, England

"The Intensive Course was extremely beneficial to me and has given me the confidence I needed to make the decision that ... I will build my own house!! The mixture of hands-on practical work and in-class theory was ideal to stimulate mind and body. I travelled from the other side of the world to attend this course and I am glad I did. The relaxed family atmosphere and delicious lunches were well balanced with physical cob stomping and whacking. The amount I learned in this time was priceless."
Jayce Fischer, Bluff, New Zealand

"I really enjoyed this course and found it extremely informative. It was excellent for figuring out your strengths and weaknesses and giving you a detailed overall experience of the theory behind cob structures, reinforced with many practical sessions. I highly recommend this course to anyone interested in natural building and would go so far as to say it was essential!"
Aimee Scanlon, Maynooth, Co. Kildare

"A thoroughly well-taught course with a good mix of theory and practical. The instructors are extremely helpful and patient. No question has been left unanswered. I will come away with a good feeling of the amount of work and dedication required for a cob building project, but also feeling that it is very possible. An empowering course."
Helene Petersen, Co. Wicklow

" showed us that anyone can build their own house! Féile and Colin are full of enthusiasm, knowledge and inspiration. We spent the course with a great group of people; having fun, using unknown muscles and developing our imaginations. My family are now setting off to Mexico to start to build our own Mud and Wood-style hostel. If you are interested in building naturally don't hesitate in coming on the intensive course!"
Vicky Ellaby, St. Helens, England

"We were interested in this course above others because it covers cob, but also wood - give a more complete idea and introduction to natural building. I feel it offers the full hand of options to go on with my/our plans. I feel happy and pleased with all the experience I got during the course. I'm a bit tired as well, but it helped me to be a bit more fit"
Marcello Guerrero (Marshmellow), Mexico City

"Fantastic course, very informative both practically and theoretically. Féile and Colin go into great detail on all aspects of cob building and all aspects of building in general. Really enjoyed the course as it reassured me that using cob as a building material is not only viable, but for me, the most practical and natural way to build. Well worth it for anyone considering using cob. 10 out of 10."
Vinny Barry, Feoghanagh, Co. Limerick

"The Intensive Course was a great experience. It gave a good overview of everything involved with a house build using cob/timber-frame/straw bale. A good mix of practical and theory. Colin and Féile are flexible in their teaching to take on students' learning styles. The practical demystified many aspects that seemed very technical and the prospect of a self-build much more realistically achievable."
Karena Stannett, Kilroosky, Co. Roscommon



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