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9-Day Intensive Mud and Wood Course
How to build a cob-and-timber-frame house. Scroll down for testimonials and a detailed description of the course.



Ran 14 - 22 May 2016 (inclusive)



Check back in December for dates in 2017.
Start:          10:00 a.m. on Day 1
                      9:00 a.m. on Days 2 - 8
Finish:         6:00 p.m. daily
Lunch:         Hearty vegetarian stews and curries

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.

Click Here for Online Booking Form Click Here for pdf. Booking Form Click Here for Gift Vouchers

Testimonials from Previous Intensive
Mud and Wood


"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 - 2014

"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 - 2014

"The 8-Day Intensive Course (expanded to 9 days for 2014) 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 8 days was priceless."
Jayce Fischer, Bluff, New Zealand - 2013

"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 - 2013

"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 - 2013

" showed us that anyone can build their own house! Féile and Colin are full of enthusiasm, knowledge and inspiration. We spent 8 days 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 8-day intensive course! (expanded to 9 days for 2014)"
Vicky Ellaby, St. Helens, England - 2012

"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 these 8 days (expanded to 9 days for 2014) . I'm a bit tired as well, but it helped me to be a bit more fit"
Marcello Guerrero (Marshmellow), Mexico City - 2012

"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 - 2012

"The 8-Day Intensive Course (expanded to 9 days for 2014) 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 - 2012


information is
Click Here to

making cob

This 9-day intensive course will cover all angles of designing and building a hybrid cob and timber frame house. There will be a mix of classroom theory and practical workshops on all aspects of the build, with the aim of giving students the confidence to tackle a project from foundations to roof.

Time will be spent building with cob, with an emphasis on learning how to do this on a large scale - such as making and using formwork, and machine-mixing. We will look at timber-frame construction - which allows for super-insulated walls and can be combined with cob for an even warmer house.

We will also concentrate on many of the complimentary skills needed to complete your naturally-built home. How do you fix floor joists to a cob wall or a timber frame wall? How do you build a rising wall? How do you build a simple roof? On our Course, you will practise all of these skills.

This course will be taught be Colin Ritchie, cob-builder and carpenter, and Féile Butler, cob-builder and architect (MRIAI) in the grounds of their own cob and timber frame house, completed in 2011. Classroom-based lectures will take place in the house.

Topics to Be Covered on the Intensive Mud&Wood Course

  • Tour of the House
  • Recognising, Salvaging and Storing Handy Building Materials
  • Design Workshop
  • Soil Analysis and Suitability
  • Setting Out a Building (particularly a curvy one!)
  • Options for Foundations and Ground Floors
  • Options for Insulation
  • Foot-Mixing Cob and Demonstration of Machine-Mixing Cob
  • Making Plywood Forms for Cob (even curvy ones!)
  • Cobbing, Cobbing and More Cobbing
  • Constructing a Plinth Wall
  • Constructing a Simple Timber Frame Wall
  • Constructing a Simple Pitched Roof
  • Making Natural Edge Wood Shelves and Worktops
  • Plastering with Earth

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.

making formwork
removing formwork
cob walls
floor beams

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 footwear 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, trowel, hawk 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.

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:   €810 / €765 concession / €780 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.
timber frame

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