Cover of Blow-In: Living Off-Grid in West Cork by Fred Callow

In search of a simpler way of living

In 1990, Fred Callow  left the UK to put down roots in rural Ireland in search of a simpler, more authentic way of life. In West Cork, he discovered what he calls his “Family”, a group of like-minded people striving to live an alternative lifestyle in a place called Cool Mountain, not far from the town of Dunmanway.

In Blow-In, Fred tells of his involvement over thirty years with this group of “strongly individualistic” and “sometimes eccentric” members, many of them refugees from the harsh political realities of Thatcher’s Britain.

Despite initial suspicions stirred up by unscrupulous media commentators and politicians, this so-called “hippy” community managed eventually to establish an excellent lasting relationship with local people and became a major contributor to the artistic and musical culture of West Cork.

Blow-In is an important contribution to recent West Cork history. It also offers a thought-provoking, critical reflection on the changes that have taken place in rural Ireland over the past three decades.


COOL MOUNTAIN MEMORIES: Listen to Fred Callow talking to Ellie O’Byrne of Tripe + Drisheen about his life with the Cool Mountain community.

‘A fascinating first-hand account of a life rooted in
personal politics . . .’
Ellie O’Byrne, Tripe + Drisheen

‘Vivid insights into . . . an alternative lifestyle.’
Claire Dunne, The Echo

‘A lucid overview of the life lived by this diverse bunch of individuals.’
Jackie Keogh, The Southern Star

Ballyhillow, Leap, Skibbereen, County Cork, Ireland

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