Where to start with Darragh Carroll? Talk about the flame of fertility? His encounter with Richard the Pirate? Or maybe the best way to cook roadkill? The 26-year-old from Rathfarnham in Dublin has been on quite the journey over the last year or so, as he told Ryan Tubridy on Wednesday morning. While he was a teenager, Darragh apprenticed as a butcher and worked in a lot of restaurants in Dublin, but he always wanted to travel. His first stop was Canada, then Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador. He travels with a tent and cooks outdoors, using as much foraged food as possible. So, maybe urban foraging is the place to start with Darragh.
“We waste an awful lot. Tons and tons and tons every single day goes into our bins. And I do be looking at the bins, just sick of what’s in them, even though I’m like, ‘Happy days – there’s better produce in here than I could buy.’ But at the same time, you’re looking at it being like, there’s something really wrong here.”
During his extensive travels, Darragh went to Norway, which is where he met Richard the Pirate. Darragh was sitting in a harbour on the east coast when he spied an unusual boat approaching:
“He sails into the harbour on this black, rustic boat that looked like – it wasn’t looking like it was meant to float at this stage. It was banged up, black and this big huge, tattooed pirate gets out, with a huge chain of Thor around his neck.”
Darragh felt compelled to talk to the pirate, whose name, he found out, was Richard. Richard told him he could really use a deckhand for a few days, which really suited Darragh. And while he was on board, Richard told him why he had sailed into the harbour where they met:
“He’s like, ‘Did you see the big fire that was in the harbour?’ And I said, ‘No, I didn’t see any fire in the harbour.’ I didn’t know what he was talking about.”
So, Richard went out of his way to enter the harbour because he thought there was boat or a car on fire. But when he got there, he only saw Darragh, sitting there. This clicked in Darragh’s mind, he told Ryan, because he was manifesting a Flame of Fertility in his mind. Wait, what? Well, it turns out that Darragh was doing a lot of meditating around stone circles and was in a place of “heightened abundant nature”. And he was lighting a lot of fires there.
“And the message that was coming through me every time I was lighting these fires was that I had to carry this sense of abundant fertility from one place of enormous balance to another place which has lost its balance and lost its fire.”
This means that Darragh reluctantly decided he had to carry that fire – physically – from Norway to Ireland, because, well, how could he not, given the circumstances?
“When a pirate comes along and offers you a boat, wood, power tools and everything you need to accomplish this mission, you’re kind of like, ‘Well, I didn’t really think this was going to happen, but…”
Darragh kept a flame burning for 10 months – the journey took longer than expected due mainly to adverse weather conditions that resulted in his boat being shipwrecked in a Scottish loch for two months – so he could bring it to the Hill of Uisneach, an ancient ceremonial site in Co Westmeath. The flame is a symbol for the people working the land and for the wildlife that live off the land. A “symbiosis of balance” will be created, and this will “pulse from the centre of Ireland, out to the world”.
There’s so much more in the full chat between Ryan and Darragh Carroll, including how best to cook fox, sleeping under a tarp and how to bail out a flooded boat that’s carrying the Flame of Fertility and you can hear it all here.
Niall Ó Sioradáin
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