Meitheal, (pronounced “meh-hal”) is a concept of communal spirit and cooperative labour originating in rural Ireland. This centuries-old tradition is rooted deep in Irish culture. It describes how people come together, work together and provide support and assistance to help one another out where and when needed.

It is often described as a work party or gang of workers which evokes more of a prison chain gang image. This couldn’t be further from reality. You helped your neighbour, who in turn helped you. Work was repaid through work. You reaped what you sowed in more ways than one. If you helped a lot of your neighbours, you could count on a lot of hands when it came time for the heavy lifting and seasonal tasks on your own farm.

The Meitheal culture originated in the ancient farming calendar. The farming seasons centred around major events in the year such as the harvest and the annual celestial changes like longest and shortest days. The pagan festivals arose from these events. Imbolc, marked the start of spring and was signified by purifying and rejuvenating the agricultural land, the time to plant. Bealtaine, marked the arrival of summer. Lughnasadh, in early August, the harvest festival and Samhain at the end of October signified the beginning of the darker half of the year. These Celtic celebrations were gathering points for communities to come together and work together to plant, tend, and harvest the crops, care for livestock and manage resources such as water and turf for burning.

It would be hard to imagine communities coming together at any time in Irish history for all work and no play. Whether it was centuries ago in ancient Celtic festivities or decades ago enjoying the craic around the fireplace of the Fear cinn meithle (the farmer in need), Meitheal has always gone hand in hand with celebration, storytelling, Irish music, and dance – the Irish Ceili.


Through Meitheal, resilient communities formed, thrived together and weathered many storms. Strong meitheal mentality ensures that each and everyone of our communities sustains and flourishes.  The concept of meitheal now extends beyond rural farming communities, it has been adopted in various sectors across Ireland, including education and social services for example.

At Tenth Glen Heritage Farms, our mission is to restore heritage properties and inspire others to celebrate the old ways and reimagine a sustainable future. Meitheal is most definitely an old way to be celebrated and critical to a sustainable future. Follow the link below to register your details and join our Meitheal, you will be added to our mailing list and kept updated about all the ways you can get involved from farm hand days to helping out behind the scenes at events, or simply buying our produce and supporting our cause.

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