Living Off Grid: Meet the people embracing a new way of life

People from Northern Ireland who embrace a different way of living is the focus of two special programmes coming to UTV, starting this Tuesday, 2 May at 8.30pm.

Living Off Grid’ is presented by UTV reporter Emma Patterson who meets several local people who have turned their backs on conventional living. 

She explores how and why people have chosen to live this way; what prompted the move; how they overcome daily challenges; and what motivates them.

For some of those she speaks to, it’s a financial decision in a time when mortgage rates are rising, and for others it's to protect and preserve the environment.

From boats to eco farms, thatched cottages to vans, Emma takes the viewer into their worlds.

Josh and Sophie's floating home is a narrowboat on Lough Erne

We'll meet Margaret, who has lived in the same three-century old cottage outside Belcoo for her whole 81-year old life.

Margaret says: "I was born into this house and if God is gracious enough he'll let me die in it. I love it to bits. It's moulded around me and part of me.”

Margaret Gallagher still collects water from the well daily

Despite having to collect her own water every day and storing firewood, she says: “Everyone has challenges but I don't call those challenges. Things are never worth worrying about because they'll always work themselves out."

Also featured is a young couple who sold their house in Carrickfergus to travel the Mediterranean Sea in a yacht.

Laura and Peter's decision was sparked by a bad day at the office.

Laura said: “I came home and told Peter to look up boats. Two weeks later we'd sold our house.”

Peter and Laura sold their home in Northern Ireland for a yacht to travel around Croatia and Greece

Peter added: “We had the perfect life and the perfect home. But after two years of doing it up and just working, we thought 'this is boring'."

Laura, who has a fear of the sea, said boating was never on her radar.

Peter explained: "We initially thought we'd go as far as possible. But we never factored in that we might just love this lifestyle. It's less about the destination and more about the journey to get there."

Closer to home, Emma meets a newly-engaged couple managing life and work on a narrowboat on the beautiful Lough Erne.

Emma meets the Golemboski-Byrne family, who live in their own eco-farm near Banbridge

And we'll visit a family living on an eco-farm near Banbridge. From wind turbines to solar panels Steve, Claire and Lyra have made Lackan Cottage farm their personal haven.

Living Off Grid airs Tuesday 2 May and Tuesday 9th May at 8.30pm on UTV. You can also catch up later here.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.