Festival celebrates farming, community and biodiversity

Farmers have labored laborious over the generations to earn a residing from the nation’s vary of mountains.

They’ve coped with the vagaries of the climate as they herded sheep, milked cows and grew as a lot greens as potential on the rugged slopes.

However many upland farmers have now merged their conventional agricultural enterprises with the potential of the landscapes for eco-tourism, biodiversity and sustainable meals manufacturing.

In addition to being vacationer and recreation sights, the hills are additionally dwelling to flocks of sheep who roam the rugged land consuming a nutrient-rich weight loss plan.

Neighborhood teams in lots of of those areas have deliberate and labored over latest many years to develop socio-economic enterprises primarily based on the farming and cultural heritage of the hills.

Customer sights have been developed to entice folks away from the hustle and bustle of cities and cities with congested avenue site visitors and crowded pathways to spend time within the countryside.

Services for outside journey sports activities and indoor leisure have been supplied, strolling and biking routes laid out, and shops created for guests to get pleasure from meals, gentle snacks, cups of espresso and biking.

The Comeragh Mountains, which skirt the award-winning Waterford Greenway, embody a number of of these visionary teams, who will showcase their meals merchandise and vacationer sights at a four-day neighborhood competition which continues till Sunday, after a two-year break attributable to Covid-19.

Guests and locals can have the chance to feast on Comeragh Mountain Lamb at Cooney’s Yard, get pleasure from a restaurant go to on the method to Mahon Falls and Crough Wooden and embrace the area’s tradition and heritage.

The Comeraghs Wild Competition will even function an open-air live performance at Crotty’s Lake with singer Mary Coughlan, browsing at Bunmahon, outside theatre at Curraghmore. Storytelling with Eddie Lenihan at Nell’s Farmhouse and Heritage Centre, Rathgormack, is already bought out.

For the reason that occasion was final held, Teagasc Comeragh Hill Sheep Dialogue Group was awarded funding by the Division of Agriculture for a year-long biodiversity venture.

The group contains 14 farmer members whose sheep graze over 4,000 hectares throughout six commonages and 4 upland farms.

Selling biodiversity

Selling biodiversity by means of collaboration amongst farming, neighborhood and native motion teams who have interaction with the broader inhabitants is the main target of the award, utilizing the European Innovation Partnership mannequin.

Broadcaster, creator and biologist, Éanna Ní Lamhna, who will be part of Stephen McCarthy, StepsBackThruTime, for an eco-walk in Kilmacthomas on Saturday, defined the significance of getting an environmental concentrate on the programme.

“Years in the past — after I was younger — folks weren’t so conscious of the significance of the atmosphere. The worth of bushes for biodiversity and the significance of bugs as pollinators was not extensively appreciated.

“As we speak, nevertheless, folks actually need to be a part of nature. Within the peak of Covid, we needed to hold inside 5km. Individuals received extra all in favour of what they noticed and did and have become extra in tune with nature.

“That continues. Persons are utilizing pesticides much less. They’re letting components of their gardens go wild for the butterflies, birds and the bees. They’re rising wildflower meadows and planting bushes.

“Our stroll and speak will assist foster this curiosity and provides the entire household a larger appreciation of the world round us,” she stated.

Competition spokesperson Mary Flynn stated it was solely becoming that this yr’s competition has a really sturdy inexperienced theme and a concentrate on appreciating and defending wildlife and the countryside.


An enterprising couple are additionally placing the ‘Glam’ again into glamping within the Comeraghs with a brand new growth of luxurious pods that includes personal showers, regionally sourced gourmand breakfasts and barbecue baskets.

Padraig and Tracy Quinlan, together with their sons Danny and Jack, are getting ready to welcome their first visitors this summer time and assist lovers of the nice outside from all around the world to loosen up, recharge and rediscover.

A fencing supervisor with Farm Aid Companies, Padraig additionally runs a 20-cow suckler farm close by. Tracy is a recruitment supervisor within the IT trade. Each intend to maintain their day jobs for now.

“We’ve 4 pods out there at current, with two extra approaching stream in July. Our scorching tubs are coming in October to finish the distinctive glamping expertise right here.

“We’ve visited numerous websites in Eire, Northern Eire and Wales and have put nearly three years of cautious analysis and planning into this.

“And with the assistance of Waterford LEADER Partnership, we’ve developed a top quality, top-class providing in a novel setting,” he stated.

Comeragh Pods, 2km from Mahon Bridge, is among the many enterprises which might be making certain most of the hills of Eire are alive with sounds of music and the motion and cyclical lifetime of nature.

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