Blogger Maura McElhone
Columnist & story teller Maura McElhone, a townie who fell for a farmer told us last month about the big move to live with her farming boyfriend. She has been keeping a blog on life on the farm & is back to tell us how she is settling in on the farm at the busiest time of the year, lambing & calving.
Sheep Farmer James Murphy
We are at the peak of the lambing season, over 30,000 farms across the country, 2 million lambs will be born by the time the season winds down in April. Damien popped down to Inistigoe in Co Kilkenny to chat with well know local sheep farmer James Murphy who farms with his wife Chrissy.
John Cummins - Ear to the Ground
It’s 27 years since this was first aired on RTE TV. Mairead McGuinness now an MEP presented the very first Ear to the Ground in 1994, making it among one of the longest running TV series on Irish TV & still going strong. Joining Damien in studio this morning, is the man who was its first executive producer & you could say founder John Cummins who has retired.
The Irish Angus Producer Group
Learning about beef & where it comes from & how animals are reared has been brought literally into the classroom in a number of secondary schools across the country. The Irish Angus Producer group chose five schools to take part in the competition whereby the schools were given young Angus calves & it was up to the students to rear thoses animals to beef & present a project about the process as part of their Leaving Cert Agricultural Science studies. Winners Eithne Murray, Tara Frehill, Emily Browne & Shauna Jagar from Our Lady’s School in Terenure in Dublin.
Lisdoonvarna - Brenda O'Donohue
Every September since the 1880’s single people looking for love have flocked to the Lisdoonvarna’s Matching Making Festival. Local man, Dermot Petty, captures the adventures of the festival in his play titled ‘Jiving Lessons for the Broken Hearted’. The play has it’s World Premiere in the Royal Spa Hotel in Lisdoonvarna tonight. Brenda Donohue hot stepped it down to Lisdoonvarna for the dress rehearsal.
John 'The Bull' Hayes
It is ten years since the historic meeting between Ireland & England in the Six Nations in Croke Park. The events of the game were relived in a documentary on RTE this week & joining Damien on the line this morning is John Hayes.
New Chocolate flavoured drink Temple Dairy
What do you do when your career as a professional soccer player comes to an end? Marie Curtain faced that dilemma after a sports career with Ireland Women's National Team from 2000 to 2012 ended. Marie returned home to Limerick & joined forces with her dad Sean, a retired dairy farmer & developed a new chocolate flavoured milk drink called Temple Dairy. Brenda O'Donohue went to the family farm in Athlacca, Co Limerick.
Cheltenham - Dessie Scahill, Suzanne Campbell & Peadar O'Scannell
Its Cheltenham time & a great opportunity to speak to one of the most identifiable voices in sports commentary, Dessie Scahill. Each year around 150 horses travel over from Ireland along tp the Cheltenham festival along with thousands of punters. Peadar remains in studio & our reporter Suzanne Campbell is also here. Suzanne visited some of the trainer's yards this week to see some of the hopefuls.
Busy time of year on farms
Well it is a very busy time of year on farms, particularly livestock farms as this is the time of year when most calves & lambs are born & so a busy time for vets tending to births & sick newborns. Included among them is Peadar O'Scannell who joins Damien in studio this morning.
First, Damien speaks to egg producer Thomas Fitzsimons in Virginia County Cavan. The compulsory housing of all commercial flocks & backyard flocks remains in place until April 30th. From next week egg & poultry meat sold as Free Range will now have to sticker 'Barn reared or Barn Eggs, laid by hens temporarily housed for their welfare'. Maybe supermarkets or the IFA might design posters as well informing consumers of the change.
Isla Grant - chat & performance
Earlier this week Scottish country & music singer, Isla Grant called in for a chat & performance, a break in her very busy tour of Ireland & Canada.
Irish Trade - Suzanne Campbell
Today sees the start of a large Irish trade mission to the Gulf states which has its centrepiece Irish food. Finding new markets is more important than ever as Britain edges towards closer ties with US agricultural imports. Suzanne Campbell went to London this week to hear about consumer attitudes there, food safety & the impact it will have to Irish food & farming.
Controlled Burning in Kerry
To address the increasing number of wildfires, the forest service, Coillte & Teagasc organised a demonstration in Castlemaine, Co. Kerry before the season of legal burning closes on Tuesday. Majella O'Sullivan found out what landowners can do to burn gorse safely.
Extreme Weather - Prof Myles Allen
These days we are quick to attribute any extreme weather to Climate Change or are we wrong? Daragh asks Myles Allen, Professor of Climate Physics in Oxford University, is there no such thing as normal weather anymore?
The Cottage Market
Daragh visits St Peters Church of Ireland Parish Hall in his hometown of Drogheda, where he meets up with an enthusiastic group of men & women who have set up their own cottage market in the town a year ago.
Making money from chicken manure
Declan O’Connor spoke to Damien about his company BHSL.
Living with no electricity or running water
Brenda Donohue met Margaret Gallagher who lives in a cottage with no running water or electricity. She maintains her traditional rural lifestyle is the secret to her happiness.
Tara McCarthy, new Chief Executive of Bord Bia
Tara McCarthy spoke to Damien in her first broadcast interview since taking over from Aidan Cotter as Chief Executive of Bord Bia.
Are supermarkets and consumers killing our supply of Irish vegetables?
Suzanne Campbell took a look at why it's hard to find Irish produced vegetables.
Farmers waiting on GLAS payments
Padraig Corcoran, a farmer in Roscommon, explained his particular case and Caitriona Murphy of The Irish Farmers Journal, who has been writing about this issue, gave us the background.
A tour de force, Mary McEvoy is currently starring in John B Keane's play The Successful TD with Jon Kenny. There are just the two of them on stage, Jon playing Tull McAdoo & Mary his long suffering wife, Betty, plus Mary drifts into other characters too.
Damien brings us a report from this weeks Agricultural Science Association conference on Climate Change. A very important subject which Countrywide will be returning to over the coming months because there are lots of opinions from many other stakeholders on this important issue facing us all, but in particular which will impact more & more on farming.
Brenda Donohue & Etiquette
If you don’t know what etiquette is well we have our reporter Brenda Donohue here in studio with Damien, to tell us that there is a school to teach you & how she met Mary Coleman, a farmer who came up to Dublin this week to learn etiquette!
Reminder - Avian Flu
Yesterday there were 2 further cases of H5N8 confirmed - a grey heron in Midleton, Co. Cork & in a mute swan in Lough Eorna, Co. Tipperary, (in the same area as previous cases in whooper swans). This brings the total of wild bird positives to 8 - The Department of Agriculture have asked us to ask people who own so called backyard flocks to house them or if you have any questions to contact the Avian Flue helpline. Avian Influenza Helpline: 076 106 4403 and Outside of Office hours: 1850 200 456
Dr Pamela Byrne - Food Safety Authority of Ireland
The role of the food inspector must be a very interesting one, especially if the 2016 report of the Food Safety Authority is anything to go by! Joining Damien in studio this morning is Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.
PJ Nolan - Dairy Farmer
Navan dairy farmer PJ Nolan is up & about milking & kind enough to take a call from us this morning. Damien congratulates him on been elected onto the new look executive of the Olympic Council of Ireland & PJ tells us how it all came about.
3 weeks ago our reporter Brenda Donohue was in Loughrea with the McInerny’s who have been continually in business for 4 generations, so we asked were there many family businesses out there who could beat that! Here we have some of those who answered the call! Mentioned above are Michael Johnson, Tullow, Co Carlow - Majella Jones Supervalu, Miltown Malbay, Clare Hazel Hodgins John P Hopkins, Wickow Town & Lonan Burke, PBourke & Co. Carrick on Suir.
Farmers! Beware of people offering you cheap farm sheds because if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Caitriona Murphy is deputy News Editor of the Farmers Journal & for the last 2 weeks she has been following the story of a man going around the country offering to construct farm sheds & at very competitive rates - the only problem is, there dosen’t seem to be any sheds at the end of it! We have Catriona in studio to outline the scam, how it works & the scale of it & joining on the line from Portlaoise is Pat Enright, President of the Irish Association of Steel Fabricators
Clann Credo - community loan finance
In studio with Marty is Brenda Donohue & the CEO of Clan Credo, Paul O Sullivan. This week Brenda visited The Rathmore Social Action Group in Kerry to see one of the projects that Clann Credo Community Loan Finance has helped. Paul O’Sullivan will explain how it all works. For further information go to www.clanncredo.ie
The O'Neill Sisters
You may remember last week that we had the Murphy’s from Kerry in to sing, they are 3 sisters from the Kingdom & guess what? We have 3 sisters from the Kingdom here again to sing for us - but they are called the O’Neills, Fiona, Naomi & Evangeline.
THE BAND OF MURPHYS
Cindy, Candy and Pat- 3 of The Murphys are with us this morning singing The Empty Room and talking to Marty. The band are from Killorglin in the Kingdom of Kerry and have already topped several of the Country and Folk Itunes charts. Their CD is titled Breaking Ground.
DON’T TELL GRANNY
Maura McElhone is a young professional woman who has travelled the world working and, along the way, looking for love. When she came back to Ireland she fell for a farmer and indeed, Falling for A Farmer is the name of her blog. Maura recorded a special piece for us and we expect regular updates as she falls into the on farm life.
UNDERCOVER POULTRY – TO PROTECT THEM!
A bad week for anybody keeping poultry, be it Chicken, Ducks, Geese, Turkeys and even game birds like pheasants.- because a new strain -H5N8 -of avian influenza (bird flu) has arrived on the island, having been found in 4 wild birds to date - just this week 10,000.
MORE TO THE GARDA THAN POLICING
Marty was at the Coiste Siamsa, the Garda Sports Star Awards in Ballincollig Cork last night & caught up with David Clarke, the Mayo Goalkeeper, Paralympian cyclist Eve McCrystal along with the Garda crew who rowed across the Irish Sea to raise money for Cancer research after the death of Chris Byrne, husband of Garda Caroline Byrne. To date they have raised over €100,000.
GLENDA LOCK DOWN
The Post Office in Laragh/Glendalough, Co Wicklow is about to close, despite 1.5 million visiting the area. Suzanne Campbell, our woman in the Glens of Wicklow talked to the residents about this and they are not happy.
Growing Tobacco in Ireland
Harry Everard from Kilsheelan, between Carrick-on-Suir & Clonmel aims to make Tipperary the home of the Irish cigar. He has already secured a licence from the Revenue Commissioners for the growing & handling of tobacco & has produced two crops to date.
Teresa May - free movement between North & South
Teresa May's Brexit speech makes clear UK commited to ensure free movement & does not want to see borders of the past in relation to N. Ireland & the Republic of Ireland. Damien speaks to IFA President, Joe Healy & Barclay Bell, President of Ulster Farmers Union.
IFA Annual General Meeting
Brexit is probably the biggest issue facing farming in Ireland 2017 but what about other issues? Damien spoke to farmers at the IFA recent AGM.
South East Women in Farming
Women are great multi-taskers but do they have the skills, strength and know-how to calve cows as well as all the other farming tasks? This week a new group was launched in Carlow aimed at supporting women in farming, called South East Women in Farming.
Anna Martin was shocked when her boyfriend of three years got down on the farmyard and surprised her with a cow proposal on Christmas eve.
Ian McDonagh - BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition
The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition concludes later today in the RDS. In studio with Damien is a student who is taking part for the second year in a row, Ian McDongah, is a 15 year old 3rd year student from Merlin College in Galway, to tell us about his 'scientific investigation of the cures & folkways of the Irish Traveller'.
Rural Isolation - Keep the home fires burnng
The GAA social initiative began 9 years ago to help combat people living alone & in isolation in rural areas. Damien goes to Cavan to speak to Tom Reilly there, whose project 'Keep the Home fires burning' a spin off of the GAA social initiative in West Cavan, to also tackle rural isolation.
Alan Matthews, Professor Emeritus of Euro Agri Policy in Dept of Economics, TCD
European farmers receive almost 60 billion euro in subsidies from Brussels annually - Irish farmers share around 1.5 billion euro of this with the vast majority dependent on this farm support to make a living as the commodities they produce are sold far below cost of production. However in the EU Parliament a leading expert on the Common Agricultural Policy warned that the days of uniform, area based payments paid to farmers have no place in a modern agricultural policy.
McInerney in Loughrea - Brenda Donohue
More than three quarters of businesses in Ireland are family owned but less than a third actually make it through to the next generation. But what about a family business that has made it through, not only the second, third generation but the fourth? Brenda Donohue visited one such business in Loughrea, Co. Galway - McInerneys General Merchants Store.
Bord Bia announces growth in export sales of Irish food & drink
This week Bord Bia announced record export sales of Irish food & drink internationally of over 11 billion euro in 2016. It is the 7th successive year of growth in the value of sales - despite the effective wiping of 500 million euro of sales to the UK in the 2nd half of the year, representing a 41 per cent growth in exports since 2010. Are the primary producers, farmers getting a kick back? Joining Damien on the line are Edmund Phelan, beef farmer in Co Waterford & ICSA beef committee chairman & Liam Dunne, a tillage farmer from Kildare & IFA grain committee chairman.
2017 for Farmers & Agricultural Sector
So the start of another year, what does it have in store for our farmers & agricultural sector. CAP, Brexit & farmgate prices are the big issues & joining Damien in studio this morning is Justin McCarthy, Editor of the Farmers Journal & Mairead McGuinness, FG MEP.
Singer Donna Taggart
Damien is joined now by Co Tyrone singer Donna Taggart, who looks back as 2016 as a sensational year for her. Her song, Jealous of the Angels became an online hit with nearly 70 million views, reaching No 1 in the US iTunes Easy Listening Charts.
Wicklow Way Wines
With leading wines from parts of New Zealand, California, France, Italy, Spain, South Africa & Chile - the one thing they have in common is the weather to grow the grapes to make the wine. That's why we don't make it in Ireland or do we? Suzanne Campbell joins Damien in studio to talk about an enterprising Co Wicklow couple who have launched a strawberry & blackberry wine, made with Irish fruit.
Nollaig Na MBan - Listowel
Brenda Donohue marks the 6th January, marking the end of the 12 days of Christmas when many women who worked so tirelessly over the festive period, have their own celebration! Brenda joined one such group & danced the night away in John B Keane's Bar in Listowel, Co. Kerry.
Countrywide goes Festive
With 8 days to Christmas, Countrywide goes festive with a Christmas Special - festive songs & carols from Our Lady's Choral Society, Christmas Fesitval Orchestra with conductor Prionnsías Ó Duinn & lots of special guests - Ted Walsh, Catherine Leyden, Paddy Cole, Anna Geary, Mairead Lavery & Seamus O'Rourke to talk about Christmas & the year just gone.
The Irish Wildlife Trust brought th eissue of Pair Trawling to our attention, by calling for a ban in inshore bays & estuaries. Padraig Fogarty Campaigns Officer of the Irish Wildlife Trust & Hugo Boyle of the Irish South & East Fish Producers Organisation join Darragh.
Pheasants - Martina McGlynn
The pheasant shooting season is well underway since November 1st. Martina McGlynn went out with members of Mount Lucas gun club in Offaly to participate in a tradition that is centuries old.
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