RTÉ One, Thursday, 8.30pm
Ear to the Ground

Programme 7

Ear to the GroundEar to the Ground

The key question at the heart of our Food Journeys series is where does our food come from? Ella Mc Sweeney cuts right to the chase when it comes to her Christmas dinner. She pays a visit to Eoin Sharkey, a free-range turkey farmer in Meath, and is prepared to kill one of his flock with her bare hands! Sharkey supplies all of his birds direct to the consumer, and remembers customers by the name of the bird he has sold them, rather than their own name! This Christmas, in the battle of presenter versus turkey, who will come out on top?!

Allotments; are they a middle class indulgence or a lifeline for the unemployed? Ear to the Ground's Helen Carroll visits the RDS Allotment of the Year to investigate. Unemployment has devastated many rural communities over the past five years and Piltown in Kilkenny is just one that has decided to fight back. In a few short years they have expanded from three to 35 plots, cultivated by the local community. Helen discovers that for some it has been a challenge to learn to grow their own vegetables and flowers. Others tell Helen how the allotments have been a lifeline; a place to go to work, to socialise, to learn and to grow.

This Christmas, the small rural community of Clogheen, Co. Tipperary are coming together in the true spirit of giving. This October, Marie Savage lost her husband Patsy to cancer. At this terribly sad time, the Savage family felt blessed to have the privacy and dignity of The Hospice Suite at St Theresa's Hospital in which to spend Patsy's final days with him. The suite is in constant demand and is not available to everyone who needs it. Helen Carroll meets the Savage family and they tell her how about their fundraising campaign to raise a staggering ¤100,000 to build a second hospice suite so that more families will have the same comfort and dignity for their loved ones. At a time when all talk revolves around cutbacks and belt-tightening, Helen is moved and amazed by the community spirit she witnesses in Clogheen. Local farmers gather to fell Christmas trees, the scouts host a barbeque, local children sing carols and Santa even finds time in his busy schedule to lend a hand with fundraising!

Like most children growing up on a farm, Ciarán Dunne loved playing with his own mini John Deere. Unlike most of those children however, Tipperary man Dunne has turned his passion for agricultural machinery into a lucrative career. With a degree in model making from the Arts University College Bournemouth, in southwest England, Ciarán has forged his own career path reproducing everything from tractors to hedge cutters on a miniature scale. Self-confessed machinery obsessive Darragh Mc Cullough's Christmas comes early when he meets Ciarán at the Durrow Vintage Club Show in Laois, a Mecca for all farm machinery enthusiasts!

Ear to the Ground is produced by Independent Pictures for RTÉ

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