RTÉ One, Thursday, 8.30pm
Ear to the Ground

Series 22: Programme 13

Ear to the GroundEar to the Ground

Surviving the Dark Days of Depression
From the outside looking in, Munster Family Farm of the year winner, Con Murphy had an ideal life, he ran a hugely successful farming enterprise, and had great family around him. Life couldn't be better, until in 2009 when Con was hit with debilitating depression. Out of the blue he went from loving what he was doing, to not being able to get out of bed in the morning.

What followed was a shocking physical and mental spiral into depression. At first he started by making excuses for his behaviour, but eventually he just didn't care anymore, leaving his wife Mary and son Donncha to keep the farm afloat.

Con opens up to Ear to the Ground, about his journey with depression, those dark days which he can now look back on in hindsight, and how he eventually found his way back to health.

One of Ireland's First Women Priests Tells Her Stoy Waterford native Barbara Fryday caused a storm, when she was one of the first women to be ordained a priest in 1993 in the Church of Ireland. She is now one of the leading voices in her community.

Barbara was born in the city, and was the eldest of eleven children. When she married a dairy farmer at 21, a spiritual calling seemed in the distance, even if she did later discover she was allergic to cows. While she loved being a wife and mother she felt she had more to give.

Despite ignoring the signs for many years, with a bit of help from her husband she finally decided to follow the priesthood. She got of to a rocky start when on putting on her clerical 'uniform' for the first time, she locked herself in the bathroom and wouldn't come out.

Near Extinct Bird Renders Farmland Worthless There are over 169,000 hectares of land over nine counties in Ireland which have been designated as special areas of conservation, when it comes to protecting the habitat of the near extinct Hen Harrier. Hen Harrier numbers despite the best efforts of groups like National Parks and Wildlife Service, continue to decline mostly due to loss of habitat.

Designating land as one of those protected areas however, can render it almost worthless for farming. Helen Carroll visits Ballydesmond in County Cork to speak to a number of farmers who are up in arms. Farmer Jason Fitzgerald has a 126 acre farm of which 118 acres are designated land, forcing him to rent a farm elsewhere in order to keep his dairy enterprise going. This is costing him thousands of euro a year, with no end in sight and farmers are saying they've had enough.

Ear to the Ground is produced by Independent Pictures for RTÉ

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