RTÉ One, Thursday, 8.30pm
Ear to the Ground

Programme 14

Darragh McCullough and Paddy Ward
Helen Carroll and Will O'Halloran
Ella McSweeney and Joe O'Beirne

Tuesday 09 February 2010

Darragh takes his pig, Penny, to slaughter; Helen meets a men's group helping single farmers out and Ella meets an Irishman who will teach her all the tricks for surviving in the wilderness.

Lonely, single farmers

Life in the countryside is becoming increasingly tough for bachelor farmers. Many that stayed in the family home and took over farm are now left on small unviable farms, in increasingly depopulated communities. Besides the isolation, living conditions can be extremely harsh. In a Leitrim study, it was found that 30% of single male farmers from 35-65 have no hot water on tap, 47% do not own a washing machine and almost 60% do not have central heating in their homes.

Helen meets a men’s group in Roscommon that are challenging this marginalisation, helping single farmers to get out from their farms and into the community. The Roscommon Rural Men’s Project was set up in 2006, and has since transformed both the social lives and self esteem of single rural farmers.

Surviving in the Wild

Forget Bear Grylls or Ray Mears, this week, Ella meets an Irishman who will teach her all the tricks for surviving in the wilderness. While many farmers still hold a knowldege of the land and the countryside, most other people have lost these basic survival skills.

Armed with a machete and some common sense to guide the way, outdoors expert Will O’Halloran takes Ella on a journey through the Cork countryside and teaches her how to find food and shelter. On the journey Ella discovers how to trap, kill and cook some wild animals, as well as foraging for other tasty treats in the forest and by the sea.

Penny goes to slaughter

Darragh’s pig, Penny, has traveled to schools all around Ireland to teach kids about the realities of farming life. Now, Penny is educating us on where our meat comes from and how it is prepared, as Darragh takes Penny to the slaughter.

Darragh learns how to prepare and cure the meat. He discovers how different cuts are produced such as bacon, sausages, pork, ham, and black pudding, showing how wonderfully versatile a pig like Penny can be.

Will and Away
5 Gleann Alainn
Co. Cork
W: www.willandaway.ie
E :wohalloran@gmail.com
T: (087) 1366373