RTÉ One, Thursday, 8.30pm
Ear to the Ground

Programme 4

Meeting Ireland’s most eligible stud

Sea the Stars, Ireland’s most famous racehorse, has just said goodbye to his racing career, and is now set to become one of Ireland’s most eligible studs. On the day before he goes to stud, Ella McSweeney visits his stables, meeting the people behind his success, as they prepare to say an emotional goodbye to their star racer. We see the passion that has produced such an incredible athlete, meeting his successful trainer John Oxx, and all the people behind the scenes that have contributed to his success.

This year, Sea the Stars was hailed as one of the finest racehorses of all time, being the first horse in history to win the 2,000 guineas, the Derby and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Just a few weeks ago, the announcement was made that he will retire from racing, starting a new life in Gilltown Stud, owned by the Aga Khan. Standing at €85,000 per cover and a book of 120 mares to cover in his first year, the question is; will his career as a stud be as successful as his racing career?

The ultimate taste test

This week, Darragh puts four breeds to the test to find out which breed can produce the best steak. It all started with four men arguing in a pub over which breed tasted the best. The only way to solve it was to buy, fatten, kill and cook a cow each to see which breed would produce the tastiest meat - is it Hereford, Limousin, Angus or Charlois?

The cattle were bought at Elphin mart and set to graze on a small farm. After 18 months of minding and feeding, the cows were ready to be put to the test. Darragh catches up with them just as the cows are ready to be butchered.

So which cuts make a good steak? How long do you need to wait? What kind of cuts are people buying? Darragh gains a personal insight into the beef industry as he witnesses the process of butchering and cooking the meat, finding out just what it takes to make a good steak.

Invisible women

“I think women would never leave their husbands during a difficult time, but they would make the decision to leave during the difficult time.”
Lyn Sykes

Helen meets female farmers throughout the country discovering the problems that they face during the tough times that the recession has brought for the farming community.

She speaks to a dairy farmer’s wife who is struggling to keep afloat, and to psychologist Maureen Gaffney. She also speaks to Mariead Lavery of the Farmer’s Journal and organiser of the conference, and to Lyn Sykes, Australia’s leading succession planner, an expert in the art of family communication. Lynne outlines that often women can feel undervalued, shouldering the responsibility of holding the family together while their husbands are preoccupied with the farm. Helen also meets some women who are experiencing this, investigating the role of women in farming and the invisibility that female farmers often feel.