A look at farming practices on Inis Treabhair in the Galway Gaeltacht.

In the third episode in the series ‘Ar Fiú Feirmeoireacht?’ (Is Farming Worthwhile?) Pádraic Ó Catháin visits Ceantar na nOileán in the Galway Gaeltacht, the Island region on the south western edge of Connemara.

Commonage is a problem in the region and most of the farmers have tiny holdings. Three per cent of the land is under tillage. The produce of the sea is important and among the most significant developments has been the growth in fish farming in the many inlets.

On the island of Inis Treabhair (Inishtravin) there are four or five households and the islanders have a livelihood consistent with other parts of the region. Boat is the only means of transport to the island as it is not connected by bridges or roads to mainland Connemara. Shopping and goods are brought from the mainland. If anything happens on the island there is no huge demand to put it right again.

Ní hé lá na gaoithe lá na scolb.

On the island Pádraic Ó Catháin meets farmers Réamon Ó Maoildhia and Tomás Ó Catháin. Neither man uses mechanised farming methods on their land. Réamon Ó Maoildhia labours with a traditional scythe to cut grass to make hay for his cows. Protecting his crops, Tomás Ó Cathain scatters insecticide from a bucket using a bundle of plants.

Gaeltacht areas are not thought to have high potential for agriculture. The series ‘Ar Fiú Feirmeoireacht?’ investigates farming in four Gaeltacht areas, Donegal, Mayo, Galway and Kerry, to see if it is can provide a livelihood for the people living in those areas.

This episode of ‘Ar Fiú Feirmeoireacht?’ was broadcast on 2 May 1984. The reporter is Pádraic Ó Catháin.