Galway farmers flourish in new TG4 series

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Pic: Úna Ní Bhroin

Galway farmers will be showing how they have been growing strong in a new TG4 series taking in agriculture in the west of Ireland.

Mná na Talún follows four female farmers across the four seasons of a single farming year in this four part series starting on November 23.

Úna Ní Bhroin has spent 20 years building up Beechlawn Organic farm in Ballinasloe along with her husband Pádraig; and Hannah Doherty is a young, enterprising sheep farmer on the Derry-Donegal border.

Bríd Ní hIcí aims to be as self-sufficient as possible – growing vegetables and keeping pigs and goats on her small-holding in Gaoth Dobhair; and Clíona Ní Conghaile raises cattle in the traditional style on the unique landscape of Inis Mór, one of the most important areas of biodiversity in Ireland.

In the first episode spring is upon the farmers and we meet Úna Ní Bhroin and learn of her commitment to organic farming as an ethical and environmental choice – and the financial difficulties and stress this can create, particularly as a working mum of four children.

Hannah Doherty is in the middle of lambing season the busiest time of the year for Hannha and her husband Tommy. We witness Hannah handling a difficult birth that thankfully results in a safe delivery and we see Hannah hand feed the safely delivered lamb.

We meet Bríd Ní hIcí gathering seaweed on the beach in Gaoth Dobhair– it’s a natural fertiliser for use in her polytunnel, and reflects her interest in self sufficiency and natural farming methods.

We are also introduced to her small family of animals – her goats and horses, as well as Séamus and Pádraig, two young pigs being reared for their meat

Clíona Ni Chonghaile introduces us to the unique and stunning landscape of Inis Mór on the Árann Islands, and how it supports a particular type of cattle farming not found anywhere else in Ireland .

Clíona’s main concern is that this traditional way of farming is under threat as young people are more reluctant to stay on the island.

Episode 2 on the 30th November focuses on the work taking place on each of the farms during the summer months.

The third episode on the 7th of December takes us through the harvest in autumn and the final episode on the 14th of December sees the farmers prepare for the winter months.

This four-part series for TG4 made with the support of the Irish Language Broadcast Fund (ILBF) was produced by Dearcán Media.