Posts Tagged ‘old farm’

We now have a whole family of hand knit piggies…. all available to buy….. and there will be more soon!  If you’d like one, check them out here : http://www.oldfarm.ie/quirky-stuff

Piggy family

Piggy family

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Our neighbourhood is not a natural tourist destination, nor is it promoted as a tourist destination.  It is quite a hidden gem… almost a secret gem.  So we are delighted to receive the guests who do come our way.

our home

We have met some really lovely people… as has been said so often by guests “we came as strangers and left as friends”.  Perhaps, it is our listing, our reviews, or our location that attracts like-minded people!  We’ve had people from all parts of the world come stay, and many the lively conversation that’s been had over the kitchen table at dinner.

We often wish we could both persuade more people to come, and persuade those who do come to stay for longer.  The #MagicalMidlands has so much to offer – magnificent historical destinations; activities like cycling, hiking, fishing and walking; and, of course, beautiful scenery.

We like to think that by being hosts we are helping our community, bringing tourists to this wonderful part of Ireland, boosting the local economy just a little bit… and, of course, introducing guests to the ‘social dancing’ on Friday nights – always a big hit.

If you are planning a trip to middle Ireland, do stay a while.

We are delighted and thankful that bookings have started to come in for this year.  And, now Minister Heather Humphries, has launched a new Action Plan for Rural Ireland that promises a 12% increase in tourism for 2017…. well, we’ll see…..

As St. Patrick’s Day will give us a long weekend this year, we thought we’d do a special offer to encourage you all to come and visit the #MagicalMidlands.  As we are quite remote, we give guests the option of joining us in the kitchen for dinner.   You will see from our listing that we’re not bad cooks, so good food is guaranteed!

  • Option 1:  2 nights bed and breakfast, and dinner on both evenings at €120 per person – and a bottle of wine with dinner each evening.
  • Option 2:  2 nights bed and breakfast, and dinner on one evening at €95 per person – and a bottle of wine.

There you go folks…. 2 rooms available…. who’s coming?

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Friday Photo

It has been a while…. so it must be time to share a piggy photo 🙂

Oldfarm pig

Oldfarm pig

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A couple of things have shocked us in recent months.

First shock was way back in February when we had snow here and decided to take a walk through the fields surrounding the house.  It was certainly at least 2 years since I had last gone climbing gates and fences up the back of the house.  I know some might say it is trespassing going for a walk along the neighbours hedgerows…. but boy, oh boy, do they have a healthy growth of sloes up there!

What struck us as we walked along in the snow though was that hedge, after hedgerow, was gone.  Two years ago we would have had to wend our way backwards and forwards across fields to find the gaps in the hedges where we knew we could get through.

Those hedgerows are now all gone.  Gone.  Disappeared.

you can just make out the remnants of a hedgerow

you can just make out the remnants of a hedgerow


Literally miles of hedgerows gone.

No Hedges in either direction

No Hedges in either direction


I was under the impression that hedgerows were protected.  I’ve done some research in the past few weeks and from what I can find out they are.

The Department of Agriculture :

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine advise that, under Section 37 of the Forestry Act, 1946, it is illegal to uproot any tree over ten years old or to cut down any tree of any age (including trees which form part of a hedgerow), unless a Felling Notice has been lodged at the Garda Station nearest to the trees at least 21 days before felling commences.

I can honestly say I know very very little about the ‘REPS’ schemes, but I understood that if you removed hedges you would not get this payment?

Another Department of Agriculture document states:

While hedgerows are an important visual feature in the landscape and form part of the historical and archaeological heritage of the country, they also serve a number of very important functions at farm level such as:

 ̧ Stock proof boundaries particularly important for animal disease control;

 ̧ Shelter and shade for farm animals and shelter for crops from possible winddamage;

 ̧ Physical barrier to restrict soil and water movement thus reducing soil erosionand protecting water quality.

 ̧ Providing habitats for wild life in circumstances where the proportion ofnatural woodland in the country is low;

 ̧ Nature corridors to allow the free movement of wildlife.

These landscape features are now protected under the requirements of Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAEC). This means that in general they cannot be removed. Hedgerows must also be maintained and not allowed to become invasive thereby reducing the utilisable area of the field and consequently impacting on the area eligible for the single payment.

You would think it was all very clear.  The sentence in this that would bother me is “this means that in general they cannot be removed“.  Does this give the farmer ‘wriggle’ room?  Allow him to destroy the hedges?

On a side note, has anyone else noticed poor animals in fields without a single bit of protection?  Not a tree or hedge for them to shelter under.

The second shock we had in the past month has been that all this land about us is now for sale.  Oh, how we wish we could afford 85 acres of prime agricultural land in North Tipperary.

In a conversation with a neighbour, who is an organic farmer, we were talking about how this entire 85 acres has just one hedgerow left in it, no other hedges, no fencing, no water, no electricity…. his reply….. that is the way farmers (including himself) want the land now.  It is easier to move the big machines around!!!

Screen Shot taken from Google Earth view

Screen Shot taken from Google Earth view


Unfortunately the cloud completely blocks out the area around our house…. but you can see the central hedgerow that has been left… and the lines where the old hedges used to be.  Very sad!

It is simple so folks….. farmers are thinking about how to move big machines around their land.

They are not thinking about biodiversity, hedgerows, wild food – we will miss the haws, sloes and blackberries – and what about the bees, birds and other wildlife that live in the hedgerows?  These hedgerows have taken decades to develop and get established.  These particular hedgerows were over 1,000 years old.  They are now gone forever.

And as I press ‘publish’  I can see another neighbouring farmer destroying more hedgerows down the hill.

How can this be stopped? Can it be stopped?

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This week I thought I’d share with you some interesting pig facts….. these are facts that we always share with our course participants.

Copy of magazine article

Copy of magazine article

Did you know that every part of the pig is a usable commodity?  Pigs contribute to the production of 185 products from cosmetics to icecream, soap to fabric softener, candles to paintbrushes, chemical weapons to dog treats ….. as I say an awful lot of uses, not a whole pile of waste really.

It is no wonder that it is said that ‘everything but the squeal’ is used from a pig.  Did you know that a pig can squeal at 115 decibels?  That’s louder than a jet engine!!!  I have often thought that squeal would make a great burglar alarm….. trust me it is so loud any burglar would just high tail it away from that noise.

Here at Oldfarm we do try to get every part of our pigs back, not always an easy task I can tell you.  We know that the abattoirs have a market for the blood, intestines, etc.  So unless you specify you want them back, you just won’t get them.  You won’t even get the head back unless you ask for it.

We use the pork liver, heart, etc. for pork terrines.  We use the crepinettes (lining of the intestines) for encasing other roasts – brilliant for covering your turkey at Christmas!  

We render the lard – it makes the best pastry in the world!  And isn’t half bad for giving you delicious roast potatoes either 🙂

Some other interesting facts about pigs….

  • Pigs will eat almost anything – although they all have preferred tastes
  • Pigs are naturally clean
  • Pigs are very curious
  • Pigs are listed at #4 in smartness
  • Pigs are escape artists…… with MEMORY
  • Pigs can run a 7 minute mile….. can you?

Pigs running

We have often said here that moving pigs would be an excellent training activity for any rugby team!  We’ve spent 3 hours on a wet, cold, muddy November Sunday trying to get one pig back into a pen.

Final interesting fact about pigs……. they are EXTREMELY STUBBORN.



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