CNN visit our farm

No, there hasn’t been an alien landing or gold discovered in Ballacolla. Sorry!


But there was great excitement and several near misses as passing drivers craned their necks for a better look when a CNN International crew visited the farm yesterday. Jim Boulden CNN Business Correspondent based in London and Business Assignment Editor Carol Jordan (originally from Youghal, Co. Cork) are doing a series of programmes about Ireland’s upcoming exit from the financial bailout and visited the farm to speak to Robin about beef farming. They also spoke to Padraig Brennan, Bord Bia Senior Business Analyst about Ireland’s targets for increased food production.

The world is seeking to expand food production by 70pc over the next four decades but reduce greenhouse gases emissions by a similar order. In this context, Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, last year presented a pioneering sustainability programme entitled Origin Green, in which Ireland set out its ambition to become a world leader in the delivery of sustainable, high quality food and drink products. Agriculture is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry and Ireland is the largest net exporter of beef in the EU and indeed the Northern hemisphere while exports of Irish dairy products look set to increase dramatically from 2015 onwards with the abolition of milk quotas. So big challenges lie ahead … how to increase production and become more sustainable at the same time. Origin Green is fronted by Irish actress Saoirse Ronan, see


While our older daughter Sarah (9) did get to meet the crew, 6-year-old Ruth, when offered the option, blandly said, “Mammy, I have no interest in meeting CNN.” Carol was saying about how well they had been received everywhere they went. Well, as Valda Boardman, International communications consultant with Bord Bia pointed out, that was because of themselves, they were so so nice, really warm, pleasant and unfussy. Padraig and Valda came in for a cuppa after but Carol, Jim and cameraman Simon decided to leave to give Jim’s voice a chance to recover. They are due to head home today, weather permitting. You would never think it from the sky in the above pic but a right good storm has whipped up here overnight … so hope they do get going.

The programmes will be shown on CNN International next week, the one including agriculture on the Wednesday, either at 9am or 9pm. I will post up link when it comes available.

Welcome to Winter


For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. 

A time to be born and a time to die. 

A time to plant and a time to harvest. 


(Ecclesiastes 3)

Even for those who are not very religious would have to admit that The Bible says an awful lot of good stuff. That could be because those who wrote it had some sort of divine inspiration … or just that they were very astute observers of the world and its ills.


Here in this island we have just had our sunniest summer in decades but, though Winter may have officially have arrived yesterday, it has been making its presence felt these past three weeks. Temperatures remain relatively high, (we are still getting fresh raspberries every day!) have been easing but, as usual in Ireland, its the arrival of the rain that really heralds the changing of the season. 


Then, last evening, much to Robin’s horror, when myself and the girls were out “riding” the little fat pony Rosie, the first Whooper swans of the season flew just feet over our heads. They come here from their Icelandic breeding grounds when winter arrives there; its not often that visitors come to Ireland for the weather! Sorry no pic, camera safe at home.

During the summer we loved the long sunny days and being outdoors well into the late evening.  Now, during the shortening days and watery sunshine of the Halloween break we have been harvesting some of our bumper crops of apples; we then race indoors for some warming food and snuggle down around a nice wood fire. We are well ready for it … and love it just as much.