Summer 2014 - Macra na Feirme

Summer 2014 - Macra na Feirme

MACRA MAGAZINE ISSUE 1 VOLUME 14 SUMMER 2014 SPRING INTO SUMMER National Dairy Week promotes healthy eating habits >> 5 Know Your Neighbour How yo...

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National Dairy Week promotes healthy eating habits >> 5

Know Your Neighbour How you can help >> 9



Farming at \RXUoQJHUWLSV - for top quality information, analysis and insights for Irish farmers

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70th anniversary................4 National Dairy Week............5 No limbs, no limits.............6 Give blood.......................8 Know Your Neighbour .........9 Local news.....................10 AGM.............................12 Travel news.....................14 FBD Young Farmer............16 National Dairy Council........17 Agriculture & rural youth.....18 Festivals & events ............22 Competitions...................24 Summer fun....................26 Macra in focus.................28

M is published twice a year and is a joint venture between Macra na Feirme and the Agricultural Trust, publishers of the Irish Farmers Journal and The Irish Field. Editor: Aoife Helly

Group production editor: Garrett Allen Sub-editors: Regina Horan :OÚA$OMARACKA Imaging: Owen McGauley Advertising: Joanne Flynn *ÛYNN FARMERSJOURNALIE 01-4199567 Printing: Johnswood Press INFO JOHNSWOODPRESSIE The publishers accept no responsibility for the veracity of claims made by contributors and advertisers. 7HILEEVERYCAREISTAKENTOENSURE accuracy of information contained in M Magazine, we do not accept responsibility for any errors or matters arising from same. © Macra na Feirme


ello again, everyone! We had a very busy AGM in Kilkenny with lots of discussion and debate. The ultimate aim of the AGM is to review the year just gone and plan for the one ahead. Congratulations to all the new members of the National Council for the 2014 to 2016 term. I would also like to thank most sincerely all those national council representatives, who stepped down at the AGM, for their hard work and dedication to our great organisation. The closing date for the FBD Young Farmer of the Year competition is 30 May. We hope lots of young farmers will have been inspired by the Springboard event held in The Heritage, Killenard, in April and will enter the competition for a chance to share in the €10,000 prize fund. So, go on, give it a go! The Know Your Neighbour weekend will take place on the weekend of 12 and 13 July. Clubs and counties/regions are encouraged to get involved and organise something fun and inclusive. The summer packs will be posted out shortly and, in these packs, there will be information about upcoming events. The packs also contain the dates of the competitions throughout the year. If any county/region is interested in hosting a competition round or final, they should ensure that their application is received before the closing date in mid-July. The summer pack also contains details about hosting the 2014 Macra AGM. The closing date for applications is mid-July. On Saturday 29 November, we will be running our national fundraiser again in conjunction with the Irish Greyhound Board. I hope you have a brilliant summer and I’m sure we’ll meet somewhere along the way.

— Kieran O’Dowd Macra na Feirme National President, 2013-2015 COVER CAPTION Back row: Marcus Stewart, dairy farmer from Monaghan; Darach Geraghty, from Meath; Millie the cow; and John Carroll from Kerry. Front row: Tara O'Regan, National Dairy Council with Conor (6) and Kate (4) Luz from Walkinstown at Macra’s National Dairy Week street party ‘DairyFest’ on South King Street, Dublin 2 in association with the National Dairy Council.

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Anniversary Ardagh Macra na Feirme, Co Mayo, at a stockjudging competition, in the early 1960s. Front row: Johnny Foody and William Winters (judges). Middle row: Willie Gordon, Ambrose Egan, Jim Dunleavy, Michael Fleming and Martin Harrison. Back row: Brendan Ruttledge and John Dodd.

In 1970, Cooneal Macra na Feirme club brought national honours to Mayo when they won the National Farm Tasks competition, which was held in Limerick. They were THElRST#ONNACHTTEAMTOWINTHIS title. Pictured (right) are the members of the team: Brendan Barrett, Cloonalough; Ann Culkin, Rosserk; Tom Roche, Cloonalough and Ivan Petrie, Rosserk.

70 years of Macra


s 2014 marks 70 years of Macra, we want to reflect on the good times. Do you have old photos of Macra? Whether they’re on your computer or you have actual photos, we’d love to see them. As part of the 70th anniversary celebrations, we want you to send in your old photos of Macra through the years. If you know where the photo was taken and who is in it, all the better, so make sure to include those details.

We will feature the archive of photos we receive in a display at the National Ploughing Championships and the Laois Rally committee will also display them in a dedicated museum at the event. You can email your photos to macrana [email protected] with the subject ‘photo archive’ or, alternatively, post them to Aoife Helly, Macra na Feirme, Irish Farm Centre, Bluebell, Dublin 12.

The good old days

beauty contest. The competitors gained marks for their own appearance as well, hence the white coats and ties. The female spectators looking on from the sidelines were also out in their best finery. There was a county round, followed by a provincial, and then a national final. The farm tasks competition of 1970 included tractor (without a cab) and trailer reversing, taking out and replacing sections of a mowing bar, building 40 bricks into an L-shaped wall and erecting a straight line of stakes with wire. There were no marks for style, but the men wouldn’t take part without a jacket and tie. There was a separate competition for girls, which in the final consisted of flower arranging, filleting a fish and polishing a pair of men’s shoes! – Sharon Corcorcan, Mayo Macra

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the foundation of Macra na Feirme, so it’s interesting to look back at the changes and similarities between some of the competitions of back then and now. The stockjudging competition was pretty much the same as it is now. However, the breeds used were different, with Shorthorns appearing in the dairy competition. Before the advent of slatted houses, cattle were generally more docile than now, and it was still common for cattle to walk to the fair to be sold. The stockjudging competition was held in the corner of a field, where a sports day was going on at the same time, and in the evening the cows were walked back to the farm. One major difference between then and now is that it wasn’t just a bovine


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National Dairy Week

Dairy Fest


n 13 May, Macra’s young dairy farmers teamed up with the National Dairy Council (NDC), our health and wellbeing partners, to host a street party not to be missed. DairyFest took place on South King Street, Dublin 2, and 2,000 dairy products were given out to passers-by. The level of interest from the public was huge and the support was fantastic.National Dairy Week (12 to 18 May) showcased the excellence of our pasture-based dairy farming and produce – from farm to fridge. It also highlighted the quality, versatility and nutritious benefits of dairy within our lives, as part of a healthy, balanced diet. National Dairy Week is the perfect time to ask yourself if you achieve your daily recommendations. The Department of Health’s food pyramid recommends three servings from the dairy food group each day as part of a balanced diet. Special thanks to Killowen yogurts, Avonmore, Kerrygold and Wexford Creameries for giving us dairy products.



Street party The DairyFest street party was a fun and colourful event aimed at promoting the quality of Irish dairy. We had young dairy farmers on hand to explain to the public how dairy is produced and why they are passionate about what they do. Milly the Cow (left), the Macra and NDC DairyFest mascot is pictured with Marcus Stewart, Newbliss Macra, Monaghan; John Carroll, Causeway Macra, Kerry; and Thomas Duffy, Ramor Macra, Cavan.



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No limbs, no limits We speak to Macra member Steven O’Riordan about his TV documentary success with No Limbs, No Limits


teven O’Riordan, a member of Muskerry Macra, has made a hugely successful documentary, No Limbs No Limits about his sister Joanne who was born with Total Amelia syndrome which means she has no limbs.

Joanne O’Riordan, at home in Millstreet,Co Cork on her 18th birthday, with her parents Joe and Ann, brother Steven, sister Gillian and god-daughter Kylie.


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He has previously made a documentary on the Magdalene Laundries entitled The Forgotten Maggies. No Limbs No Limits, which premiered at the Cork Opera House last October, was one of the main national features in the Jameson Film Festival in February and it got a nationwide release in cinemas on 11 April. Steven kindly took time out of his busy schedule so we could ask him a couple of questions.

Firstly, on behalf of Macra, I would like to congratulate you on your success to date. What inspired you to make the documentary No Limbs, No Limits? I was inspired by Joanne. Knowing her disability and seeing what she is now capable of, I wanted to allow people to understand that a good quality of life is still possible with a disability. Why did you decide to join your local Macra club? I had lived in London for three years. I knew the chairperson of Muskerry Macra na Feirme, Rebecca Enright, personally. She asked me to join the club to reconnect with my local area and the people from it. I found that with the recession, many of my friends, classmates and colleagues had emigrated. Macra na Feirme gave me the opportunity to socialise, make new friends and have some ‘craic’.

Left: President Michael D Higgins, his wife, Sabina and his Bernese mountain dogs, with Cork teenager, Joanne O’Riordan and members of her family, including her brother, Steven; grandmother, Kathleen; sister, Gillian; aunt, Kathleen; and mother, Ann, at Áras an Úachtarain. Joanne presented the president with a copy of the documentary, No Limbs, No Limits.

I have noticed that there are a lot more young people/teenagers involved with Macra, whether through fundraising, town clean-ups or helping the local community. There seems to be a lot more activity going on. Macra also allows its members to excel, shine, gain confidence and tap into different organisations. I feel that Macra should get more support and publicity. It needs more recognition for the work that it does. Do you wish to continue to make documentaries in the future? Yes, I have a number of things happening in the background, but nothing I can tell you about, unfortunately! I can tell you that I am working with the Irish Film Board and TV3, however. What is the message of No Limbs, No Limits? Anything in life is physically possible. No Limbs, No Limits was a nice way to show people the fundraising done for Joanne, even from when she was born. It is a nice way for the people who helped out to notice the work they did for her. What have you planned next? I have a few things planned, but nothing I can confirm as of yet. Your sister must be very proud of you. What was her reaction after watching the documentary? She was pleasantly surprised. She enjoyed it. It was nice to see her reaction as she wasn’t fully aware of the things that were done for her when she was younger. It was uplifting for her and also for the family. All of the reviews were great so she was delighted.

What were you studying in college, and where? I was studying Theatre and Film Studies in Bath University for three years. What aspects of Macra do you enjoy most? I love meeting new people and Macra gives me the opportunity to do so. I can be quite isolated at times with the work that I do, so I am grateful to have Muskerry Macra to balance that out. I have a particular interest in debating, so I really enjoy that aspect. I represented the club in the national rounds of debating. I made a successful documentary on the Magdalene Laundries called the Forgotten Maggies, so debating on topics like that really gets me going. Have you noticed any changes or differences in Macra since coming back to Ireland?

How can people donate to help and improve the lives of people living with Total Amelia? There is no fundraising for Total Amelia. The Rehab Group pledged €25,000 towards the production costs of No Limbs, No Limits. I was thrilled with the Rehab Group’s support for the film project and grateful that Joanne’s story can now be told. The Lord Mayor of Cork, Catherine Clancy, with Joanne at the Cork screening of No Limbs, No Limits

No Limbs, No Limits will be aired on RTÉ on Thursday 19 June.

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Blood donation

Give life, give blood


lood is essential for the effective treatment of many patients, especially those suffering from leukaemia, cancer or undergoing elective surgery. It is also vital for those receiving organ transplants and for trauma victims. The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) must collect 3,000 donations per week to ensure that these patients receive blood products when they need them. It is also vital that they receive the correct blood type and this means that the IBTS must collect sufficient quantities of blood groups O, A, B and AB. We are asking people to think of the patients in hospital and remember it could be a loved one, a sibling or a colleague who requires blood as part of their treatment one day. Make the effort to ensure that blood is there for that patient. Do not leave it to somebody else. To find out how you can play your part and donate, go to or ring 1850 731 137. Medication, travel or minor illnesses are some reasons why we might be unable to take a donation. When you do come along, think about bringing someone with you – two lives saved is even better. So, what happens when you go to a blood donation clinic? You can just call in to your local clinic; you don’t need to make an appointment.


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Registration When you volunteer to give blood, you will be asked to register with the IBTS. We ask for your name, address, date of birth and telephone numbers. You will be asked about specific aspects of your life, medical history and you will also be asked to fill in a health and lifestyle questionnaire. We ask that you read the questionnaire and leaflets provided thoroughly. All the information you give will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Haemoglobin We test a small drop of blood from your finger to make sure that you are not anaemic (short of iron). If your blood passes this test, we may be able to accept your donation straight away.

Giving blood Giving blood then takes approximately eight to 15 minutes. The total volume of blood taken is 470ml, which is less than a pint.

Resting You will be advised to rest for a short period before going to a canteen where you will be offered a drink and light refreshments. Generally, the whole process takes about an hour.

 Over 1,000 people receive transfusions every week in Ireland.  Only 3% of the Irish population give blood, providing blood for a population of over four million. You can give blood every 90 days.  A car accident victim may require up to 30 units of blood.  A bleeding ulcer could require anything between three and 30 units of blood.  A coronary artery bypass may use one TOÚVEUNITSOF blood.  People undergoing cancer treatment cancer are regularly transfused.  The most common blood group in Ireland is O positive (47% of the population).  The rarest blood group in Ireland is AB negative (1% of the population).  The most common blood group is O, accounting for about 46% of the world’s population. People in the west of Ireland are predominantly of blood group O.  There is a higher concentration of group A blood in counties which historically received Viking and English population settlements.

Know Your Neighbour

Be a better neighbour W

hether it’s a barbecue, picnic or family fun day, why not get together with your club and the rest of your community and organise an event for Know Your Neighbour (KYN) Weekend, which takes place on 12 and 13 July. The only rule is to have fun, get all the neighbours around and break down those walls. Just register your event online www. or by texting KYN followed by your name and address to 51444 following our launch in early June.

Ideas Can’t think what to do? Check out these event ideas. But the sky’s the limit. Why not try something new? Â Organise a local walk: A walk and talk event is good for the body and soul. Â Old-school sports day: Egg and spoon race, anyone? Â Family fun day: Bouncy castle, maybe a clown – all to entertain the kids and the big kids. Â Community coffee morning: Easy to organise. Â Visit the local nursing home or active retirement group: Remember, those who may not be able to get out and have fun, so bring the fun to them. Â Field day: Get down to your roots WITHAGOOD OLD FASHIONEDÚELD day for the whole community. Â Invite friends and family home for a get together: It’s always good to have everyone home under one roof for the weekend. Â Trad and dance session: Exercise and a bit of ‘craic’. Â Wine and cheese evening: A late-night spin on the coffee morning. Â Community clean-up: Make a difference, feel good about yourself and get in the community spirit. Â Quiz night: These are always popular and can double as a fundraiser.





The KYN initiative is kindly supported by Irish Country Living, the Irish Farmers Journal and The Wheel.

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Hill 16 Dublin Macra goes from strength to strength In September, a new Macra club was set up in Drumcondra, Dublin. It started off with 10 members. The club has engaged in many social activities, including the Dublin Ghost Bus Tour at Halloween, a trip to Croke Park museum, a Skyline Etihad tour and a walking tour of Dublin city. Members have enjoyed participating in competitions at county and national level. The club won the county round of ladies’ basketball and represented Dublin at the national ÚNALSIN,IMERICKIN-ARCH(AVING hosted a debating workshop, a team was formed and was sucCESSFULINTHEÚRSTROUNDOFTHE competition in Tullamore. One of the highlights of the year

so far was participating in the amateur drama competition. The club members worked hard in their production of Gillian Plowman’s play ‘Cecily’. The hard work paid off on Monday 31 March when the play was performed in the Ivy House in Drumcondra in front of a large audience. The performance was a big part of their

community involvement, as well as hosting table quizzes to fundraise for St Francis’ Hospice in Raheny and participating in the St Vincent De Paul food drive at Christmas. Hill 16 now has 26 members and new members are always welcome and the club can be contacted at hill16dublin [email protected]

TG4 and Limerick City Macra – lights, camera, action 7HATANEXCITINGTIMEITWASFOR,IM ERICK#ITYRECENTLYWHEN4'ÚLMED members set-dancing, rehearsing THEIRDRAMAANDA,IMERICK#ITY-ACRA meeting. The set-dancing, which was recorded in Dolan’s Pub, is a weekly event, where many Macra members ENJOYDANCINGTHENIGHTAWAY,IMERICK City Macra members enjoyed dancing the plain set for TG4. The TV crew came to a rehearsal in #ROOMANDÚLMEDMEMBERSPRACTIS ing their lines and performing some scenes. It was an amazing experience to have a camera following them around the stage. ,IMERICK#ITY-ACRAMEMBER-AIRÁ ad spoke passionately ‘as Gaeilge’ about the drama and the ‘craic’ that they had with the crew, the director and the actresses.

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Following the drama, TG4 came to a JAM PACKED,IMERICK#ITYMEETINGWITH chairperson Elaine O’Reilly welcoming them. There was lots of activity during the meeting with members getting their pottery masterpieces, which they created recently in Ballymorris Pottery. There was great excitement at the HANDINGOUTOF,IMERICK#ITYHOODIES  which no doubt will be worn with great PRIDEAS,IMERICK#ITY-ACRAHEADSOFF during the summer on many road trips, supporting Kate Manning in Miss Blue *EANSAND-AIRÁAD/m$RISCOLLIN-ISS -ACRA'O,IMERICK#ITYØ A big thank you to Matt Kelly Productions for such a fantastic promotion of Macra. They were delighted with the inclusion on the TG4 Nuacht on Sunday 6 April. Don’t forget to check them out on the TG4 player.

Fermoy Macra members raise funds for charity Fermoy Macra’s 5km fun run/walk raises €2,655 for FACE (Fermoy Action Children Education). Pictured is chairperson Tom Ahern, presenting a cheque to FACE secretary Mag Flynn, in the company of Fermoy Macra members Pa Cotter and Connor Bannon and FACE members.

North Leitrim Macra hosts charity tractor run A big thank you to all who participated in their tractor run in Drumkeerin, Co Leitrim on 23 February, in aid of the Sligo Hospital Oncology Unit Trust. /VERTRACTORSFROMTHELOCALAREAANDFURTHERAÚELD took part on the day. A bucket collection also took place, adding to the funds raised through participation and sponsorship. Thanks to your generosity, they raised €1,900. The committee would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the success of the tractor run.

Clubs join together in wedded bliss

Clubs join together in wedded bliss Members of Moynalty Macra and Longwood Macra JOINEDFORCESFOR-EATH-ACRAmSÚRSTMOCKWEDDINGON Easter Sunday in the Trim Castle Hotel, with proceeds going to the Friends of St Joseph’s Hospital, which assists and supplements the work of St Joseph’s Community nursing unit in Trim. A great night was had by all, as members of the clubs were joined in mockrimony.

Athboy Macra celebrates 150 years of former courthouse Athboy Macra club is in the fortunate position of owning its own hall and, entering 2014, marked a milestone for the building itself as it celebrated its 150th year. On the last Sunday of December, Athboy Macra club and members of the community gathered in the former courthouse to mark 150 years of the Macra Hall. Eamonn Cassells Snr kicked off proceedings by giving a brief history of the hall from its use as a courthouse to dance hall, youth club venue to community hall and now home to Athboy Macra since 1966. As the large crowd settled, the scene was set and, for the next hour, a mock court was in session. Court clerk for the day was Joseph Healy who instructed the audience to ‘All Rise’ as Owen Burke of Kilcloon Macra took on the role as judge. Healy called the accused Charles Charlie Smyth, infamous in Macra debating and drama circles of the past, to court as Judge Burke outlined the seriousness of the charge before the audience, now

the jury. Smyth was charged with impersonating Santa Claus, with additional charges of pretending to be a goalkeeper, taking on the identity of a ‘real’ farmer and for going under the guise of the Bull McCabe. Prosecution was led by Mr Gerry Cooke, while defence lay in the hands of Mr Brendan Smith. The combination of the aforementioned duo paved the way for a swift sequence of witty exchange with great comedic timing. Martha &INNEGANGAVEAÚNEPERFORMANCE

as she delved into the psychology of the case, while a young Cian Harmon provided evidence which proved vital in cracking the case. Keeping up with proceedings was court stenographer Sarah Beirne while court artist, Brendan Smith Jnr, captured some lively images on the day. Athboy Macra hopes to host a similar morning again in the future. Perhaps our Macra president Kieran O’Dowd would be interested to know – they just might be on the lookout for a good barrister.

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Macra AGM M

acra’s national AGM took place on 10 May in Hotel Kilkenny. The event, hosted by Kilkenny Macra with the support of Glanbia, saw 11 new national council representatives take up their positions. Ronan Feighery from Ferbane Macra,

Co Offaly, was elected national chairman. Joan Marie Healy from Berrings Macra, Muskerry, Co Cork, and Sean Finan took up the respective roles of national secretary and national treasurer. David McDonagh, South Sligo Macra, was elected vice chairperson.

TOP LEFT: Macra’s All-Ireland debating champions, Freemount Macra, Avondhu, Co Cork, AFTERTHECOMPETITIONlNALATTHE!'-&ROM LEFT#IAN$ALY +ATE"OURKE 3INEAD'UINEY  and Thomas Stritch, who also won the Peter -URPHYMEMORIALTROPHYFORBESTDEBATER

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LEFT: At this year’s national senior debating lNAL 4HOMAS3TRITCHWASPRESENTEDWITHTHE Peter Murphy memorial trophy in honour of Macra’s former national organiser and host of RTÉ’s Cross CountryQUIZ-ACRANATIONAL president Kieran O’Dowd is pictured with Bridie Murphy, wife of the late Mr Murphy, herself a former Macra staff member, Bridie’s son Peter and Edmond Connolly, -ACRANA&EIRME#%/RIGHT 

THE NEW NCRS: Carlow: Eamonn Brennan Avondhu: Mary Anne Murphy Carbery: Patrick McCarthy Galway: Bryan Hynes Kerry: Niall Flahive Kilkenny: Aoife Lanigan Laois: Gemma Goulding Tipperary North: Una Ryan Tipperary South: Una Marie Ryan Waterford: James Foley IFA observer: Aidan Gleeson

MAIN PICTURE: The Kilkenny Macra organising committee pictured at the AGM in Hotel Kilkenny on Saturday 10 May. Pictured are: Liam Comerford, Donna Ahern, Brendan Phelan, Mary Brennan, Aoife Lanigan and Fionan Brennan. BELOW: The newly-elected national executive of Macra na Feirme at the AGM in Hotel Kilkenny. Back row: Mary Ann Murphy; Eamon Cassells; James Healy, Munster vice-president; Grainne O’Reilly; Paddy Delaney, Leinster vice-president; Michelle O’Callaghan; Gemma Goulding; David McDonagh, vice-chairperson; and Edmond Connolly, CEO. Front row: Joan Marie Healy, national secretary; Kieran O’Dowd, national president; Ronan Feighery, national chairperson; and Sean Finan, northwest vice-president.

GREEN RIBBON The National Executive are pictured wearing their Green Ribbons in support of the See Change Green Ribbon campaign to reduce stigma around mental illness.

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Have an adventure


llie Cronin and Yvonne Daly of the Rural Youth Initiative committee led a group of 19 Macra members to Manchester in April. Some travelled from Dublin Airport but the majority of us travelled together from Cork Airport. We boarded our little plane to Manchester and off we went into the sky. There was a bus waiting at the airport to take us to our hotel, the Jury’s Inn. We did a quick turnaround at the hotel and headed off together for dinner in Giorgio’s Italian restaurant, where we had a lovely meal. After dinner, we headed off to O’Shea’s Irish bar where we sang and

The gang at Old Trafford in Manchester as part of the Rural Youth Committee adventure. Trips like this are open to all members and the focus is on fun, travel and expanding your horizons.

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danced the night away, with a few meeting a celebrity’s brother, so some girls were smiling. With a late night on Friday, unfortunately we had an early start on Saturday morning. After breakfast (and people not knowing their right from their left when they came out of the hotel), we departed on the X50 bus to Old Trafford. What an experience! We had a very nice chap giving us our tour of the stadium. Unfortunately, Becks or Giggs weren’t there to meet us. Once the tour was finished, we hit the Manchester United shop, where numerous purchases were made.

We were back on the bus again to the hotel, where we had lunch. Then most of the crowd headed off to the Trafford Centre to do some shopping, while others watched the Munster match. As it was Grand National time, the majority of us did a spree between ourselves, where Michael O’Mahony came out the lucky winner (no better man to get it). Everybody met back in the hotel again, ready to go at 6.30pm. We dined in a restaurant called Tops where we had a lovely meal and a great laugh. From there, we headed off to a local bar where great fun and sport was had before visiting a few

with us


Irish bars and ending up in Mulligan’s Irish bar for a great sing-song. Sunday morning was a late start, which was badly needed. Some more shopping was done and a few of us went up on the Big Wheel in Manchester where we got to see the whole city. What a weekend and what great Macra friendships were made. Until the next weekend away, thank you guys. – Yvonne Daly, Limerick Macra

Seandun Macra members who went skiing in Sol, Austria. Have you seen our travel blog on You’ll ÚNDREPORTSFROM members who have travelled with Macra

Alan Jagoe, CEJA vice-president; Edmond Connolly, Macra CEO; Kieran McEvoy, agricultural affairs committee; Sean Coughlan, agricultural affairs chair; and Derrie Dillon, Macra agriculture and rural affairs manager.

Study trip to Brussels

Interested in fun trips like this or representing Macra young farmer trips aboard? Check out the travel section of for travel opportunities. There are several trips every year that are open to members.

A group of Macra members travelled to Brussels with Sean Kelly MEP. They included Margaret Tobin, Emma Flynn, Michael Tobin, Thomas Lonergan, Caroline O’Connor (all from South Tipp), Louise Cremin (Seandun), John Carroll (Kerry), Sean Cunningham (Limerick) and myself, Claire Bambrick (Kilkenny). 4HEÚRSTDAYOFTHETRIPSAWUSSETTLING in and doing a bit of exploring around Brussels. We stayed at The Leuven Institute for Irish in Europe which is located in the busy student city of Leuven. The trip included meetings with Irish MEPs, ICOS and visiting the Parliament and Commission buildings where security was high. Sean Kelly himself held a meeting with us and explained the day-to-day activities of an MEP. 4HEYDEÚNITELYAREABUSYBUNCHOF people and can often end up spending

Claire Bambrick, and the group who travelled to Brussels with Sean Kelly, MEP, outside European Union buildings. long hours in the hemicycle in Brussels or in Strasbourg voting on a variety of issues. It was a great trip and I’d recommend anyone take the opportunity to visit Brussels with Macra!

– Claire Bambrick, Kilkenny Macra

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FBD Young Farmer of the Year

John Buckley, FBD Young Farmer of the Year 2013, with Sean O’Brien.

A springboard for your future T

learn what other young farmhe 16th FBD Young %VERYONE ers are doing, where you can Farmer of the Year WHONOMINATES improve and how you can be competition is open AYOUNGFARMERWILL one of Ireland’s top young for entries. Young farmers HAVEACHANCETOWIN farmers. This is a prestigious who are actively involved TWONIGHTS""WITH competition which recogin the running of a farm, ONEDINNERINAN nises the drive, ambition and full-time or part-time, are &"$HOTEL hard work of the young farmers invited to apply. A county in the sector today. Farming, in winner will be chosen who a new CAP era and with quota aboliwill go through to the All-Ireland tion in the near future, is an exciting final in September. Macra organises the industry full of opportunity.” competition along with sponsors, FBD, and partners, the IFA. Macra national president Kieran Back row: IFA president Eddie Downey, FBD O’Dowd said: “We’re calling on all ambicompany secretary Conor Gouldson and tious young farmers to enter the 16th Macra national president Kieran O’Dowd. FBD Young Farmer of the Year competiFront row: John Buckley, FBD Young Farmer tion and to use it as a springboard for of the Year 2013 and Sean O’Brien. their future career. By taking part, you’ll



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Rob and Dave Kearney sign for the NDC team Irish rugby icons, Rob and Dave Kearney, have lined out as ambassadors for the National Dairy Council this year, as the NDC celebrates its 50th anniversary. Be sure to check out the new TV advert, featuring the Kearney brothers, which was launched to mark National Dairy Week (12 to 18 May).


Find out more about the NDC on Find us on Facebook /NDCIreland and follow us on Twitter @NDC_ie

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Agriculture & Rural Youth

Paul Fitzpatrick, Trim/Dunderry Macra, Co Meath (centre); with Tom Cannon, chair of the RDS Agricultural Committee (left); and Kieran O’Dowd, Macra na Feirme national president, launching Macra’s RDS sheep scholarship on Paul’s farm outside Trim, Co Meath.

Agricultural news Stephen Cullinan and RDS sheep scholarships


he winners of the annual Stephen Cullinan scholarship for young dairy farmers, sponsored by the Irish Farmers Journal, are Mark Ward from Meath and Patrick Fitzharris from Carlow. They will travel to New Zealand in July to experience farming there for six months. The skills and benefits they gain from the experience will stand to them in their future farming career. On a similar note, the Royal Dublin Society has teamed up with Macra na Feirme again to choose a suitable candidate for a sheep scholarship award. The winner of this award will receive an RDS silver medal and €3,000 to undertake international travel, for a minimum of six

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weeks, to learn about sheep farming in another country and to gain knowledge that will subsequently benefit the individual back home. Applications are open until 9 June. For more information, email [email protected] or call 01-4268906.

FRS Herdwatch discount To celebrate Macra’s 70th anniversary, and the historical link between Farm Relief Services (FRS) and Macra, FRS is offering all active Macra members a special Herdwatch offer. Herdwatch is a new innovative mobile herd manager that enables farmers to register calves straight from their smartphone by downloading their herd information from the Department directly into

Herdwatch – and staying compliant by recording remedy purchases and usage. To sign up to the special offer of 15 months for the price of 12, at €99 (including VAT) visit the Macra page

Successful FBD young farmer springboard A new initiative the FBD young farmer springboard was developed by Macra involving an interactive workshop and seminar to motivate, inform and stimulate young farmers as they embark on their career journey. The event was held in the Heritage Golf and Spa Resort, Killenard, Co Laois, with the support of FBD and IFA’s Farm Business Skillnet. The workshop pro-

Fifty young farmers attended the FBD young farmer springboard led by Seán O’Brien and Brian Purcell, in the Heritage resort, Killenard, Co Laois.

vided an interactive and novel approach to farming. The MC for the day, Brian Purcell of The Apprentice, emphasised the importance of planning for your worst year and focusing on costs. He encouraged networking, having a mentorship system and investing in maintaining health and energy levels through investment in order to have a successful career. Leinster rugby legend, and proud farmer, Seán O’Brien talked about the necessity for professionalism and outlined his key factors to a successful career in either sport or business – commitment, focus, discipline and planning ahead. After a rousing talk from Seán, a number of former FBD Young Farmer of the Year winners – Eddie O’Donnell, Bryan Daniels, Kevin Heavin, John Buckley and Sean Coughlan, chair of the Agricultural Affairs Committee – facilitated round table discussions on how to set a vision for a farming career, their goal setting, planning process and the team of people who helped to make their vision a reality. The groups of young farmer delegates moved between each table to broaden their knowledge. Participants then received a workbook to start their own career planning, including setting out their vision, goals and objectives, looking at their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and the possible threats, identifying their skills and building their team. A panel discussion was facilitated by Tim O’Leary, IFA deputy president, and took place after lunch with Rowena Dwyer, IFA chief economist, and Zoe Kavanagh, National Dairy Council CEO. The springboard workbook is available

on request from Macra na Feirme.

Live to Dead tours Macra, along with Dawn Meats, is hosting a series of tours each month across four Dawn factories, for young farmers to gain an insight into how factories work, gain a knowledge of the beef industry and the specifications meat factories are looking for in beef and sheep animals. For more information, or to book a tour, please call Darach on 01-4268906 or email [email protected]

CAP reform Macra’s Agricultural Affairs Committee laid out its stall on CAP reform in 2010, calling for a young farmer top-up. Through membership of CEJA, this gained acceptance and became a key measure in the reform. The young farmer measure in Pillar I is worth approximately €800m annually for young European farmers and up to €24m for young Irish farmers. The young farmer measures were the most positive aspects of the CAP reform, given that many of the other changes did little to address the need to target active


Young farmer top-up key points: Â Herd number. Â Under 40 years on entry to the scheme. Â !GRICULTURALEDUCATIONALQUALIÚCATION Â Value of top-up approximately €64/ entitlement/year. Â Maximum payment on 50ha pa. Â 4OP UPFORAMAXIMUMOFÚVEYEARS

farmers. Below is a summary of the key points for young farmers applying for the new young farmer measures from 2015 onwards.


For young farmers starting up, the date your name is associated with the herd number is the date you are deemed to have started farming. To be eligible you must have began farming within five years of commencement of CAP 2015. Therefore, a farmer who started in 2011 will receive one year of the top-up, 2012 two years and so on. Farmers who started farming after the 2014 Single Farm Payment deadline and up to the submission of the Basic Payment Scheme in May 2015 will be entitled to apply for the young farmer top-up in May 2015 for a five-year period.


Young farmers and new entrants are the priority categories within the National Reserve. It is important to note that criteria for the National Reserve is not finalised. Young farmers and new entrants with low or no entitlements can apply to the National Reserve in 2015, subject to objective criteria. The National Reserve is based on an allocation of entitlements at the national average rate, which is approximately €170, plus greening equating to approximately €254. The exact national average figure won’t be known until 2015. Further details on the scheme will emerge later in the year. Keep an eye on the news section of Continued on next page

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Agriculture & Rural Youth

Garvan Hickey, chair of Macra’s Rural Youth Committee; Professor Máirtín O’Fathaigh, formerly of UCC; Mary Cunningham, director of the National Youth Council of Ireland; Macra na Feirme national president Kieran O’Dowd; Fionnuala Sheehan, CEO of; and Kathryn D’Arcy, director of Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland, were the speakers and facilitators at the Macra na Feirme ‘Drink, Drama and Debate’ event which took place in the Castletroy Park Hotel, on 22 March.

Young farmer TAMS in Pillar II Under the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme in Pillar II there is a 60% grant aid for young, trained farmers for specific capital investments. Currently, this only applies to young farmers who have started farming since 2011, Macra believes this should apply to all young, trained farmers.

Agri tax review Macra made a submission to the Department of Finance on the agri tax review. For Irish farming to expand, it requires an increase in the proportion of younger farmers. Supporting young farmers helps deliver jobs and employment in rural areas, helps grow the agri-food sector, drive efficiency, innovation and productivity at farm level. Structural issues, particularly around access to and use of land, prove a constraint on increasing output.

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Income tax: Â 100% young farmer stock relief. Â Land-leasing reliefs. Â Con acre. Â Income volatility and young farmers fund. Â Capital allowances. Capital tax: Â Agricultural relief. Â Stamp duty relief. The main points of Macra’s submission on young farmer income and capital tax reliefs is as follows:

committee to deal with beef matters on a quarterly basis. A clear commitment was given to have a more transparent pricemonitoring system put in place. On the topic of carcase specifications, farmers need clarity so that they can provide what the market wants instead of specifications being used to devalue their produce. Macra will make a submission and will actively engage with Department of Agriculutre, Food and the Marine. We would also like to get reader feedback on this topic.

Beef forum

Conacre – the great debate

A delegation from Macra na Feirme attended a meeting of beef industry stakeholders in Dublin Castle, convened by Minister Simon Coveney. Macra commended the Minister for taking the initiative and calling the key stakeholders together for this crisis meeting and for establishing a formal standing

Macra’s Agricultural Affairs Committee chairman Sean Coughlan said it was high time that the elephant in the room in relation to land mobility – conacre – is addressed in the taxation review. Conacre is the worse use of land in Ireland for all those concerned – the farmer won’t improve the land as he/

she is out the gap in 11 months, while the owner will see the land value deteriorate year on year. More stable collaboration (long-term leases, partnerships and share farming arrangements) deliver greater value. The farmer can invest in the fertility of the land, productivity increases and the farm business can plan ahead. The land owner will see the land value and productivity grow, thus securing their ongoing return from the asset. The tax review must seriously consider disincentivising conacre to make the alternatives more attractive. Young and progressive farmers are willing to invest and grow their farms, but this cannot happen on the back of conacre. Ministers Coveney and Noonan will serve farmers well by grasping this nettle.

Rural Youth – alcohol abusing youth or youth abusing alcohol? Macra’s Rural Youth Committee organised an innovative seminar in the Castletroy Hotel, Limerick, on 22 March. The implications of alcohol abuse was the topic up for discussion. Macra member Michael Somers wrote a play on the topic, which was produced by last year’s national drama winners, Clonakilty. It’s a gritty and sometimes ‘in your face’ portrayal of how alcohol is widely available to children and youth, as well as the acceptance of excess drinking of alcohol. This set the scene for an interesting and lively debate. A varied panel of speakers ensured a diverse range of views on the topic of ‘Youth abusing alcohol or alcohol abusing youth?’ On one hand, the drinks industry representatives gave a lengthy insight into the drinking culture as it evolved in society and portrayed alcohol use as a ritual to synchronise emotions: pThe drinks industry was presented as a responsible industry making a significant contribution to jobs and wealth in Ireland.

Mary Cunningham, CEO of the NYCI, addresses the crowd at the Drink Drama Debate seminar. pFurthermore, people need skills to deal with the management and control of alcohol. Self-management is a key skill that can be learned and needs to be promoted. pHowever, the culture of pre-drinking, or ‘prinking’, now exists and the drink industry would support a minimum price order that existed up to 2006. On the other hand, points from the panel and Macra members included: pFor every €1 the industry spends on addressing alcohol abuse, it spends €40 on advertising. pAlcohol-related harm is costing the Irish Exchequer €3.7bn annually and the alcohol industry generates €2bn in taxes, which is not sustainable. pSociety’s attitude normalises excess drinking as the price differential is so big now that it encourages pre-drinking. pPeer pressure is coercing young people to drink to excess. It was felt that “Drink Aware was a cover up, not a clean-up”. Macra na Feirme president Kieran O’Dowd closed the night by saying: “The debate has definitely identified a number of key issues that must be addressed by the Government in an approach to dealing with the harmful effects of alcohol use and abuse. “Taking the positives from the night, it shows the need and willingness of all stakeholders to collectively address the complex issues of alcohol abuse among young people,” he said.

Rural Youth welcomes 4RAFlC!CT The Road Traffic Act 2014 was signed into law on 25 February. In the last 12 months, Macra has extensively lobbied the Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar and his officials over the new category of novice driver. Macra welcomes the decision of the Transport Committee to increase the number of penalty points to equal or exceed seven points before a novice/ learner driver is taken off the road for a period of six months. Minister Varadkar originally proposed six points. Macra think it’s a very sensible approach in that it’s not two strikes or penalty offences and you’re off the road. We believe it’s primarily about educating young drivers, not punishing them. For the purposes of this act, a person who is the holder of his/her first driving licence is a novice driver for the period of two years from the date the licence is issued and must display rectangular plates bearing the letter N, not less than 15 centimetres high in red on a white back ground, in clearly visible vertical positions to the front and rear of the vehicle. Some of the other new penalty points introduced in the bill are outlined below in Table 1.

Table 1: Breakdown of the new penalty points $ESCRIPTIONOFOFFENCE

















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Festivals & Events

Limerick Macra Easter Ball


unday 20 April saw the annual Limerick Macra Easter Ball get underway at the fourstar Castletroy Park Hotel. With 340 attendees, it was bigger and better than ever. After the meal, the floor came to life with the fantastic and energetic band Deuces Wild. The entertainment did not stop there with a DJ performing into the early hours.

Limerick Macra Easter Ball organisers with national president Kieran O'Dowd and his wife Caroline.

Northwest Macra King and Queen 2014


orthwest Macra Queen 2014 Aoife Fallon completed a hat-trick for Leitrim Macra at the Northwest Macra’s Kings and Queens event. Cavan King Eamon Sheridan (Ramor

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Macra) became the Northwest Macra King 2014. Aoife and Eamon were joined by Kings and Queens from each of the nine counties of the northwest region at the Sligo Park Hotel on 25 January.

The event organising committee with the newly crowned Northwest King and Queen and judge, Marian Harkin, MEP.

Macra gets social! M Perso r nality

Kate Manning, awarded the title of best dressed lady on the night, and Nicole Timmons enjoying Limerick's Easter ball.

Janet McKenna, Lorraine Collins, Liz Mason and Ciara Ryan at the Easter Ball in Limerick.

The annual Mr Personality festival took place at the Springhill Hotel in Kilkenny, on Friday and Saturday 11 and 12 April. Tipperary contestant, Michael O’Dwyer, claimed this year’s title. John Michael Fitzgerald (Kerry) and Damien Wyrnne (Leitrim) followed, placed second and third, respectively.

Addergoole Macra members Pat Keane and Deirdre McMorrow were crowned Mr and Mrs Culchie 2014 on 1 March.

Whitechurch ladies Kate Mooring, Bernie O’Mahony, Ciara Lynch and Sarah Ross at Carrigaline’s New Year’s Eve dinner dance.

Northwest Kings and Queens organising committee enjoy the night.

Ballymurphy Macra na Feirme members looking fabulous before the Kilkenny Macra black-tie ball.

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"ESTINTHElELD Participation in Macra na Feirme’s competitions gives members the opportunity to develop the skills and self-confidence they need to reach their personal targets in life. Competitions are also about enjoyment and having fun with fellow competitors. Here’s a rundown of some of our most recent winners: Freemount Macra, Avondhu, won the FBD Capers competition. The team included Miriam Angland, Lisa Lucey, Louise Bourke, Ann Fitzgerald, Thomas Murphy, Aileen Fehin, Michael Buckley, Eimear Guiney, Sinead Guiney, Marie Murphy, Mary Ann Murphy, Brendan Buckley, Nicholas O’Donoghue, Moses Roche and Daniel Roche. Carrigaline, Seandun, represented by Trisha Delahunty, Vanessa Kellett and Eilish Ahern won the national public speaking competition. The winner of the impromptu public speaking competition was Niamh Mooney, Kilmacthomas, Co Waterford. Thirty-eight teams went for the title of National Dairy Council (NDC) indoor soccer champions with Callan Macra, Kilkenny, winning the men’s competition. The team members included Colm Lyons, PJ O’Keeffe, Ollie Kirwan, Kevin Croke, James Power and Eoin Lyons. Estuary Macra, Limerick, won the women’s final of the NDC indoor soccer competition. The team members were Laura Lavery, Danielle Considine, Kathleen Costelloe, Ashling Brouder, Katie Fitzgerald, Deborah Dalton and


Sarah Buckley. James Casey, representing South Sligo, won the welding competition, sponsored by Griffin Engineering & Welding Supplies. The Question Time Quiz, sponsored by Kerrygold, saw Mountmellick Macra, Laois, take the top title. The team members were Gemma Goulding, Sharon Fitzpatrick, Shane Fitzpatrick and Norman Thompson. Terelton Macra won the NDC volleyball All-Ireland final. The team members were Annette Millard, Helena Walsh, Caroline O’Sullivan, Christina Crowley, James Walsh, James Crowley, Tim Crowley and Sean O’Leary. The drama final took place in St Mary’s Theatre, Rossmore, with Whitechurch Macra from Seandun winning with their performance of ‘The Proposal’ by Anton Chekov. The cast included John O’Sullivan, Donal O’Sullivan and Catriona O’Connor. At the NDC basketball final, Terelton Macra, Muskerry, won the men’s competition. The team members were James Walsh, Patrick Crowley, James Crowley, Tim Crowley, Brendan O’Mahoney, Jason Jordan, James Crowley and Sean O’Leary. South Sligo Macra won the women’s NDC basketball competition. Team members included Monica BeirneHenry, Caithlin Stenson, Tracey Maye, Shóna Henry, Aine Stenson, Helen Nyland, Caroline O’Dowd, Niamh Kelly and Laura McIntyre.

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3 For more details on Macra competitions, see http://








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Summer fun

Author Lorna Sixsmith to judge Blue Jean Country Queen Festival Blue Jean Country Queens 2013 were Orla Murphy (Ardrahan Macra, Galway), third place; Canelle Beuze (Autonne Village Twinning Association, France), winner; and Sinead Duffy (South Longford Macra), second place.


ould you Marry a Farmer? author and blogger Lorna Sixsmith will be one of the judges at this year’s Blue Jean Country Queen Festival. In the run up to the festival, Lorna is keen to learn if any couples out there met at the event, which is now celebrating its 27th year. Macra is renowned for its success in forming long-lasting relationships and Lorna has no doubt that some of these were kindled at Meath Macra’s Blue Jean Country Queen Festival. If you have a story to tell, please visit the festival’s Facebook page and make yourself known! With the festival fast approaching, preparations for the event are in full swing with plans for what is sure to be another great festival. Almost 30 girls are

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expected to take part, with last year’s winner Canelle Bueze from France returning to hand over her crown. Some of the highlights of this year’s festival include County Colours Night on the Saturday. Chairperson Celine Smyth said: ‘‘We want everyone to don their county colours, but be imaginative. Anyone can put on a jersey. We want you all to think outside the box, bling it up and be expressive.’’

Interview The festival kicks off on Friday 30 May, where supporters get a chance to see their queen interviewed on stage. A full day of activities on Saturday 31 May will include a street craft fair, a street carnival and, that night, Joe Furey and the Hayride provide entertainment in the

main festival marquee. The theme for 1 June is Superhero Sunday and children are encouraged to join in the fun at the Lark in the Park dressed as their favourite superhero. This is always a wonderful event and the queens get to test their football skills at the popular Fancydress Football event. The afternoon also sees the girls model their jeans and other styles and the day continues with music and fun for all ages. A highlight of the festival is the banquet which takes place on Sunday night in the Darnley Lodge Hotel and then, at midnight, the Blue Jean Country Queen 2014 will be crowned. For further information, visit the website or contact 087 2154729 for ticket sales and enquiries (a Macra discount is available on pre-booked weekend tickets).

International Miss Macra Festival takes on a new look Following the 42nd Miss Macra in 2013, this year’s festival is taking on a new look. Running over the August bank holiday weekend between the parish of Clonoulty/Rossmore and Dundrum House Hotel, Clonoulty/Rossmore Macra is proud to announce an even bigger, more vibrant festival. Contestants will meet on Friday morning and partake in fun trips and activities, such as a tour of Coolmore Stud, as well as zumba, before returning to Dundrum House for entertainment. The organisers are delighted to announce that the theme will be a farmer-style disco, with music. On Saturday, Clonoulty/Rossmore Macra club teams up with South Tipperary Macra for another day of fun, with its annual raft race and barbecue. The on-stage interviews will take place on the Saturday night, with the girls revealing their deep, dark secrets and displaying their many talents followed by music from No Recession and DJ. Sunday is the annual sports day, with a blast-from-the-past Macra field day vibe. A gala banquet will take place that night, with five heavenly courses and a night of dancing to Memphis who will knock your socks off, followed by a DJ and the crowning of the 2014 International Miss Macra. Get your accommodation booked, ring about the tickets and be part of the change. Contact Donnacha Ryan on 085-7771859, Simone Loughman on 087-6802092 or Ann Marie Lyng on 087-1339602. Don’t delay!

Gemma Goulding was crowned International Miss Macra 2013.

IN BRIEF Know Your Neighbour Read about our Know Your Neighbour Weekend on 12 and 13 July on page 9.

Fundraising night Following last year’s success, Macra will hold another fundraising Night at the Dogs on 29 November in Limerick, Galway, Cork, Waterford and Mullingar greyhound stadiums.

Kinsale gameshow Kinsale Macra na Feirme is hosting its annual Macra Club Fortunes competition, on Friday 4 July, at the Trident Hotel, Kinsale, Co Cork. Using the format of the Family Fortunes TV game show, contest-

ants from eight clubs will battle it out to be crowned the winner, by trying to guess the most popular answers to questions that were put to 100 Macra members. Visit the Kinsale Macra Facebook page or call Jonathan Quinn on 086-3406014.

IDB dairy stockjudging The Irish Dairy Board dairy stockjudging senior and under-23 competition will take place at the IHFA open day in Newtowngore, Co Leitrim, on Wednesday 9 July. Host farmers are John and Graeme Taylor who have been farming in a milk production partnership since January 2011 and manage the Cloonboygher Herd. For further information, contact Terry Cooke in



FBD Farmskills 4HEÚNALOFTHE&"$&ARMSKILLSCOMPETItion will take place at the Tullamore Show ON!UGUST2EGIONALSEMI ÚNALSWILL take place at three summer shows: Cork Show, Sunday 15 June; Clonmel Show, Sunday 6 July; Riverstown Show, Sligo, on 19 July.

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m Macra in focus

Donoughmore Macra na Feirme held a 60th anniversary dinner dance in the Oriel House Hotel on 1 March.

CRA  lELD-A URKE %N on a place in " M A D D! N hw #OLINAN one Star, whic MACOMPETITIO L RA D E rm o TH rf F e p ALO ONALlN THENATI

Ardcath Macra’s clu b day out to Country Crest.

Thanks to Macra na t Feirme for sending ou nd ala Ze w Ne to ts hir T-s to Longford Macra r club members on tou – Emmet, Diarmaid n and Gerard – who wo the competition at the Ploughing.

At Navan Macra’s Take Me Out event are Conor Mooney (MC), Claire O’Brien, Cassie McGuinness, Ruth McCarthy, Orlaith Duff, Christine Meade, Gillian Browne, Laura Collins, Hannah Doherty and Tara Heaney.

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