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Thursday 27 July 2017

Hardy crew aims to cut 100 bales in 32 counties in six days

The group of Cavan and Monaghan farmers embark on their '32 County Bale Challenge' on May 29 and aim to cut 100 bales in every county over six days. They will cover an estimated 1,220km during the fundraiser which aims to raise €1,000 in each county for Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children
The group of Cavan and Monaghan farmers embark on their '32 County Bale Challenge' on May 29 and aim to cut 100 bales in every county over six days. They will cover an estimated 1,220km during the fundraiser which aims to raise €1,000 in each county for Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children
Claire Mc Cormack

Claire Mc Cormack

A convoy of Cavan and Monaghan farmers will cover 1,220km of road as part of the first ever 'All-Ireland Baling Challenge'.

Over a six-day period between May 29-June 3, the crew will travel across the country to make 100 bales in each of the 32 counties.

The farmers are aiming to raise €10 per bale to reach their goal of €1,000 per county with all proceeds going to Ronald McDonald House Charity at Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin, Dublin and Daisy Lodge, a therapeutic centre for families affected by cancer, located in Newcastle, Co Down.

The team of drivers, including two female farmers, will use the same four tractors with a combination baler unit to complete the task.

Members of Farm Contractors Ireland are liaising with local farmers in each county along the route.

The machines for the challenge were sourced by the Active Agri Association and agri-entertainment producers Grassmen will also be on hand to film the entire experience.

Organiser, and driver, Floyd McNeil says it will be a "unique" journey.

"It's something that has never been done before. The idea is to do every county with the same four balers around the whole of Ireland.


"It will be a challenge and that is important because it will raise more awareness for the two charities. A challenge isn't a challenge unless it's tough," he said.

"Roughly speaking we intend to be an hour baling in each field and we anticipate about an hour travel between each county so we're talking 12 hour days," he said.

On day one the outfit will bale in Derry, Antrim, Down, Armagh, Monaghan and Cavan. On day two they will pull into Louth, Meath, Dublin, Wicklow, Kildare, Laois and Carlow. On day three they will arrive in Wexford, Kilkenny, Waterford, Tipperary and Limerick. On day four they will start in Cork, then head to Kerry where afterwards they will get the ferry from Tarbert across to Killimer to bale in Co Clare before finishing the day in the fields of Galway. On day five they will roll into Offaly, Westmeath, Longford, Roscommon and Mayo. On the final day they will bale in Sligo, Leitrim, Fermanagh, Tyrone and finally in Donegal.

Donation buckets will also be available in each field along the way.

The full troop, with 18 individuals including extra drivers and camera crew, are asking the public to get behind their mission as they are still in need of accommodation in Ballymena, Co Antrim, Carlow, Galway and Tubbercurry, Sligo.

"We'll keep going until we get it done, hopefully the weather will keep with us. We are very grateful to all our sponsors and we hope people keep an eye out for us. We're just getting a job done that needs to be done for charity," said Floyd. Find out more at the '32 County Bale Challenge' Facebook page.

* Schoolchildren from Scarriff, Co Clare have written to Pope Francis asking him to visit Holy Island on Lough Derg when he arrives in Ireland next year.

And after spending time on the island at this year’s ‘Tommy Giblin Memorial Flyfishing Competition’, I’d advise the Holy See to RSVP with glee.

Home to a famous monastic site, its extraordinary structures include a well-preserved round tower, ruins of six churches, a holy well, and graveyard with slabs dating from the eight century. But, for me, what makes the lush isle most attractive is the rich farming community that surrounds its shores. Perhaps, the best way the Pontiff could experience their warmth is by coinciding his visit with the annual fishing event.

Last Saturday, top-class Irish and European  anglers arrived to fly lines, sample local cuisine and enjoy traditional entertainment at the Derg Isle Team Building Centre run by Padraig Giblin, son of Tommy — a leading campaigner in the rehabilitation of Lough Derg. Fine Gael MEP and former president of the GAA Sean Kelly and comedian Frank Forde were also in attendance. All proceeds raised go to future repair works on rivers and streams feeding into the lake.


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