Mary Kenny... back to the land
Come harvest time, farming seems a great way of life
At this harvest time of the year, I often long to visit an Irish farm just to experience the feeling of the land. Farming is an important element in Irish life and I think it's something we should know about. And so my friend Martin Condon took me to his cousin's farm in the rolling countryside between Bandon and Clonakilty - land which has been in his family for many generations.
Farms are family endeavours - or, they're at their best when the family co-operates together. "A farmer needs to be married," says Christy Condon, who, with his pretty wife Helen, run this almost idyllic farm of about 150 acres. There have been bachelor farmers, but it's a struggle, and it's no coincidence that stories about bachelor farmers have focused on loneliness. Helen and Christy have six children, from aged 27 to 15, all, except for the eldest, Grace (presently in Sydney, Australia) involved in the farm, and highly knowledgeable about farming technology. Their younger son, Emmet, spends his hobby time tinkering with the combine harvester. Their elder son, Michael, is off to agricultural college and keen to succeed his father, eventually.
Their three lively daughters, Katherine, Claire and Clionadh, know all there is to be known about working on a silage pit - and how perilous the methane gas can be. Agriculture can be a dangerous business, nowadays, and there are constant reports of tragic accidents occurring with farming machinery. Falling into a silage pit is one of the worst hazards of all.