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Hanging on for deer life, but ready for Irish tastes to change

Lindy O’Hara is one of the few deer farmers left in Ireland – down from 600 in 1996 — but she is predicting an eco-driven venison revival.

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Lindy on a quad

Lindy on a quad

Lindy on a quad

The mad cow crisis of the 1990s turned Sligo farmer Lindy O’Hara away from a future in cattle and towards deer. Twenty-five years on, she is one of about a dozen farmers still producing venison in Ireland.

On a trip to Dublin, Lindy and her husband Brian stopped at Cobert’s Pub just off the N4, and noticed a deer farm across the road operated by a German farmer. With the beef industry in crisis, the couple became fascinated with the idea of farming deer, and after a number of journeys decided to transform their farm at Coopershill into a deer farm.

“It was during the BSE crisis and we thought that we would take a chance with deer instead of cattle,” says Lindy.