How these farmers turned their grass-based farms into tourist attractions
While watching a field of cows graze or sitting down for a simple chat and a scone are everyday activities for many of us in Ireland, tourists from all corners of the globe are flocking to West Cork to do just that.
West Cork Farm Tours are a group of five farmers -three dairy, one suckler and one pig - who have opened up their unique farms to tourist groups looking to get close to nature along the Wild Atlantic Way.
Denis and Colette O'Donovan regularly welcome tourists to their 70 hectare dairy farm in Glandore, Co Cork. Denis said the idea for the farm tours was a joint concept that evolved between the farmers and the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery.
"We're 12 months in gestation. We had all done well in The Southern Star and Celtic Ross West Cork Farming Awards and decided to start welcoming tourists on to our farms as we felt we had a unique story to tell.
"Tourists can then stay in the Celtic Ross, so it's a win-win for ourselves and the hotel as it's a joint package. Neil Grant, general manager at the Celtic Ross has been very supportive to us in the process," says Denis who has a dairy herd of 150.
The "unique story" that Denis and his fellow host farmers have is that they are all grass-based, which visitors from abroad often find fascinating, he says.
"Our one common denominator is that we're all grass based farmers and we're very passionate about what we do and we'll tell our story to anybody who'll listen."
He adds that while they haven't had any Irish tourists visit their farms yet, plenty have travelled from abroad to trek through their land either by foot or by trailer.