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How this Sligo family added value to their farm with tourism and eggs

In the late 1970s, with milk prices falling, the Hennigans opened up their farmhouse in the foothills of Benbulben as a B&B, then turned old sheds into self-catering units. 44 years on, the business is still going strong, and they have added a 10,000-hen free-range egg operation as well as 400 sheep and Christmas turkeys

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Branching out: Michael Hennigan with some of his family's 10,000 free-range hens on the farm at the foot of Benbulben, Co Sligo. Photos: Denise Sweeney

Branching out: Michael Hennigan with some of his family's 10,000 free-range hens on the farm at the foot of Benbulben, Co Sligo. Photos: Denise Sweeney

The farmhouse was turned into a B&B in the late 1970s

The farmhouse was turned into a B&B in the late 1970s

Turkeys in the shed

Turkeys in the shed

Michael with his flock of sheep

Michael with his flock of sheep

Michael and his brother-in-law Richard packing eggs

Michael and his brother-in-law Richard packing eggs

Michael packing eggs

Michael packing eggs

Michael packing eggs

Michael packing eggs

The new henhouse, with Benbulben in the background

The new henhouse, with Benbulben in the background

Much of the process is automated

Much of the process is automated

Ann Hennigan and her daughter Marita

Ann Hennigan and her daughter Marita

Richard filling a box

Richard filling a box

The hens out in the open

The hens out in the open

The final product

The final product

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Branching out: Michael Hennigan with some of his family's 10,000 free-range hens on the farm at the foot of Benbulben, Co Sligo. Photos: Denise Sweeney

Over the last 44 years, the Hennigan family have diversified their Sligo farm in more ways than one: Benbulben Farm is home to a large flock of sheep and up to 10,000 laying hens, while the farmhouse is run as a B&B.

In my father Jimmy’s time it was a mixed farm like most,” says Michael, who now runs the farm with his brother-in-law Richard.


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