Ag fab Roses stay true to their farming roots
Young women with strong agricultural roots make up a strong cohort of contestants in this year's Rose of Tralee festival.
One such woman is 24-year-old Galway Rose Orla McDaid from Craughwell.
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A few years ago, Orla inherited a farm when her uncle Brendan Hosty died. While she did not grow up on a farm, a career in veterinary nursing and interest in agriculture since her teens meant she was more than cut out for the task.
"It has been a huge learning curve for me. My uncle Paul Hosty is a huge help. At the moment, we have dry stock, but hope to expand more down the line."
Orla is currently completing a master's in Education at NUI Galway with an aim of being an Agricultural Science and Biology teacher. She says that promoting women in agriculture is a huge passion of hers.
"I always loved Ag science when I was in school. I had the best teacher. She was so powerful about farming and made it so much more attainable to women," adds Orla, who is the eldest of five children.
"I remember one day I did a GLAS training course and I was asked by some men who was I there on behalf of, and I said on behalf of myself!"
Meanwhile, Longford Rose Marie Brady, who works as a special needs assistant in a primary school in her native Killoe, enjoys helping out on her parents Joe and Rose's beef farm.
"I used to help out a lot more when I was younger, but if cattle need to be moved or if silage needs to be cut, I put on my wellies and give a hand," says the part-time montessori student. Passionate about GAA and volunteering, Marie wants to use her role as a Rose to give young people in rural Ireland a voice.
"I'm not a city girl. I'd like to be an advocate for young people in rural Ireland as we need a network of us to keep the community alive."
San Francisco Rose Brooklyn Quinn (19) moved over from Tramore, Co Waterford, to the US with her family in 2013 and they now rear hundreds of animals on a ranch.
She says the farm is a world away from traditional Irish farming as the family have to contend with droughts and different animal breeds.
"The cattle graze on 245 acres of grass. They roam around a lot, but sometimes there may not be any grass there as there are severe droughts," says the psychology and criminal justice student.
"We also have chickens, geese, goats and different varieties of sheep. At the moment, we are bottle feeding two lambs in our house called Gus and Travis."
The Rose of Tralee Festival runs from August 23-27.
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