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Saturday 24 February 2018

How these 'grass women' broke a silage cutting record

Garda Margaret Clifford from Nenagh was one of the forty women who turned out for the silage cutting event in Mount Mellary. Photo;Mary Browne
Garda Margaret Clifford from Nenagh was one of the forty women who turned out for the silage cutting event in Mount Mellary. Photo;Mary Browne

Claire Fox

A nun, garda and doctor cutting silage are rare sights to behold on any farm but it was all hands at the deck as an all-female team set out to break records for charity at the Grass Women event in Mount Melleray, Co Waterford, over the weekend.

Sister Lily Scullion, who runs the farm at Glencairn Abbey, was amongst the 40 women who got behind the wheels of harvesters and tractors to cut silage in aid of the Alzheimer Society of Ireland.

Not only was it the nun’s first time to cut silage, she did so wearing her habit. Sister Lily likened the atmosphere that saw a 3,500-strong crowd gather at Saturday’s event to the jovial occasion where thousands of people lined the streets for Pope John Paul II’s visit in 1979.

“The only thing I can compare it to is when Pope John Paul II came to Galway and people lined the roadways behind the cordons. It was great to see the capabilities of women and so many families in attendance,” she said. Margaret Comerford, a garda from Nenagh, Co Tipperary, said she has been charged with many tasks but it was her first time ever to draw in silage.

“I help out at my family farm at home and draw in bales but I’d never drew in silage before. I was up for the challenge,” she said.

The women received plaques for setting a Guinness World Record for silage cutting by an all female crew.

Organiser and local farmer John O’Brien described the event as very successful.

“We’ve brought women to the forefront and opened a new tradition. Women are equal when it comes to men in farming. They were all winners on the day and we were blessed with the weather,” said the drystock farmer.

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Also present on the day were the ‘Socket Rocket’ team of women mechanics who rebuilt a vintage Ferguson tractor in under nine minutes.

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