'I loved farming but to be honest, I don’t miss it' - Former farmer on why he gave up dairying
Former dairy farmer and agricultural contractor Ned Maher, was hooked on the idea of setting up an angling centre on his family farm close to the Kilkenny/ Waterford border from the moment he visited a similar enterprise in Mullingar over 20 years ago.
And when Kilkenny LEADER Partnership reviewed his comprehensive business plan and saw for themselves how passionate he was about what he was setting out to do at Ardaire Springs in Mooncoin, they too went for it – hook, line and sinker.
Today, angling enthusiasts, school groups, corporate and leisure travellers from as far afield as Cork, Dublin, Belfast and elsewhere are revelling in the 2.5-acre lake attraction which is brimming with rainbow and brown trout, ranging from 2lbs to a whopping 20lbs in weight.
Ardaire Springs’ convenient location, just 6 miles from Waterford and close to Carrick-on-Suir and Kilkenny city, makes it a particularly good location for all to reach.
Ned hopes a two week-long festival which runs from July 2 and includes water sports, walks and abseiling as well as equestrian events, archery and more will spur even more business and generate even further jobs and income in rural Kilkenny and the surrounding hinterland.
"I gave up the dairying 12 years ago. I was also doing a bit of contracting.
"I’d seen the place in Mullingar and it was still very much in my mind to set up something like it here. It really stuck in my head for some reason.
"I’ve up to 60 people a week coming now and we’re extending our tackle shop.