Meet the family who have opened their gates to the nation for Big Week on the FarmThe Shalveys have opened their gates to the RTÉ cameras - leading to musical milking and world record attempts at sausage making and tractor reversing
There are 10 cows still to calve on Patrick Shalvey's farm in Co Cavan and the dairy man is crossing his fingers and toes that one of them will have the good sense to bring a new Friesian into the world while RTÉ is filming the Big Week on the Farm programme next week.
The show's producers are hoping to feature a live calf birth during next week's series of one-hour live programmes from Patrick's 100-acre dairy farm in Cootehill, and they are praying that one of his 65 Friesians will oblige.
"I think we might get lucky but the film crew were down last week seeing if they could record a birth and nothing happened all day, and then three calves were born during the night just after they left the farm," Patrick tells the Farming Independent.
Ever since the picturesque Shalvey farm was selected by programme makers, Agtel, at the beginning of February, things have been turned upside down, what with sets being constructed, producers and reporters roaming the land for the best locations and drones flying overhead filming the wildlife and lake life.
"My Teagasc adviser, Donnie Kennedy, in Cavan, was asked by the producers for a suitable farm to film the show on and he sent my name in. Their researchers came down in January to see the place and in February, after I had just passed my herd test, we got the news that the show was going to be made in Cootehill," Patrick explains.
"It has been extraordinary ever since. There have been loads of people down to the farm and loads of callers and well-wishers. But some tasks have been put on the long finger. You can't smell up the yard with slurry when there are so many people around, but that's no bother because the family are having a great time."
The family - mother Geraldine, a teacher at the local national school; sons Enda, who is in his second year of agricultural studies at UCD, and Cillian, who is facing into his Leaving Cert; and daughter Aoife, who is in transition year - are enjoying the experience of their farm by the lakes being returned into a TV studio for the duration of Big Week.
"It's been a great family experience, and the kids, who are normally rebelling all the time, are having a great time joining in," Patrick says.