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Crossmaglen teen Piaras talks cattle and singing in RTE farming show

'I feel a connection with those songs and I'm proud to be from this area'

A young South Armagh beef farmer, who is also a well-known traditional Irish singer, is featuring in a new RTÉ farming series.

Piaras Ó Lorcáin, who is 19, lives about a mile from Crossmaglen, on land his family has farmed for 400 years.

The teenager is featured in Irish language programme Saol na Feirme (The Farming Life). The first episode aired on Monday and will run for six weeks on RTÉ One, starting at 8pm.

The series provides a snapshot into the lives of 11 very different Irish farming families across four seasons giving an insight into modern Irish rural life in counties Antrim, Armagh, Donegal, Galway, Mayo, Meath, Waterford and Kerry.

Farms featured include arable, hill and lowland sheep flocks, dairy, beef and vegetable enterprises. Some farmers are high-tech and cutting edge while others, like Piaras’ family, use more traditional methods.

Piaras, along with brother Shay, helps his dad run the suckler farm of around 150 cattle, consisting mainly of Charolais and some Limousins.

He is also a student at the University of Ulster where he is studying for a degree in Renewable Energy, and is hoping to be able to use some of what he is learning on the farm in the future.

However, he jokes on episode one that he is better known as a singer than a farmer.

Piaras and brother Shay

He sings sean-nós songs and songs from the locality and is filmed learning lines of a song for a competition as he goes about his work on the farm.

“I feel a connection with those songs and I’m proud to be from this area,” he said. “It’s our duty to keep those songs alive and keep them in the living repertoire.”

Irish speaker Piaras, who was approached by RTÉ to take part in the show, is a former pupil of the Irish medium primary school in Crossmaglen, Gaelscoil Phádraig Naofa, and St Colman’s College in Newry.

“My mum and dad, Maureen and Peter, really pushed for us to learn Irish. It’s very useful to have it, especially with the music and that. It opens a lot of opportunities, for gigs and speaking to people. It’s a cool thing to be able to have as well,” he said.

Piaras has been involved in music for around 15 years and also plays the guitar and bouzouki.

Although he is keeping his career options open for the future, he hopes to continue in some sort or farming.

As well as Co Armagh, episode one also visits the Waterford coast where brother and sister Jamie and Mairead Costin each farm in their own distinct ways. Mairéad runs a vegetable enterprise while Jamie is a progressive dairy farmer.

Viewers also join Seánie Ó Baoill and his sheep flock in the hills of Donegal.

Episode two takes viewers to Mayo where Niamh Seoighe is raising sheep and Connemara ponies. Meanwhile, Briain Ó Doibhlin farms on the shores of Lough Neagh while Blatnaid Gallagher is in Galway spreading her passion for the Galway sheep and its wool.

In episode three, Briain Ó Doibhlin is having a challenging first cut of silage in County Antrim – the sun is shining but where there is machinery, there is always the risk of breakdowns. In Donegal, Seánie Ó Baoill is treating his sheep ahead of their return to the mountain – it’s a time of year that he loves.

And in Kerry, Rónán Ó Siochrú is a progressive young farmer; this episode sees him putting plans in place for future cows to join his herd.

Saol na Feirme is a Strident Media production for RTÉ, made with the support of the Irish Language Broadcast Fund.



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