I’m 10 and in fourth class in Kilanerin National School, Co Wexford. We live in Pallas, about 15 minutes outside Gorey. Our GAA club is Kilanerin. I play hurling and football.

My uncle Jimmy has a beef, sheep and tillage farm. My daddy Tommy has sheep as well.

I go down to Jimmys to help out most Saturdays and sometimes after school when there’d be stuff to do. I’m able to cycle down. We live only a minute up the road. I know all about farm safety by now, what not to do and when to look around.

At the start of the month, we were cutting silage down at Jimmys. I was up on the pit covering it. There were two tractors going, bringing the tires to cover the pit.

I have to have my homework done to come down to the farm, but I was able to get all my homework done during my free time in school that day, because I knew there was silage going on.

In my class, there’s only 10 of us. One other girl, her daddy’s a dairy farmer. There’s a lad in the class below us, but in the same room, his daddy is a dairy farmer as well. We’ve a teacher who’s a farmer and I spent more than half a lesson talking about farming with her once.

I’ve two brothers and one sister. Ailbhe is seven, Con is five (turning six in June) and Odran is two.

Farm work

I was always interested in farming. I remember playing football with my auntie when I was younger and she’d ask, “what are you thinking about?” And I’d say “tractors.” I like New Hollands and Fords.

My favourite job is doing sheep work, stuff like putting them through the footbath. They’re easy to catch, same with the lambs. This time of year, we’d be getting the shearer in and weaning them as well.

I like all the jobs around the farm, really. I like being up in the tractor with my uncle when we’re spreading fertiliser. I like the harvest as well. Jimmy has one field of oats and two fields of barley.

I actually like picking stones. So do Ailbhe, Con and my cousin Ronán.

I helped my daddy out a lot with the lambing this year. Beforehand, we divided the ewes up into pens of singles, doubles and triplets. We had six ewes with triplets this year.

When a ewe is going to lamb, they kind of dig down into the straw. They put a bag out the back of them and they’d be getting noisy as well.

I can pull a lamb. How hard it is depends on how big the lamb is. You’ve to reach in and feel for the head, the legs and then pull it out by the legs.

Donnacha Boland pulling a lamb earlier this year.

Donnacha Boland pulling a lamb earlier this year.

Other experiences

My mammy is from Springmount/Broadford in Co Clare. She played camogie for Clare and won an All-Ireland with them in 2008.

We go down there to visit a lot. My grandad in Clare is a butcher. He has a slaughterhouse. I help my granny with the bagging. She puts the meat in the bag and I seal it with tape.

I went to New Zealand in 2013 and 2018. My daddy works in UCD (University College Dublin) in Lyons Farm and had to go to New Zealand for work. We went for some of the time as well. I remember the second visit. We went to some farms over there. The farms there are all bigger than here.

I also went to the Agrodome in Rotorua. It’s a proper farm, but also a tourist attraction. I went up on stage and fed a lamb with a bottle. Ailbhe did as well. The lamb came straight over for the bottle.

When I’m older, I’d like to go and work in UCD like my daddy in Lyons Farm. I’ve been up there a good few times. There are so many sheds. There are sheep sheds and goat sheds. The goats kept pushing at me when I was feeding them. They nearly knocked the bucket out of my hand. They have dairy cows too, with a big, round milking parlour.

Read more

IFJ Junior: ‘Every weekend and any day I’m off school, I’d be over on the farm’

Finding your love of farming during lockdown