Raheenleigh farmers who are participating in the Blackstairs Farming Futures Project, funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine were supported by 25 volunteers to pick litter in the Blackstairs Mountains.

Farmers own the famous Blackstairs Mountains which is made up of 45 commonages or areas of land that are collectively owned by 450 farmers or shareholders. This is an area of outstanding beauty which is both a tourist attraction and active farming country.

Mary Jordan, chair of the Raheenleigh Commonage Group, said: “We wanted to remove litter from the area between Corabut Gap and the Nine Stones car park. This is a popular haunt for both locals and visitors, particularly during these Covid times. It is so disappointing to see litter scattered mindlessly spoiling the scenic views of our local tourist attraction.”

Farmer Pat Timmins added: “It is unbelievable the range of rubbish that is dumped on our commonage. There is even a car wreck that was pushed off the road and rolled down 100m into the commonage. The rubbish, apart from being an eyesore, creates a danger to us, hill walkers and our sheep that graze the mountain.”

Local effort

The Raheenleigh farmers were joined in the effort by members of the Tullow Hill Walkers club and some local volunteers.

“We as people who use the beautiful Blackstairs for walking are delighted to help out in making them a cleaner and better place. The natural and cultural heritage of the Blackstairs is being blighted by litter,” says John Byrne, a frequent organiser of walks on the mountain.

Mary Jordan expressed their gratitude to Carlow County Council who provided bags and litter picker units and of course those who participated in the collection of the rubbish.

James Lakes, environmental officer with Carlow County Council, who arranged for the removal of the 50 bags of rubbish that were collected, said that they were delighted to support the initiative.

About the Blackstairs Farming Futures Project

The project aims to get the farmers who own the commonages to work together to improve the quality of the environment on the Blackstairs Mountain and to engage with the broader community.

Martin Shannon, the project's implementation officer, said that he is delighted with the Raheenleigh shareholders initiative as it “shows their commitment to a sustainable future for the Blackstairs farmers and the broader Carlow and Wexford communities.”

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