As women continue to make their mark on the land, and show how rewarding a life in the countryside can be, we take a look at some of the female entrepreneurs and farmers who are inspiring the next generation with their ingenuity, talent and love for what they do.

From showcasing farming to the masses via social media to supporting and promoting local producers, these are the women taking agricultural matters into their own hands.

Karen Moynihan, farmer, Co Kerry

Karen Moynihan from Co Kerry.

Growing up as one of four daughters, Karen’s initial interest in farming had all but disappeared once she was in her teens and early twenties. However, following an accident that left her father paralysed, her life changed quite dramatically.

She began working part-time on the family’s Co Kerry suckler farm in 2018 and, despite not having any agricultural qualifications, she learned everything from her dad and now does all the day-to-day work on the farm, including feeding, fencing, dosing, dehorning and castration.

She is passionate about showing how fulfilling farm life can be and that women can work the land just as well as men. With almost 130,000 followers on TikTok and Instagram, her wholesome farm-related content has garnered a legion of loyal fans who love to watch her interactions with the cows and her beloved Massey Ferguson 135.

TikTok @k_moy or Instagram @karenmoynihanfarm

Nicola Lyons and Elaine Crosse, Bánór, Co Tipperary

With their combined expertise in farming, business, pharmaceuticals and the dairy food industry, Nicola and Elaine’s decision to start a skincare brand focusing on traceability, quality and sustainability was always going to be a good one.

Both hailing from farming backgrounds in Tipperary, the best friends share a deep appreciation for the land and realised that the key to their success was under their feet. Elaine’s brothers are sheep farmers and, as the women already knew that sheep milk is considered a ‘super milk’ because of its unique anti-ageing properties and anti-oxidants, they made that the foundation of their business Bánór.

Using only natural ingredients in all their formulations, the women have achieved their goal of making ‘simple food for the skin using our own white gold’. Many will also know Elaine from her years working in the industry, at Bord Bia, Danone and Airfield Estate.

Olivia Morrissey, Rostellan Farm, Co Cork

Olivia Morrissey pictured with her husband Joe.

Diversification has been a successful business model for many farmers. And that’s exactly what Olivia Morrissey and her husband Joe did when they decided to convert a 200-year-old calf shed on their farm into a shop selling tasty treats and fresh milk, as well as hot and cold sandwiches.

While Joe inherited the farm, Olivia was the driving force behind the farm shop, doing several business

development courses with her Local Enterprise Office and with Crawford College of Art and Design. Since opening during COVID-19, Rostellan Farm Shop has gone from strength to strength and even has its own flavoured milk range, including banana, chocolate, strawberry and vanilla flavours.

Ciara Stanley, Coppenagh House Farm Shop, Co Carlow

Ciara Stanley of Coppenagh House Farm Shop, Co Carlow.

If you want to truly understand the meaning of ‘farm to fork’, visit Coppenagh House Farm Shop on the outskirts of Tullow, Co Carlow. Working with a local butcher, less than a mile down the road, all the meat comes direct from the farm as does the golden honey which is produced in the farm’s beehives.

Ciara and her husband Robert also work with local producers to stock high-end cheese and ice cream at the shop, a massive hit with consumers. What began as a hobby has turned into a thriving business with Ciara winning Entrepreneur of the Year 2023 at Co Carlow’s Powerhouse Awards.

Lisa Gifford, Leitrim Hills Creamery, Co Leitrim

Lisa Gifford, Leitrim Hills Creamery.

There’s nothing quite like reading about a career change at 75 years young to make you believe that it’s truly never too late to do the thing you love. Lisa Gifford was exactly that age when she relocated to Ireland in 2016, fulfilling a lifelong dream to live in Co Leitrim, the hometown of her grandparents.

She quickly became a part of the community when she acquired some goats and began making cheese for her neighbours. Within five years, she was joined by her daughter Gypsy and daughter-in-law Richelle, built a cheese-making facility in an old hay barn and together they created Leitrim Hill Creamery. Known for her fresh artisan hard and soft goat’s cheese, Lisa also grows herbs and collects free-range eggs from her hens and can usually be found at the local farmers’ markets every weekend.

Katie Shanahan, farmer, Co Cork

Katie Shanahan has 170,000 followers on social media.

Katie Shanahan is part of a new wave of women in agriculture who are proving that life on the land is every bit as riveting as an episode of your favourite reality series. With over 170,000 followers on social media, which she started in lockdown, the 28-year-old shares everything from training her sheepdog puppy and tail-docking to ‘wet’ adoptions between newborn lambs and ewes.

She also presented Farming Now, a TV show dedicated to agriculture in the UK and Ireland, on country music and agri-focused channel Hot Country TV last year. As if all that wasn’t enough, Katie has a Green Cert from Clonakilty Agricultural College as well as a masters in marketing and management from UCC and runs her own Irish Dancing School in West Cork.

Instagram/TikTok @k8_eeee