I live in Draperstown. It’s on the border of Derry and Tyrone. We moved here over a year ago. I’m originally from Granemore in Armagh and Aidan – my partner – is from Greencastle, which is in Tyrone. But his farm is here in Draperstown, that’s why we decided to move here, to be closer to the farm. We’ve sheep and beef cattle.
This was Aidan’s granny’s house, so she lived here and then his uncle lived here. His uncle passed away in 2019. Aidan and his uncle would have farmed together. So Aidan missed that obviously, not having him there, so it just made sense for us to move up here.
I teach in Armagh and Aidan works in Belfast mostly, so he used to travel from Belfast to Draperstown and then even sometimes down to Armagh to see me. It was a lot travelling to him. So we decided we’d do the house up, the two of us would move here and then we’d be closer to the farm. It worked out well.
We moved up here in March 2020, so just when lockdown started. School had closed, so we were doing learning from home. We weren’t actually meant to move up here until the summer of 2020. But then because of lockdown we thought we might as well move up and get things done to the house.
I started to document the home renovation on Instagram, on @life.at.bancran.road. It started off as a home renovation account. After about a year maybe we were coming into lambing, so I started to show more of that side of things.
It just went from there. I was putting up more farming stuff, rather than home renovation stuff, because we had finished with the home renovation. I’ve stuck with the farming since.
My daddy’s a beef farmer, him and my brother farm together. I wouldn’t really be involved in that farm. They can’t believe really that I’m farming here in Draperstown. I wasn’t really that interested in farming growing up.
I might have went through phases of wanting to do a bit of farming, but then none of my friends would have farmed. It wasn’t really the thing to do. I was probably the only one out of my friends in primary school, maybe even secondary school, that would have grown up on a farm. It’s not like I had someone there who understood living on a farm.
It wasn’t until I met Aidan – obviously he’s a farmer – that I kind of got into it.
I never really thought I’d be involved in farming as I got older. I come from a farming background and wasn’t that fussed with it, and now here I am. But no, I really enjoy it.
Some people do think Aidan is a full-time farmer or even I’m a full-time farmer, but no, we’re both part-time farmers. So we both leave here around half six or seven every morning and don’t be back until seven in the evening. So it’s really just farming in the evenings whenever we can and then at the weekends.
We both play sport as well. He plays football, I play camogie. So whenever we’ve that on in the evening we’ve to do each other’s jobs. It’s very busy, sometimes we’re not in until nine or 10 at night and then up again the next morning.
It takes me just roughly about an hour every day to get to Armagh and then maybe in the evenings a wee bit longer, just because of traffic. So it’s not too bad of a drive.
I play camogie with St Mary’s Granemore. I just train there a couple of nights a week. If I’m working in Armagh then I just go home to my mummy’s, stay there and then go to training. Sometimes I would stay there that night. It just saves me driving an extra hour. I just stay over and then go to work the next morning.
The farm, especially during lockdown, I was glad I had that. People that don’t live in the countryside or live on farms, I don’t know how I would have coped just staying in a house all day. I’m definitely glad I had that to go out to – just to clear my head. I think it’s good for your mental health, just to get out there and work with animals
My advice to young couples farming together would be make sure to be patient with your other half. Definitely it can test your relationship, moving sheep and cattle. Just make sure that you don’t take everything to heart.
Remember that you’re there to look after the animals and make sure everything goes well.
I suppose it’s just another way to spend time with your other half. It’s a good thing to have. I think just enjoy it and if the two of yous have a love for it, then keep going. CL