I’m from Abbeydorney in north Kerry. We had a small farm growing up. My father worked for a lot of local farmers. He would have drawn silage and worked with agri-contractors up through the years. That’s where my love of machinery came from, tipping around and always being there with my father.
One of my earliest memories is when I was very young and a fella came to our house with a traxcavator. It’s like a loading shovel on tracks. I remember him doing the lawn and I was watching him out the window. That was way back in the early 80s.
Going back along when I was maybe nine or 10 years of age, we all knew the local contractors and you’d even know exactly who was driving for the local contractor. Looking back on it we probably pestered them. We cycled around the roads on our bicycles and we followed them in and out of farms. We would have gone for drives on the tractors with them.
I often remember going away to a farm and maybe when they finished, you’d say, ‘Sure we’ll go to the next farm with you.’ That was fine, we’d go away with them and there’d be no problem. Then you’d realise in the evening you’d be maybe nine or 10 miles from home with no bicycle. You’d have to make your own way home, but that was all a different time.
I was about 17 when I started drawing silage and working for contractors. There are times there when I’d be thinking, why didn’t I stay going to school? If I did, I’d have a job in a bank or something. Then you think, you know what, I’ve learned so much through machinery and I’ve met such brilliant people.
I would be very confident in saying I would have travelled possibly 75% of the roads in Kerry. I’ve been inside in probably 75% of the farms in Kerry through tractors and working with different contractors.
I stayed working for contractors until I was about 23 or 24. Then I went away working for a fairly big plant-hire contractor. I went driving trucks and driving for quarries after that. I’m gone back working for a contractor now again. It’s gone full circle. Like the man says, if you love what you do, you’ll never work. That’s it in a nutshell.
I love tractors and machinery. If a tractor is passing this minute, I’ll go out to look at it. I went to Australia on my honeymoon with my wife Mary – we’ve two children now, Morgan Jr and Méabh. Driving around Australia I stopped more times looking at sugar beet and sugarcane harvesters and big tractors ploughing fields.
I’ve made some fantastic friends through tractors, machinery, going to vintage rallies, shows and tractor runs. You’re meeting likeminded individuals. They’re very much willing to help you out if you have a problem with a tractor and give you the information you need to fix it or where to go for parts.
I love all machinery, but I still prefer the classic stuff. The pre-90s, even the pre-00s stuff. That’s because I remember driving it. A lot of the modern stuff is very technical and very computer orientated.
At the moment I have a Ford 6810. I also have a Leader Model D. It’s a very small tractor. They were built in America only for about three years or so. I’d love to find out is there another one in Ireland. Then I have a Belarus tractor. That’s in the shed.
The Ford and the Leader are in very good condition, but a lot of my tractors are projects. We spend a bit of time in the shed doing this and that and making phone calls.
I did a couple of radio shows, that was just before COVID. The show was called Country Life with Morgan O’Flaherty on West Limerick 102FM.
I have a YouTube channel as well called Morgan O’Flaherty Machinery of Ireland. COVID has affected every single one of us in different ways. It was completely and utterly out of boredom that I started putting up the videos. It was something to keep me sane.
There was a local contractor picking up silage. I used to work for him. I was out there and I can’t remember who I was talking to, but he said to me, ‘Make a video on your phone to send to me.’ What actually happened was the video was too long and I couldn’t send it to him. So he said, ‘Put it up on YouTube as a private video and I’ll be able to view it.’
I put it on YouTube, but I ended up putting it as a public video instead of a private video. I went in a week after to look at the video and there were a couple of comments and there were a good few views on it. I said to myself, this might be something and I just started videoing machinery and putting those videos up.
Next minute I was getting subscribers and there were people commenting saying, ‘Great video, would you do this and do that.’ It went from there really and it’s still growing. I don’t know where I’m going or where I’m going to end up with it, but it’s something I love doing.”