I come from a dairy farm near Ferns, Co Wexford. I have my Level 7 degree in food science and business. I decided to stay on to do my Level 8 in food science and innovation at Waterford Institute of Technology.
I started out doing general science because I always wanted to go into food agri business. In first year, we got to see all the different sides of it and I liked the food science more.
We’re developing our own product as a final-year project. We’re in the labs three days a week developing the product, testing the fat, protein, sugars and shelf life.
It’s an insight into what I could do afterwards. It’s great because you’re not just in a classroom hearing about it, you’re actually doing it yourself.
In college, I did my placement in O’Neill’s Dry Cure Bacon and that for me backed up the reason for me choosing food science, I’m still with them and I absolutely love it there.
After this year, I would love to go to New Zealand, because their system is similar to ours. I want to see how they operate over there.
People are looking for alternatives for what we have on the market
I’d probably go for a year then come back and look for a job in the lab testing products, such as testing shelf life. I think food is going to change a lot in the next couple of years. People are looking for alternatives for what we have on the market.
Daddy was a contractor, but at the end of 2014 we went into dairy. We felt there was a need for a change from the sucklers and that’s the way we went.
We started milking 48 and we’re now up to 80. It was a difficult switch but it’s given us more of a routine. You have a solid income coming in.
We’re flat out calving at this time of the year
We looked at robots first, but my youngest brother didn’t want them, so we got in a 16-unit parlour. I’m sure he regrets it now, he’d rather the robot.
We’re flat out calving at this time of the year and I would take on the calf-rearing role or even the milking, I don’t mind either. We had 17 replacements last year and 25 for next year, so we’re growing.
I do love farming. I have two younger brothers so I’d say I wouldn’t get a look in with the farm. No, if I wanted to farm there would be the support from my family but I think I would rather the science itself.
I love being outdoors, but I would be more interested in the latter end of the farm-to-fork story.
During the summer, I would help Daddy out when I’m not working, so I do a bit of silage work and even straw when it’s needed. I love the machinery work.
One time I was drawing straw and the trailer was half loaded and strapped down going out through a gap. The trailer decided to have a mind of its own and went the other direction to me. We all have our accidents, it’s part of growing up.
The first time I went jiving was about three years ago up in Leitrim and I had never actually danced before, but I just decided that I’d go to this event.
It was so good that when I came home the Monday morning, I went to jiving lessons that evening. It took about three weeks to get the steps but there is always something new to learn when you get them.
I prefer songs that are fast – the faster the better
About two years ago, in college we started up jiving classes just for the students. It was something different for everyone and we’ve had great craic and it was only €2 a go. I prefer songs that are fast – the faster the better – and it’s good for keeping fit. I trip over the whole time, but sure that’s the fun of it I suppose.
We’re mad into GAA in our family, so the dairy restricts you a little where you have to be back to do the milking – you can’t just go up to Croke Park whenever you feel like it. I play camogie with Ferns.
It was disheartening the last few years, we weren’t really winning matches
This is the first year that we’ve joined up with another club, we were struggling for about three or four years so we amalgamated with the other club and so far it’s going well, we all get on grand. We’ll see how the matches go – we hope to improve.
It was disheartening the last few years, we weren’t really winning matches and you can lose interest when that happens. But the amalgamation has brought a load of girls back to us this year so it’s looking promising so far.