From a farming background in Co Meath, Margaret Stephens started feeding calves when she was 13, but went on to become a theatre nurse. She met her husband Eugene, a farmer, on a blind date in Dublin.They have 150 sheep and 30 sucklers at Rossana Farm, in Co Wicklow.

“I job-share so I have the best of both worlds. On the days I am at home, we do the big jobs that Eugene couldn’t do by himself, like dosing cattle,” Margaret says.

“I love our life in the country. I wouldn’t live in a city for love nor money,” she adds.

In 2007, they renovated old farm sheds into self-catering accommodation, and Eugene gives tours of the farm, where he also keeps vintage machinery. Two of the cottages have three bedrooms and one has four.

“Because we cannot expand our farm, we needed another income for the next generation,” Margaret says.

“It is hectic, but I like variety in my life. I was never one to sit still.”

During the lambing season, the couple take turns getting up during the night.

“It is very hands-on, but we really have very little losses so it works out.”

The couple have three children. Daughter Jane is studying environmental science in Galway and Owen is an agricultural mechanic at Harper Adams. Their youngest child, Emmet, is doing his Leaving Cert and is very interested in sports and horticulture.

Margaret and Eugene passed on their love of the outdoors to their children. Eugene is one of the directors of their local uplands council and Margaret is also a member.

“We are trying to support people in the National Park in Wicklow and help stop illegal dumping. It is all part of being sustainable really, even our cottages have geothermal and solar heating, it is about giving back to the community,” she says.

Margaret also enjoys gardening, patchwork and is a member of Ashford ICA, meeting on the first Tuesday of every month. She and Eugene are also members of Ashford Tidy Towns and she helps out on a voluntary basis for Birdwatch Ireland. CL