‘Once in a generation’ – Farmers Journal subeditor makes ancient discovery
Anthony Murphy is a subeditor with the Irish Farmers Journal and on Tuesday he made a major new discovery in the Boyne Valley.

Anthony Murphy was “gobsmacked” on Tuesday night when he discovered a never-seen-before henge monument in the Boyne Valley, not far from Newgrange.

Murphy is a subeditor with the Irish Farmers Journal and his discovery in a tillage field in Meath is being described by archaeologists as a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, Murphy said that he and Ken Williams of Shadows and Stone weren't out with the drone by accident.

“There were headlines in the UK about the possibility of sites being discovered given the drought. What happens is the moisture left in the soil lodges into the archaeological features – which makes the crop greener as it has more moisture than the soil around it."

These headlines, and the advice of an archaeologist, prompted him to fly his drone over the landscape to see if anything might show up.

“The main discovery is a giant henge about 200m in diameter that is unrecorded and has never been seen before. The image is just stunning. There are three sites in total in the field and a number of possible additional archaeological features too.

“When I saw it first I was like ‘what’s that? What the hell is that?’ It’s something I had never seen before. It is huge.”

What happens next?

Murphy has spoken with archaeologists about the discovery and they have told him it’s a once-in-a-generation discovery. Stephen Davis of the UCD archaeology faculty said that it is the most exciting aerial image of Irish archaeology he has ever seen.

The field belongs to a farmer who has a mixed operation of beef, sheep and tillage.

Archaeologists are poring over the images and Murphy has reported the find to the National Monuments Service, who are equally excited with the "new" site.

“There is a huge array of stuff in this small area of Ireland around Newgrange. This is just incredible. I’m still pinching myself.

“It’s the most exciting day for me in terms of monuments. I've been writing about and photographing monuments for 20 years. I would have said all that there was to find had already been revealed by archaeologists. I’m gobsmacked.”

The farmer's daily wrap: Delvin Mart canteen rodent problem and details of EID
Catch up with all the top headlines and get a look ahead at tomorrow's weather.

Weather forecast

Tonight will become quite windy, with freshening southerly breezes.

It will be predominantly dry, but there will be a few patches of rain and drizzle about.

Minimum temperatures of 5°C to 9°C, according to Met Éireann.

Tuesday will see a dry day in many central and eastern counties.

Rain will extend across most of Munster and Connacht by the afternoon.

Rain will then gradually spread eastwards during the evening, with some heavy bursts possible.

Highest temperatures of 10°C to 13°C in moderate to fresh south to southeast winds.

In the news

  • Problems with rodents have led to the closure of Delvin Mart canteen.
  • Information leaflets on new EID tagging regulations are to be sent out with Sheep and Goat Census forms.
  • Concerns mount as the clock continues to countdown to March 2019, when the UK is expected to have an approved exit plan in place and Theresa May has deferred a Brexit vote in the Commons.
  • Patrick Hurley of Carhoogarriffe, Leap, Co Cork, appeared at Kenmare District Court last week, accused of stealing cash from a 93-year-old Kenmare man.
  • The new assistant principal in Kildalton qualified in Wales and previously held the role of lecturer in dairy production.
    Kildalton appoints new assistant principal
    The new assistant principal qualified in Wales and previously held the role of lecturer in dairy production.

    James Ryan has been appointed as the new assistant principal in Kildalton Agricultural College, Co Kilkenny.

    Ryan currently lectures in dairy production and manages the 110-cow dairy enterprise on the farm.

    Three of his former students were awarded FBD young farmer of the year and he has previously worked as a Teagasc dairy business and technology adviser in Tipperary and education officer in Skibbereen.

    “I am really looking forward to this new role, as I am passionate about teaching and instilling a love of agriculture, and in particular dairy farming, to students,” Ryan said.

    He was also congratulated in his new appointment by head of Teagasc education Tony Petitt, who said: “James brings to this role a wealth of experience of delivering education courses, both in theory and in terms of practical application on farms. I wish him every success in this post.”

    Ryan takes over as assistant principal from Tim Ashmore, who has been appointed as the education programme's verification specialist in the Teagasc curriculum development and standards unit.

    Read more

    Teagasc appoint new regional advisory manager for the south-east

    Your farm: farming in collaboration

    Rain intensifies as winter sets in – weather report
    After a relatively dry autumn, November has seen above-average rainfall for most of the month.

    Autumn 2018 has been marked by relatively mild and settled weather, according to the most recent quarterly Met Éireann weather report.

    Storms Ali, Callum and Diana brought strong gusts, with wind speeds of up to 115 km/h recorded during Storm Ali at Mace Head, Co Galway on 19 September.

    Strongest gusts

    Ali also recorded the strongest gusts, with 146 km/h recorded in the same place on the same date.

    Storm Ali will also remain in the minds of many farmers as being guilty of cancelling this year’s National Ploughing Championships at short notice, with an additional day added on to satisfy punters.

    Barring stormy weather, farmers enjoyed a relatively mild back-end, after what had been a trying year of difficult weather conditions.

    Many farmers were able to extend their grazing season and the majority of seasonal rainfall was below their long-term averages in September and October.

    However, rainfall was very much dependent on location.

    Just three very wet days were recorded in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, in comparison with 17 very wet days in Newport, Co Mayo.

    Overall, the report indicated that rain levels have intensified as winter has set in.

    November saw above-average rainfall for most of the country, with the west and northwest particularly hard hit.

    The last part of November and beginning of December were wet and this is reflected in the rainfall figures.

    Totals for the past two weeks are above normal almost everywhere. They were over twice the average values across the southern half of the country.

    Read more

    Watch and listen: Ploughing blowout – Storm Ali wreaks havoc

    Ireland marked worst in EU on climate action