Many Irish kids of my generation (the 1990s) were raised on a staple diet of spuds and Lego.
While also being a fun toy for children to play with for over 80 years, it also has educational benefits for kids as it develops their problem-solving skills, focus and attention to detail.
Also ideas of symmetry, balance, shapes and sizes are explored during play with Lego.
However, sadly many give up their beloved blocks long before adolescence and they are resigned to a miserable existence gathering dust in the attic, waiting for the next generation to come along to discover their joyous uses.
Thankfully, not everyone drops this pastime. Some people continue using Lego into adulthood and with enough passion and hard work they are able to produce pieces that are a sight to behold.
Take Polish man Michal Skorupka for example. A logistics department manager in a distribution company by trade, but his real passion is in Lego.
His speciality is in constructing realistic agricultural machines from Lego, but he has plenty of experience with military and off-road vehicles, too.
As he says himself, he “focuses on combining Model Team–style bodies with complex Technic innards and likes to push the boundaries of size and scale”.
Seeing as a “simple” model can take three to four months to complete, with a more complicated one rising to 12 to18 months, it really is a labour of love.
Coming from a farming background Michal developed a love of machinery from a young age, as he spent his youth driving tractors and repairing them with his father, which gave him an invaluable insight into how machinery works.
As he grew older he was able to marry his passion for LEGO with his love of machinery, to create lifelike tractors and agricultural machinery from LEGO.
LugPol, or Lego Users Group Poland, is a website that brings together adult Lego fans from all over Poland.
Although Michal uses web-based platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and online forums to display his work (his online name is Eric Trax), he still takes part in exhibitions all across Poland and plans to take part in the Skærbæk Fan Weekend, an event in Denmark which modellers from all over Europe will attend.
When asked if he treats making Lego as a hobby, Michal gives a simple, definitive answer: “It’s my hobby. I’ve never treated it as a source of income, although I have received various proposals, even from machine manufacturers.”
Elected to the position is Tipperary native Martin Murphy who runs the Toureenbrien herd in Lackamore, Newport. He takes over from outgoing president Pat McCarthy, who was in charge for the previous 12 months.
Murphy is the first member of the society to have been elected to the office of president for a second term. He previously held the role back in 2001 and this time brings with him an additional 15 years of Hereford Council experience, including three years as chair, during which time he hosted the very successful European Hereford conference in 2005.
Martin has served as chair of his local Munster branch of the society on two occasions, serving a total of six years. He represented Irish Herefords at the European Hereford conference in Germany in 2002, which had been postponed from 2001 due to the then major foot-and-mouth disease outbreak.
As a member of the judging panel, he has judged at numerous society sales and summer shows around the country. Murphy is also a director of Irish Hereford Prime Ltd and was instrumental in setting up the very successful commercial Hereford cross autumn sale for weanlings and stores at Newport, Co Tipperary, which is now in its 11th year and growing year on year.
On his election, Martin said: “I am deeply honoured to have been elected as president of the Irish Hereford Breed Society for a second term. The start of the year was tougher than expected and can be largely attributed to the tough weather conditions and scarcity of fodder. However, things have improved greatly in recent weeks with a sharp increase in demand and prices for bulls to run with cows. I have no doubt that Herefords will be to the fore as one of the main breeds at the numerous upcoming summer shows around the country. I would encourage as many members as possible to participate in these events keeping the Hereford in view of the public at every opportunity. Like many breeders, I look forward to adding some of the new bloodlines arriving from Australia to my herd, which will undoubtedly improve our breeding lines. I‘d like to thank the team for their work in selecting the new sires for the breed improvement scheme. The chosen bulls are truly of outstanding quality.
Like many breeders, I look forward to adding some of the new bloodlines arriving from Australia to my herd, which will undoubtedly improve our breeding lines
“I’d also like to highlight the importance of good management and culling poor quality cattle in order to maintain the high standards associated with Hereford. These must be adhered to as the demand for Hereford beef is constantly growing. In order to meet these demands, we must produce good-quality cattle to remain competitive with other breeds and create an even more efficient product ensuring that cattle that will finish well with less feed in a reduced time period. I look forward to meeting as many members of the society as possible over the coming year and wish all of them every success in their endeavours.”
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