Aoife Forde and her family will lead the Burren Winterage community cattle drive on Sunday 27 October in a celebration of the unique Burren farming tradition.
The drive will begin in Carron village and involves the family walking their cattle to their winterage pastures in the Burren uplands. Wintering cattle there plays a vital role in conserving the Burren’s famous landscape and biodiversity.
The future of the Burren depends on young farmers like her
Manager of the Burren Programme Brendan Dunford said they were delighted to have Aoife leading the drive: “Aoife has grown up in the heart of the Burren, farming alongside her father PJ and her mother Fiona.
“At 23, she is pursuing a Masters in agriculture innovation and support and is passionate about farming for nature in the Burren. The future of the Burren depends on young farmers like her.”
The practise of herding cattle from the lowlands to the highlands for grazing over winter is unique to the Burren and nearby Aran Islands.
The practice of winter grazing has been shown by scientists to ensure the Burren's orchid-rich grasslands comes back to life and thrives each spring.
The upland limestone in the Burren provides a warm, dry place for the cattle to rest, as well as water from calcium-rich springs to drink.
The cattle drive is one of a number of events that have been organised to celebrate the Burren Winterage Weekend between 24 and 27 October. The theme for 2019 is “Building a healthy future for people, food and nature”.
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