Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Banter goes to the Burren

A discussion about farming on the edge as part of the Burren Winterage weekend

Wed, Oct 16, 2013, 14:14


2013 has been a year and a half for Banter – and it’s not over yet. We thought it couldn’t get any busier than 2012 but, as our growing hall of fame of past guests shows, this has also been a very busy year.

We’ve taken the Banter bus all over the place, from a thatched cottage in Derry and a former bomb shelter London to the beautiful Charles Fort in Kinsale and a plethora of cool venues in Kilkenny. We’ve also had the first (and hopefully last) visit of a musketeer in period dress to Banter when one of those lads took aim when we were talking to the Utah Saints on the Derry city walls last month. Please note that this was also a first for the Utah Saints.

Later this month, we head west to Co Clare for the Burren Winterage Weekend. The good folks at the Burrenbeo Trust have invited us to come along to host a discussion about farming on the edge on Saturday October 26 and we’re delighted to accept.

There are as many definitions of The Burren as there are people who come west to take it all in. Everyone from tourists to botanists, painters to poets, archaeologists to ecologists have come to this wild landscape over the years in search of visions and insights.

But the thoughts, actions and requirements of the men and women who farm in the Burren also need to be taken into account. While the number of farmers who work this land may have dramatically dropped in recent times, the issues around conservation, sustainability and livliehoods still need to be addressed to ensure a harmony between insiders and outsiders.

Banter in the Burren will look at the special issues which surround farming in a peripheral area like this. Are the problems here unique or are they part of a bigger picture involving heritage and making a living? How do farmers here use their collective voice to make their case? Are there other European regions which the Burren farmers should be looking to for pointers?

Our panel for the evening will be Ella McSweeney (RTE TV’s Ear to the Ground, RTE Radio One’s Countrywide and BBC Radio Four), Dr Áine Macken Walsh (Research Officer at Teagasc’s Rural Economy and Development Programme), Michael Davoren (Chair of Burren IFA and member of Burren Life Advisory Committee) and David Meredith (rural economist with Teagasc). There will also be a presentation beforehand by agricultural writer and academic, John Feehan, exploring the future of the farming community in Ireland.

The event takes place in Vaughan’s Barn, Main Street, Kilfenora, Co Clare and gets underway at 7pm. Admission is free and you’ll get more information on the weekend here. Big thanks to Brigid Barry and Brendan Dunford from the Burrenbeo Trust for all their help in putting this together.