In a Word ... Drumshanbo

Say cheese, not trees

I wonder who won the calving camera at the Drumshanbo mart raffle in Leitrim yesterday? Or the scythe (value €150)? Not to mention the top prize of a heifer worth €500, or the second prize of five lambs (€500). There’s no value put on the calving camera.

Okay, okay, don’t all shout at once. No, the camera has nothing to do with (Drumshanbo’s) Gunpowder Gin. After a few half-ones of that the last thing you should be near is a camera! Of any sort!

Leitrim? You can’t be serious? You never heard of Leitrim? It’s in the West of Ireland. Don’t you remember the 1990 presidential election campaign when Dustin the Turkey stood against Mary Robinson on a platform that promised to extend the Dart to Dingle and to send out a search party to see whether Leitrim really existed?

He lost and still, like most Dubs, believes the chances of Leitrim existing are as likely as Kerry winning six in a row.


A calving camera, described as “a baby monitor for cows”, is put up in a shed where cows are about to give birth to a calf or, having done so, they can be monitored remotely from the comfort of the farmer’s own home. And you thought farming was all spades, muck and dirt!

My late brother Pearse, even during his final illness in 2016, still found great satisfaction in monitoring his cattle on camera from a hospital bed many miles away. One such calf born on camera a few years earlier he named Stringer after Ireland rugby player Peter Stringer, because the calf too was small, tough, wiry and full of beans.

The Drumshanbo raffle was held by the Save Leitrim (from trees) campaign. Seriously. Not since Cromwell expelled so many people to Connacht has the county experienced such an invasion, except this time it is by conifers not people.

The Save Leitrim people want to stop what they call “the blanket afforestation of our county”. They point to the Government’s national target of having 17 per cent of Ireland planted with trees by 2030 and how this has already been surpassed in Leitrim where 18.3 per cent of the county is already afforested.

Soon, you won’t be able to see Leitrim for the trees.

Drumshanbo, from the Irish `Dhroim Seanbhó', meaning `ridge of the old cow.’

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times