Ciarán Farrell from Trillick-a-Temple, Longford has won himself a trip to Canada and earned the prestigious All Ireland title of National Hereford Young Handler during the grand finale of the competition at last week’s National Ploughing Championships in Co Kildare.
Son of JJ and Concepta Farrell, the young student of English and Religion in Dublin’s Mater Dei College beat off stiff competition on the day to win the accolade. So how and where did this year’s journey to Kildare begin for Ciarán?
“I was all over Ireland during the summer at the various shows and then I qualified at the Longford show to represent North Leinster in the young handler competition,” he explained.
“Six people from all over Ireland subsequently qualified for the All Ireland – including me – and the final then was held at the National Ploughing Championships.”
Six Hereford Bulls were placed in a ring at the event and a draw to determine which bull went to which handler took place. Leo McEnroe and Ger Ryan were the judges on the day. “The bull was then assigned to me and I had to brush it up and have it looking well,” said Ciarán.
“Then I led the bull around and we were marked out of 100; 50 percent of the marks were based on how well the animal was handled and then we were asked questions about its breed, characteristics and the market that it was aimed towards. There were a number of questions on the beef side of things; where the best cuts of meats came from the animal, that kind of thing and then we were asked about presentation and how to get the bull ready.”
Despite the fact that the young Longford man is training to become a second level teacher, his love of the land is to the fore and once it hits Friday evening, he is back in Longford, alongside his father helping out on their dairy farm where they milk 100 cows and breed pedigree herefords.
“I’m home on a Friday evening and I work on the farm with Dad over the weekend,” Ciarán added. “I love the farming and we have a lot of cattle. My grandfather started with Hereford in 1945 and my Dad has continued on. We go to all the shows and we have four bulls sold and gone to England. That is a very good achievement. We have 100 cows so we use Hereford on the Fresien cows and Hereford Cross for the Spring time.”
Now that he is the National Hereford Young Handler, Ciarán has his sights set on the prize, a week long trip of a lifetime to Canada next July where the World Conference on herefords will take place.
“I am really looking forward to the trip,” he said, adding that it would provide him with an opportunity to attend the World Conference for herefords.
“On the opening day of the week long event in Canada there will be a ceremony and I will be flying the flag for Ireland........and Longford.”