Clogheen farm to feature in RTE programme on changing face of rural Ireland

A family from South Tipp are to feature in an RTE documentary that explores the history of the Irish family farm.

A family from South Tipp are to feature in an RTE documentary that explores the history of the Irish family farm.

Henry and Audrey O’Grady, who farm at Killeatin, half way between Clogheen and Ballyporeen, will be seen talking about farm and family life as part of ‘The Home Place’ - a two-part documentary made by acclaimed director Sean O Mordha.

The documentary is part of an an RTÉ season of radio and television documentaries, through poetry and music - live and broadcast, Heart|Land rejoices in the land and the landscape of Ireland and explores rural life in the 21st Century.

‘The Home Place,’ explores the history of the Irish family farm - and the silent revolution underway in rural Ireland as small and medium-sized farms are eroded and the rural community merges with urban Ireland.

The farm was the site, which gave expression to allegiance and identity in the ebb and flow of history in rural Ireland. People through the decades carried their farming background, their loyalty to townland and village as a badge of identity. All of this is changing with rapidity as we watch rural Ireland merge with urban Ireland. A new society, a changing economic and social way of life is evolving throughout the Irish landscape.

This documentary series tells the story from inside rural community. In April of last year a film crew spent about five days with the O’Grady family, on their farm. Four other farm families will be included in the documentary, including the Nolan family from Mellison, in North Tipp.

The film makers spoke to Henry about living and working on the farm, what it was like to take over from his father and what his future plans for the farm are. He said he is no expert at farming but just spoke about his own farm and hopes it comes across ok on-screen.

Henry told The Nationalist that his family got involved with the production when they were approached by Professor William Nolan from UCD. When working on his masters, in the 1960s, Prof. Nolan studied the Clogheen area and the O’Grady farm, which was then run by Henry’s parents Harry and Rosaleen.

It was Harry and Rosaleen who convinced Henry to take part in the programme when he was initially nervous of the experience. He hasn’t seen the finished documentary yet and will be sitting down to watch it at the same time as the rest of Ireland. He plans to watch it at home, with his family, and probably some extended family members.

A distinguished group of scholars and experts, all born and reared in rural country, also contribute to the documentary with knowledge of geography, history, politics and their culture: William J. Smyth (Geography, UCC); William Nolan (Geography, UCD); Tony Varley (Political Science UCG); Anne Byrne (Sociology UCG); Terence Dooley (History, NUI Maynooth); Ethel Crowley (Sociology TCD); Caroline Crowley (Research Unit, UCC); David Meredith (Teagasc)

Part one will air on RTE One on Monday, May 9, at 9.35pm, and part two on Tuesday, May 10, at 10.15pm.