About our Farm & us:
Dr. Miriam and Malachy Dolan along with our three children Ben (aged 16), Saoirse (aged 15) and James (aged 13) operate a suckler herd with a small flock of sheep on 60ha in South-West Fermanagh. The farm is in one unit and the farmhouse is adjacent to the farmyard.
The farm has been in the family for over 150 years and the remains of some old houses that belonged to family ancestors are still to be seen.The farm has a very traditional feel as my father removed very few hedges in the 70s and 80s as was the thing to do at the time. The farm also has extensive gardens including Polly-tunnels. We are keen on enhancing bio diversity and habitat enhancement. Last year we took part in the ‘one million trees in a day’ project and planted around 500 native hard wood trees and scrubs.
We farm using modern sustainable Technics. In terms of mechanization we try and do all our own work at hay/silage. The use of contractors is very limited.
The garden and poly-tunnels occupy half an acre next to the farm house. Using the FYM manure from the farm we grow a range of vegetables; potatoes, carrots, parsnip, leek, cabbage, sprouts, turnip, beetroot, onion, garlic, spinach, tomatoes and many more.
There is an orchard on one acre in front of the house. The orchard is planted with native breeds of apples from Irish seed savers in Co. Clare. These varieties are in danger of dying out.
Real Farm Activities offered to the Participants:
AUTUMN/ WINTER: Feeding cattle, animal husbandry, cleaning sheds, field boundary restoration (fencing & planting of hedges/trees), machinery maintenance. Furthermore harvesting from the garden and preparation for next year with manure digging, maintaining the orchard pruning and grass cutting etc.
We have some Vintage tractors which require care. The more modern machines are all serviced on farm.
SPRING/SUMMER: Removing trees and wood from the fields where hedges and coppicing took place. Spread farm yard manure on the fields. Calving cows, lambing and ensuring health of newborn animals. Looking after pigs, chickens and ducks. Hay & silage making.
In the garden from propagating seeds & chitting potatoes to digging and planting in the garden and poly-tunnels.
These activities are a small part of what goes on the farm however they are an example of what takes place.