By Caitriona McMahon
This weekend I was lucky enough to have been given the opportunity to experience life on an Irish working farm first hand.
I grew up on a farm but it’s an area I have lost touch with, so I was beyond excited to be off on a farm visit.
As I entered the driveway bright and early, a ‘to do’ list for when I got home, had already started to rear its ugly head.
I had only set down one foot onto the gravel, when the symphony of birds distracted me – it was just breathtaking.
It had been a tough, busy week and I had to work a little harder to keep my mind in check. I really needed an escape.
I met Caroline and Joe, the owners of Rigney’s Farm and B&B and was instantly tempted by the smell of freshly baked scones and loaves of bread.
The aroma brought back such beautiful memories of years gone by of a time before mobile phones when conversation flowed, as did the tea.
After around an hour and having almost eaten my own body weight, thanks to the delicious home made food on offer, I realised my ‘to do’ list had vanished into thin air.
And as I sat melting away by the open fire, it was almost as if the outside world had evaporated. The urge to check my phone or scroll through social media was nonexistent.
It felt as though I was on a retreat, a badly needed one for that matter.
After chatting and having tea, I was escorted to help feed the animals. Now I wouldn’t be the most confident around some animals. For example I’ve had a couple of run in’s with puck goats in years gone by but we will say no more about that.
As we continued along the walkway to the sheds I was getting more eager to get stuck in.
This morning I struggled to force myself from bed but now I was bouncing along, excited to meet all the animals and connect with all that surrounded me.
I wondered if others realised the benefits of spending time in nature.
First up on the feeding line, were the adorable ducks as they waddled out heads high in the air, like a soccer team heading onto the pitch at match time, then the hens, followed by the horses, the pigs, the sheep and the cows.
Oh and let’s not forget the three adorable dogs, Chief, Sally and Smallie, the most affectionate and accepting dogs I have ever met.
To see all the animals interacting was somewhat surreal. I asked myself why did the dog not eat the chicken? How come the dog is nudging the duck along as though he was a part of his family?
Everything blissfully co exists here. If only us humans could master that I thought.
Walking through the fields with Caroline I mention how the farm forced me into being present or mindful and how hard that can be normally.
A farm like this, is of course filled with so many unusual sounds, smells, and views are aplenty. It is impossible to drift deep into the depths of the mind.
And if you don’t watch where you’re walking in a field you’ll wind up on your bum with a pig smiling down on you.
She smiled because it was clear to see she simply lives and breathes this life.
Before I leave I take time to plant some daffodils. As I place the bulb into the soil I smile knowing that just as this bulb will grow, part of me also grew here from this experience.
In reflection of my time spent on the farm, I can’t wait to return or perhaps move in (sssssh I haven’t told them yet).
There’s something special about being away from the busy world and the hype of what has become normal, everyday living.
No traffic, no phones, no chaos, just peace and conversation.
To anyone in search of themselves or needing time out, I cannot recommend a break on a working farm enough.
Getting stuck into working with the animals and the soil reaps benefits beyond our understanding.
Finally a massive thank you to Joe and Caroline for allowing me to come along and experience first hand what farm life is like and eat them out of house and home .
For more information on Rigneys Farm check out their website: http://www.rigneysfarm.com/