Christmas new arrival for Ballyporeen tweeting farmer

This was a hectic week for Ballyporeen, Co. Tipperary farmer Anthony Slattery. For not only was he curating the Ireland’s Farmers’ Twitter account but he also became a dad for the first time.

Son Aaron made a week early appearance at Cork University Hospital in the early hours of Friday morning, December 21. Mum Tracey and Aaron expect to be back home on Christmas Eve.

“He weighed in at 6lbs, 14oz and arrived at 2:20am,” said a delighted Anthony. The new arrival was of course feted on Twitter.

“I use Twitter a lot,” said Anthony, who is a dairy and beef farmer, focused mainly on dairy, keeping beef cattle up to 18 months. “I got friendly with other dairy farmers on Twitter and we set up our own WhatsApp group. It’s great to be able to ask questions, compare notes and talk about issues like the weather,” he said.

I had tweeted about the expected arrival and said that if I went quiet, it would be because of that. Another guy I know on Twitter this week welcomed a baby girl.

Tweeting is a good way of interacting with farmers as Ballyporeen is quiet, with many local businesses having closed, he said. “My mother helps out with feeding calves and other jobs but Tracey works in Cork all day.”

With his 90 cows dried off for winter, Anthony was able to spend time with his son after his arrival. “It was great to be able to feed him and spend some time with Tracey in the hospital before coming back to do the jobs,” he said.

This will be a very special Christmas for the couple and their extended family. “We put the tree and decorations up before Tracey went into hospital and we will be spending Christmas Day at home. Mam will probably cook for us and bring it up to us and we will have a get-together.”

The Ireland’s Farmers’ Twitter account was started almost four years ago by Lorna Sixsmith and Noel Clancy.

“About 150 farmers have curated now. A few have done it twice. Photos and videos are very popular. The account often gets 2m impressions in 28 days. Farmers share news about how or what they farm; issues; history to the farm; their backgrounds; and their plans for the future,” Lorna said.

“There is a variety of types of farming too – dairy; beef; sheep; goat; snail; pig; poultry; vegetable; apple; and tomato are among them.”

However, this Christmas the limelight has been stolen by little Aaron.