‘Wine, Women, Wellies’ event set to awaken the west

‘Wine, Women and Wellies’ – a social evening to celebrate the launch of West Women in Farming Ireland (WWFI) – will be held this Sunday, June 25.

The get-together will take place in The Arches Hotel, Claregalway, at 7:00pm.

WWFI was co-founded by two Co. Mayo women: Martina Calvey of Achill Mountain Lamb and Catherina Cunnane, an Aubrac cattle breeder from Kilkelly who farms a herd under the ‘Derrybrack’ name.

The inaugural meeting of WWFI was held in Galway in April under the theme ‘Show up and stand up’.

Women in agriculture did just that. They travelled from Carlow; Clare; Galway; Kerry; Kilkenny; Laois; Mayo; Roscommon; Sligo; Westmeath; and Wexford.

They comprised full and part-time farmers; agriculture students and graduates; agricultural science teachers; college lecturers; agricultural journalists; veterinary nurses; agri business entrepreneurs and managers; and those involved in innovation technology and industry.

“We plan on bringing together as many women from different areas of agriculture in the western counties as possible,” Cunnane said.

“Our aim is to empower; educate; encourage; and support women in agriculture.

“We will work alongside our sister groups to profile the work that women conduct in many areas of agriculture, from agri business to farming and innovative technology.

As part of the ongoing powerful national movement, we are working towards a shared vision and goal. That is to highlight the significant impact that women have right throughout the Irish agricultural sector.

Cunnane added: “This is a positive turning point in the lives of agricultural women. It is a change that is welcome, as we break through certain stereotypes that have been created.”

She said that the capabilities of women in agriculture are often under-estimated.

As a young female, Cunnane farmed alongside her father in the west, operating a dry stock production enterprise and a pedigree herd where a week doesn’t pass without trips to beef factories and livestock marts.

“Visting places like these, and being actively involved from a business perspective, confirm that women need to be encouraged and supported to get actively involved in these areas,” Cunnane said.

Several committee meetings have been held since the launch in April.

The committee includes: Martina Calvey as Chairperson ; Mona O’Donohue Concannon and Roberta McDonald as both Vice-Chairpersons and Events Officers; Rachel and Leona Leonard as Fundraising Officers; and Niamh Garvey for research.

“We hope to look at diverse topics, including mental health, time management and childcare, and to explore the options available within these areas.

“As stated by our Chairperson, Martina Calvey, our group is all about inclusivity. We want to involve as many people as possible.

“We use Facebook to connect with our members, and discuss topical issues, and also for story and knowledge sharing,” Cunnane said.

WWFI ambassadors will be attending agricultural shows over the summer, with Cunnane noting that a number of members have expressed an interest in attending the South East Women in Farming’s trip to the Royal Welsh Show.

All are welcome to attend the ‘Wine, Women and Wellies’ social evening in the west on Sunday. There will be finger food and refreshments. Entry costs €10.

Accommodation rates are available on request. Register your interest via Facebook or contact Mona on: 087-9507681 or by email: [email protected]