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Winterage festival celebrates ancient Burren tradition and more

THE ancient and unique farming practice of out-wintering cattle in the Burren will be celebrated this month at the annual Burren Winterage Weekend festival. The festival takes place between October 26 and 30 in Corofin and various locations across the Burren region. Co-ordinated by local landscape charity The Burrenbeo Trust, this year’s festival features a wide range of farming, heritage, and cultural events. Among these will be several Burren farm walks, a Tea Talk on farming and archaeology, book reading and discussions with bestselling authors James Rebanks and Jane Clarke. There will be ‘transhumance’ cheese tasting, a butter making workshop, a children’s creative nature-writing workshop and much more. A day-long Burren Winterage School will be held on the theme of Education for Sustainable Development in Rural Areas, Farming for Nature Networking Day and National Farming for Nature Awards. The flagship event of weekend, the Community Cattle Drive where hundreds of people will be invited to join a local farming family …

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Bumper harvest for Burren agritourism

FARMERS, food producers and artisans in the Burren are reaping the benefits of agritourism initiatives this summer as visitors flock to try unique food experiences in the region. As people holiday at home this year, experiences such as food trails, foraging walks, food visitor experiences and farm stays have all become popular, according to Jarlath O’Dwyer, CEO of the Burren Ecotourism Network, which represents over 70 diverse businesses in the region. “For farmers, agritourism offers an opportunity to diversify and create supplementary income,” he said. “Many enjoy the social aspect of meeting people and share their special stories about the food, agriculture and biodiversity of the region. “For visitors, it allows them to connect with the land, the people, the animals and learn more about where their food comes from while enjoying beautiful landscapes of the Burren. “There really is no better place for visitors to learn about the region than from those who have farmed the land for generations.” …

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Burren Winterage honours generations of farmers

THE Burren winterage festival takes place over the bank holiday weekend. The celebration honours generations of Burren farmers and includes re-enactments of ancient pastoral traditions and Samhain pursuits. For hundreds of years, Burren farmers have marked the end of the summer by herding their cattle up onto winter pastures in the limestone uplands, in the tradition known as winterage and the Burren is one of the only places in the world where it still occurs. Recent years have seen a decline in many rural traditions but one local group is trying to not only ensure the continuation of this important Burren tradition but is celebrating it in a community-led weekend event. Along with the local community, the Burrenbeo Trust is coordinating the 2013 Burren Winterage Weekend, which celebrates the Burren’s farming heritage and the broader significance of pastoral farming in the Burren and beyond. The weekend includes a prize for the best shorthorn heifer, an open farm day, a fancy …

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