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4-H-er explores the Emerald Isle

This May I was fortunate enough to be one of the two delegates from Quebec to participate in Canada 4-H’s first ever international rural exchange 4-H trip to Ireland. For one week, 28 members and three chaperones explored the rural sides of the Emerald Isle, seeing everything from castle ruins to cow pastures.

From May 17 to 23, we visited The Balmoral Show, met the president of the show, and explored on our own. The next day we visited the Dunamase Castle, which was an old Christian settlement passed down throughout the years. We also took a tour of a beef and sheep operation in County Kildare, and learnt how to play hurling (or “camogie” for the ladies), Ireland’s national sport.

Teagasc Animal and Grassland Research Centre in Grange, County Meath, was an interesting stop, as it has one of the world’s leading beef production research programs. That same day we went to Tibradden Wood’s Zipit Forest Adventures, where the courses differ from being one metre high to approximately 20 metres, which is quite something when you’re holding onto a metal wire swinging back and forth over the ground.

Caherconnell Fort and Sheepdog Demonstrations was our first stop Tuesday morning, where we got to see a fort that dates back to the 10th century and take photos with the stars of the demonstration, the sheepdogs. The most amazing stop, in my opinion, was the Cliffs of Moher. There are no words to describe how beautiful and breathtaking it was, looking at the ocean and knowing home was just on the other side of the great Atlantic.

 

Local 4 H member Mackenzie Peddie was one of two Quebecers to participate in a 4 H international rural exchange adventure to Ireland in May PHOTO Mackenzie Peddie

 

Our last day we visited Macroom Water Buffalo Farm, the only water buffalo farm in Ireland with 700 head and where we got to test out some of their amazing cheese, and a dairy farm in County Tipperary with Holstein Friesian cows, a herd of beef, and a 20-unit herringbone milking parlour.

Other things we saw included Castle Kilkenny and the medieval city surrounding it, and young Irish dancers from a nearby dance school showcasing their talents.

This trip was something I thought I’d never be doing, and I’m glad the opportunity to explore Ireland while representing my province and country came along. I am grateful for the time I got to spend in the Emerald Isle with my new friends, and to take so many memories back to Quebec with me.

Thank you to 4-H Canada for this wonderful adventure, all those who planned our itinerary, and to all those I met along the way. And for all those reading, I hope each one of you has a chance to explore this world, or even admire our country and province and the beauty here.

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