Meet Harry - An inspirational farmer living in the heart of the Burren National Park
October 3, 2017
From the Netherlands, Harry is a certified organic farmer who has been living in the Burren for the last 20 years.
He always wanted to be a traditional farmer and found that this was quite difficult to do in his home country. In the early 70's he moved to Ireland where old-style farming still survived in some areas.
Living in an old Celtic farm, he decided to create a trail 6 years ago as a way of sharing the blessing he and his family have in living in this uncommon and remarkable place to people wanting to visit the area.
To help walkers, he has provided handmade hazel walking-sticks placed at the entrance gate and has also put along the way little purple arrows to follow not to get lost.
The trail, which is about 7km long, goes through hazel woods where you can find a Holy Well, limestone pavement landscape and leads up to a plateau offering panoramic views of the Burren.
After enjoying the trail which offers some of the best views of the Burren, I had the chance to spend the afternoon with Harry who was pleased to show me around his farm, to explain his traditional farm practises as well as the history of the place.
The Holy Well festooned with offerings and the glass mugs to allow walkers to drink from the Well.
Limestone pavement heavily fissured – characteristic of the Burren
The plateau and a view of Mullaghmore with its distinctive limestone layers
There is also wildlife aplenty. Among others belted Galloway cows, goats, sheep, donkeys.
The belted Galloway cows who graze the trail are moved to the uplands for "Winterage"
(an ancient traditional farming method in the Burren where cows spend the winter grazing)
Harry, who loves meeting people, has renovated the old ruin of his farm to create a lovely tea room to welcome the walkers at the end of the trail. He offers tea, coffee and delicious freshly baked cakes (everything is free, donations are welcome).
He makes and sells cheese, yoghurt, milk, meat as well as skins.
Remains of ancient Celtic homes.
The door is always facing East for sunrise and the South wall is wider to protect from the rain and the wind.
Harry is a hard-working, wise and humane farmer who cares about the land and about people.
A truly beautiful encounter that made my visit to the Burren enriching and unforgettable!
Harry and Leila in the vegetable garden
"Harry's grave" as he said laughing
1) Green moss tree inside an ancient fort 2) Limestone handmade little house