A new RTÉ nature documentary will feature a Laois farm in its second episode.
A Wild Irish Year is a four part series that features the changes in nature that sweep across the country throughout the course of a year.
It is being broadcast on RTÉ 1 at 6:30pm on Sunday evenings, and part of the episode about the summer months, which will be shown on Sunday May 20th, was filmed at Ballykilcavan farm, near Stradbally.
The series is produced for RTÉ by Crossing the Line, the team behind the acclaimed series Wild Ireland, The Farthest and The Secret Life of the Shannon.
The segment on Ballykilcavan looks at environmentally sustainable farming, and the economic realities of trying to keep a farm viable.
David Walsh-Kemmis, the current owner at Ballykilcavan, and the 13th generation of his family to farm there, explains: “The filmmakers were here for three days last summer, and were really interested in the interaction between the farm and the environment, and the measures we’re taking here to ensure that the farm survives and can be passed onto the next generation.
“ For us, that has meant diversifying our farming regime, and opening our new craft brewery, which will allow us to keep farming and to keep the farm in the family.”
It comes at a busy time at Ballykilcavan, as there is a lot of work to be done to catch up on getting spring crops established after the long wet winter, and as the builders start to move in to install the new brewery in the 18th century farmyard.
David explains: “We’re working hard on two fronts at the minute.
“ We got all our malting barley into the ground eventually, but we need to keep a close eye on it for the next few weeks to help it to establish as well as possible.
“At the same time, we’re starting work on the brewery – the kit is ordered and will be on-site by early August, and we need to have the building ready to take it by then.
“It’s all very exciting, and we’re looking forward to being able to brew our beers on-site in the near future”.
In the meantime, David is running a free event at Ballykilcavan as part of Independent Beer Week on June 23rd.
There’ll be an evening of food, beers and entertainment and a tour of the farm and brewery building, and there’s a free bus running from Portlaoise train station.
The event starts at 7pm and there are more details on the Ballykilcavan Facebook page: facebook.com/ballykilcavan.
Ballykilcavan Brewing Company was founded in 2016 by David and Lisa Walsh-Kemmis to make high-quality, tasty beers from the award-winning barley grown on their 378 year old farm. The company is completely independently owned by the family.