Burren Premium Beef and Farm Experiences
NEWBIE Competition Winner 2022
Farming in the Burren, Co. Clare, Bronagh and Cathal O’Rourke started their new farm business in 2020. Having taken over the family farm, Cathal initially farmed the lands as a beef enterprise. At the time Bronagh was busy on the road working as a medical sales representative. In order to facilitate a better work life balance and to accommodate family life, Bronagh and Cathal saw an opportunity to take the farm in a different direction, using the existing assets that they had available to them they developed a new farm business.
The new farm business consists of three main parts.
Burren Premium Beef
Burren Premium Beef was established and is currently in conversion to produce high quality organic beef from the farm. Animals are allowed to graze the lowlands during the summer and are then out wintered on the Burren winterage area. The animals are slaughtered in a local craft butchery and the meat is boxed up in different weight boxes and sold at local markets, restaurants and on line. All the on line sales are delivered fresh to the customers door.
Burren Farm Experiences
Burren Farm Experiences allows customers to visit the farm for a unique experience. Availing of the location and assets on the farm, visitors can get a first-hand experience of the running of the farm coupled with viewing many archaeological features, such as ancient forest, chapel, round field, turloughs etc. on the farm, and seeing the features and beauty of the Burren first hand.
Agri-camping, this part of the business is more seasonal and the O’Rourke’s have four bell tents that are hired out to groups/families to come and stay on the farm and enjoy the outdoor camping experience.
- Run a sustainable and viable farm enterprise
- Have a quality work-life balance and let their children grow up with them.
- Live in the countryside and work outdoors
- Make maximum use of the existing farm assets and location
- Maximising the return achieved from the family farm
- Producing high quality organic beef that is sought after both locally and nationally
- Developing a number of different elements to the business
- Not fully dependant on any one strand of the business
- Satisfaction in working on the farm and showing others the beauty of the Burren region
- Access to Markets; markets were first developed at local farmers markets and local restaurants. On line sales were established and meat boxes are distributed fresh around the country
- Access to information/knowledge; The Local Enterprise Office, Failte Ireland and the Acorns group were all very helpful organisations in obtaining information and giving guidance to getting the business established in the early days.
- Bronagh also completed a tour guiding course which was of major benefit in running the Burren Farm Experiences and Agri camping side of the business. More recently she has completed a Nature animation course with Leave no trace and Munster University to become a conservation ranger which will enhance her deliver of the farm guiding tours.
- Access to finance; Leader grants are available for different enterprises options and may be availed of in the future.