Ear To The Ground (Series 23, Programme One) Tuesday 3rd November 2015 8.30pm RTÉ One
Ear to the Ground returns to our screens with another assortment of colourful stories as presenters Darragh McCullough, Helen Carroll and Ella McSweeney take to the countryside to explore farming, food and rural living.
In the first programme of this brand new 16-part series,one of Ireland’s Rugby World Cup stars, Mike Ross, invites us along to his home farm in Ballyhooley. The Irish prop helps out with the milking and recalls his formative years piking bails and grappling heifers.
Helen Carroll investigates the alarming increase in rural crime that has swept the nation as she speaks to some of the people whose lives have been directly affected by break-ins, thefts and assaults.
Darragh McCullough is in the eye of the storm as a rapidly expanding dairy farmer. Ear to the Ground will go behind the scenes on Darragh’s farm this winter to see the drama unfolding. (More story details below)
Also back this Autumn will be our popular ‘Food Journeys’ strand where we take an in-depth look at how food makes its way to our plates. Whether you fancy single malt whiskey, elderflower cordial or Comeragh mountain lamb, you will learn its unique food journey from Helen and Ella.
Living in fear
In this introduction to our focus on rural crime, Helen Carroll heads west to County Galway to meet a couple who found themselves in a traumatic situation when raiders broke into their home and terrorised the family. This was not the first time that the family were targeted but was by far the most aggressive. With a dramatic rise in vicious attacks and a feeling of abandonment for those in the most sparse parts of the country, living in fear has become a harsh reality.
A Proper Gent
With the country still coming down from the Rugby World Cup, Ear to the Ground visits a dairy farm in Ballyhooly, North Cork to explore the roots of Ireland’s world class tight head prop. Mike Ross grew up on the family farm, where his immense strength was put to good use- piking bales and dosing cattle. With 6 Nations Championships and European Cup medals won with Leinster, he has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. Now 35, Mike hopes his strength and durability will last another few years in the pro game. Mike dropped into the farm on his day off to help brother Matt with the milking.
Darragh’s Diary – Sweet & Sour
A new element to the programme this season will go behind the scenes on the McCullough farm in County Meath. This year has been an eventful one, with a return to dairying and a new flower variety being tried out. Like a lot of Irish farmers, Darragh has taken the opportunity of the end of the dairy quota system to expand milk production with the neighbouring Leonard farm. The 500 cow herd milked well through the summer, but the collapse in the milk price left little enough return. Meanwhile, a salmonella outbreak hit the calves, and the returns from the Sweet William were not so sweet.
Other stories throughout the new series will include prize-winning pigs, an intriguing new tipple made from Irish-grown ingredients and a rural Garda with a guitar. Ear to the Ground is back and Darragh, Helen and Ella aren’t afraid to travel far and wide and get stuck in!
Ear to the Ground is produced for RTÉ by Independent Pictures.
Series Producer – John Cummins
Presenters – Darragh McCullough, Helen Carroll, Ella McSweeney Directors – Paula Williams, Liam Lavelle Executive Producer for RTÉ – Ray McCarthy
TVPR – Ann Coughlan 087 6778045
Pauline Cronin 087 2629967