Life on the farm with Sean, Hannah and most importantly the team of farm animals, along with some of the work they're doing for nature.
We farm in Fanningstown, Crecora, Co Limerick. V94 DD3A.
Templeroe Dairy is run by neighbours and commited organic farmers Sean Condon and Hannah Quinn-Mulligan.
It is situated in the lush Limerick countryside and their journey began when Hannah approached long-standing organic dairy farmer Sean to learn how to milk cows, with the aim of converting her suckler farm to organic dairy. Initially sceptical of her commitment levels, Sean agreed to take Hannah on and the pair quickly realised they shared a zeal for regenerative agriculture, good food and farming for nature.
The average dairy herd in Ireland is 97 cows, and combined Sean and Hannah have enough land to milk over 200 cows - but they don't want to. They're stubbornly committed to bucking the trend and milk just 55 cows on a once-a-day system that is gentler and more relaxed for the ladies in the herd.
They also keep ten pedigree Hereford beef cattle, a traditional breed, that tie in with the Holistic grazing management on the farm and periodically throughout the year they sell organic beef boxes alongside their organic milk.
Meet some of the team!
Penelope is one of team of dairy cows. She is 10 years old - which is quite old for a dairy cow - and was born on Sean's farm. She is a big fan of chicory (the blue plant in the pic) and loves grazing in the farm's multi-species swards.
Mrs Murphy is one of the 10 pedigree Hereford cows living on Hannah's farm. She is a big lady who loves her food but unlike her sisters on the farm does not enjoy scratches. She has lots of milk for a beef cow and has only ever produced bull calves but Hannah REALLY wants her to have a heifer to keep breeding from her line.
Ophelia is a Freisian and Norwegian Red cross dairy cow and a massive poser. Unlike her Shakespearean namesake she thankfully has few boy problems. Her main mission every morning is to grab a mouthful of wildflowers and even the occasional nettle from the abundant hedgerows on her way up for milking every morning.
Farming for nature
Native Irish Black Bees
In 2021, Hannah noticed that there were very few bees on her farm and a lower than normal apple harvest. She was worred that not enough was being done to support Ireland's native bee population and got her first hive - she now has three and can identify the pollen from wildflowers in the meadows where they graze cattle.
Templeroe practices Holistic or Mob grazing which is a technique where wildflowers and grasses are given time to blossom and bloom. This allows pollinators and insects the chance to feed on them and helps to create layers of carbon as cattle trample the grasses into the earth. Cattle are regularly moved to prevent permanent damage to the fields.
Both Sean and Hannah are fascinated by wildlife and are keen to create sanctuary areas on their farm. The pair have built ponds, erected bird boxes, planted native hedgerows and let meadows flourish. This year, they've also built an otter holt! Hannah read a report from 1994 citing that otters were in the area but neither Sean or Hannah had ever seen any on the farms. Fingers crossed that will change this year!