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Tag: Edmond Harty

The Famine in North Kerry: Writers’ Week 2013

Listowel and The Famine

One of the marvellous aspects of Writers’ Week is the variety of activities on offer. Friday May 31 2013 was our day for learning all about the Famine in Listowel. Below is a photo of some of the crowd gathered at the Listowel Arms to take part in a walk led by John Pierse, Michael Guerin and Kay Caball. This walk was to take us to places of interest connected with the Great Famine. We were lucky to be in the company of three “experts” in various aspects of Listowel in Famine times.

I’ll share with you a few of the more shocking facts I learned.

  • In the worst week of famine times, 66 people died in the workhouse in Listowel.  Many more died on the roadside, in their houses or in the fields.
  • The workhouse was so overcrowded that every shed and outhouse was pressed into service as an auxiliary workhouse and many more of these auxiliary workhouses were set up in the locality.
  • The people were starving, yet the river Feale was teeming with fish.
  • 3,000 people are buried in Teampall Bán graveyard. We know the names of only 3.
  • There is another Famine Graveyard at Gale.
  • The 4 Presentation Sisters did extraordinary good work sheltering, feeding and clothing the starving. Their role is often ignored by historians.
  • The present hospital chapel was part of the dining area of the workhouse.
  • Prostitutes and their children were segregated from other women and children in the workhouse.
  • The Famine lasted longer in North Kerry than it did elsewhere. It went on into 1850 and 1851.

Michael Guerin
walkers approaching the Presentation Convent
Kay Caball
in the grounds of the old workhouse


Later on Friday May 31 2013 we continued with our Famine education with a seminar in The Plaza. If we had local experts in the morning, we now had local, national and international experts in an excellent forum, ably chaired by Mike Lynch.

Left to Right: Thomas Keneally, Kay Caball, William Smyth, Mike Murphy and Mike Lynch

The Moloney family out in force to hear one of their own do us all proud as she took her place among Famine scholars.

Between 1845 and 1852 over one million Irish people died. At least 250,000 fled the country. The authors of the Atlas of the Great Irish Famine have done us all a great service in making this truly awful episode in our history more real for us. Their maps have gone some way toward explaining why so many people died and toward explaining what determined if you would die, leave or survive.

We, the descendants of Famine survivors owe it to our brethren to remember them.


Here are some of the people who slaved away behind the scenes at Writers’ Week .


This is Edmond Harty of Dairymaster. This weekend he is in Monte Carlo in contention with 49  others for the title International Entrepreneur of the Year.

Go néirí an t-adh leis.

Dairymaster, Moo monitor and Tadhg’s party

Have you ever heard of a Moo Monitor?

This is the latest ingenious device developed just down the road from Listowel at Dairymaster in Causeway.

Dairymaster is a massive international success story in the dairying industry. Its dynamic CEO, Edmond Harty, is shortlisted for one of the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. I hope he wins. 

The programme will be broadcast live on RTE 1 at 10.50p.m. on Thursday next.

Even if you know nothing about dairy farming, you will be amazed at the achievements of this local company at the cutting edge of farming technology.

Dr.Edmond Harty is the Technical Director of Kerry-based Dairymaster, a world leader in the development and manufacture of dairy farm equipment.

A Mechanical Engineer by profession, Edmond joined the family business in 1998, whilst studying for a PhD in UCD where he focused on the area of milking performance.This focus on in-house R&D, manufacturing and the application of advancements in engineering technology has remained core to the business’ international success, and has enabled the company to be at the cutting-edge of product innovation while retaining jobs locally – a factor that is very important to Harty.Dairymaster’s innovative product range encompasses five key areas: Milking Equipment; Automated Feeding Systems; Hydraulic Manure Scrapers; Cow Fertility Monitors; and Milk Cooling Tanks.By milking each cow an average of one minute faster than the competition, Dairymaster’s state-of-the-art milking equipment delivers 5% more yield in scientific trials and.In turn, this superior milk-out, natural milking and a focus on automation allows the dairy farmer to make smarter management decisions.The range of automated feeding systems identifies each animal via a chip in the cow’s ear tag and its Smart Feeder System has been recently developed to provide custom-feeding to cows during the dry period.Connection to The Cloud allows remote monitoring of the farm which ensures the correct allocation of energy and minerals within the animal’s feed and this subsequently results in fewer health issues for the dairy herd and improved milk yields.Dairymaster’s hydraulic manure scrapers are recognised as market leaders and provide significant labour and cost-saving efficiencies to farmers, while its recently developed MooMonitor has revolutionised the highly-problematic and costly area of herd fertility.This pioneering nanotechnology monitors animal behaviour on a 24-hour basis and allows those challenged cows to be identified at the earliest possible stage.A complementary smartphone app has also been developed which allows the system to be viewed remotely.The addition of the SwiftCool milk-cooling tank to its product portfolio has provided the dairy industry with further opportunities to improve milk production performance and can even advise the farmer when milk has been collected from his farm.Headquartered in Causeway, County Kerry, the company also has operations in the UK and the US, and employs 220 people internationally.Over 70% of production is exported to customers in over 40 countries worldwide.Products: Dairymaster is regarded as the world leader in the development and manufacture of labour saving, automated devices for the global dairy industry.Customers: Clients of the Kerry firm include wholesale and retail customers located in over 40 countries that include Ireland, UK, US, Australia, New Zealand and Iran.What role does CSR play in your business strategy? We are involved in a number of projects that range from facilitating interaction with schools and colleges, and donating equipment to Dublin Zoo, to supplying product to third world countries.We also take cognisance of our carbon footprint when designing Dairymaster equipment and ensure that it is energy efficient.What is the best business advice you ever received? If you have a problem, tackle it head on and deal with it.Sort it out as quickly as possible as it will not go away by itself.




Royal George Hotel, Limerick 1960s


The hotel on Saturday was awaiting the arrival of Tadhg and Nicole for the party of the year in town.

Don’t forget RTE 1 7.00p.m. tomorrow night for the same Tadhg in The Gathering; Homeward Bound

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