After 40 years spent in the comparative quiet of an 88-acre holding which was formerly part of an island in Upper Lough Erne, Mrs Margaret Reihill, Innishrooske, Lisnaskea, feels that girls throughout the country should think twice before rejecting a farming life, even in a secluded area.
Monaghan-born, 72-year-old Mrs Reihill has no regrets about leaving a career in nursing for the full-time role of sharing in the management of a Co Fermanagh mixed holding “despite the natural handicaps involved in our case together with the traditional fluctuations of the agricultural industry. My belief in accepting things as they come has stood me in good stead”.
“I was born on a farm and my work as a nurse in no way lessened my liking for the land,” Mrs Reihill told FarmWeek. “In the light of my experience I would thoroughly recommend the life.”
Currently let in conacre, the farm was run along mixed lines with the emphasis on cattle and cropping until Mrs Reihill’s retirement a few years ago.
“I hope I am not being sentimental but I really regard the disappearance of the horse as the only major disappointment over the years,” Mrs Reihill remarked. “I found it very difficult to reconcile myself to a genuine acceptance of the mechanised systems.”
If there is regret about the loss of the horse as part of the farming scene, Mrs Reihill has been able to retain gardening as one of her chief interests.
Saddened at the drift from the land of younger people, Mrs Reihill thinks that television – apart from economic considerations – is one of the main factors in the depopulation of the rural areas.
“Somehow I believe farming has a better chance of survival when the ceili house was in full swing,” she said, “but now the far-off fields are constantly offered as a bait to the young people.
“The closure two years ago of the local school shows what is happening here and while I am always delighted to see people improving there lot, the fact that we are really a rural community should never be forgotten.”
A keen reader, Mrs Reihill also enjoys knitting, sewing and cooling.