Cuibín, Derry Duff is a 54 hectare, organically certified hill farm, high on the slopes of Cnoc Buí, Cork’s highest mountain. It is in between Bantry and Glengarriff in West Cork. The farm is south facing, between 100 – 250 metres above sea level, with spectacular views across the hills and mountains of the Borlin and Mealgh valleys. The views extend out to Bantry Bay, Whiddy Island and the end of the Sheep’s Head peninsula. The farm itself is stunningly beautiful, with a wild, mountainous and diverse landscape, with running streams, waterfalls and an area of tall,
The farm has an ancient heritage with indications of it having been inhabited for thousands of years. There is evidence of wide ridge and furrow, which would have been used in the Middle Ages to grow oats before potato farming began, the land is crisscrossed with ancient walls, some of them up to a metre thick and there is a fallen standing stone. There is also a ruined dwelling house and outbuildings, some from pre-famine times and others from the post-famine rehabilitation programme. Our farming is done in such a way to preserve and where appropriate, restore, the historical connections to the land.
When we arrived, Derry Duff had been uninhabited for over 40 years and was overgrown and non-productive. Since then, we have gradually restored the land to productivity; installed drainage, dug clay and gravel to create a track network , rebuilt ancient stone walls, renovated the lowland pasture, established natural habitat and converted marginal land to new pasture. We have built a large greenhouse, established a tree nursery and planted out hedgerows and thousands of trees. We have set up an orchard, a forest garden and vegetable garden and dug multiple ponds and a large reservoir which feeds our irrigation system, for 6000 blueberry plants. Plenty done, but lots more to do…!
We are continually experimenting and modifying our practices to improve the ecological profile, environmental impact and sustainability of the farm. As part of this, we have worked with Imperial College London to establish the carbon balance associated with our farming activities. We are planting trees extensively, allowing land to regenerate after grazing to increase biodiversity and attract pollinators and reducing runoff and soil erosion through the use of terraces and planting on steep slopes and along streams. Their findings indicated that by 2022, we should have attained carbon neutrality and from then on should increasingly become a carbon sink reducing atmospheric carbon levels. When resources permit, we would like to undertake a follow up project to verify this.
Cuibín, Derry Duff, Bantry, Co. Cork, P75 PD60, Ireland | +353 87 8540586