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AFR Members Explore the Emerald Isle

AFR members explored Ireland’s culture and agricultural industry during the fall 2015 Ag & Historic Conference Oct. 8-17. The group focused on agriculture and farming in the western part of the country, including the dairy farm that provides milk for Bailey’s Irish Cream. They also saw the historic Guinness Storehouse, Waterford Crystal’s headquarters, Muckross House, the Cliffs of Moher, Dromoland Castle and  the Dromoland School of Falconry.

They began their adventure in Dublin, where they saw Oscar Wilde’s Trinity College and the historic Guinness Storehouse.

They also experienced a place that  people have been drawn to for thousands of years. “The valley of two lakes” is known for its spectacular scenery, rich history, archaeology and abundant wildlife. Glendalough was a favorite stop, a place that is said to still the mind, inspire the heart and fill the soul.

Waterford was another favorite spot. The company of Waterford was established in 1783 adjacent to Merchants’ Quay in the heart of the Irish harbor town of Waterford, just minutes from the present day House of Waterford Crystal. Its founders, William and George Penrose, had a vision to “create the finest quality crystal for drinking vessels and objects of beauty for the home.” More than two hundred years later, their reputation for creating glass of unsurpassed beauty and quality has transcended the intervening centuries.

AFR members also enjoyed the town of Killarney, the Jewel in Kerry’s crown. It is a wonderful place, a hive of activity all year round and it is a fantastic place to explore in any month or season. 

A historical discovery, Muckross House was built for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, the water-colourist Mary Balfour Herbert. The well-known Scottish architect, William Burn, designed the home, which was completed in 1843. Today the home is furnished in period style, portraying the lifestyle of the nineteenth century landowning class. 

AFR members’ most beautiful experience was the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Ireland’s most visited natural attraction. They stretch five miles along the Atlantic coast in the west of Ireland, reaching 702 feet at their highest point. 

Another historic stop dates back to the fifth century, Dromoland Castle is the ancestral home of one of the few families of Gaelic Royalty; direct descendants of Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland. 

Perhaps the most memorable experiences were the Dromoland School of Falconry and the Irish National Stud Farm that produces beautiful thoroughbreds.

AFR Visits Ireland’s Choctaw Monument

A group of American Farmers & Ranchers leaders recently visited the “Kindred Spirits” monument near Ireland’s southern coast.  The monument was built to honor a donation by the Choctaw Nation to the people of Ireland during the Great Potato Famine (1845-52).

The visit was part of the AFR leaders Ag and Historic Conference, Oct. 8-17.  The participants are Oklahoma farmers and ranchers who share a common bond as AFR members.

In 1847 the Choctaw Nation donated $170 ($5,000 in today’s dollars) to ease the suffering wrought by the famine.  The donation was made at a time when the Irish people believed no one, not even their own government, cared about them.  

The AFR group, many of who can tie their ancestors to the Choctaw Nation, visited the site as a way to recognize the contributions made by the Choctaw Nation to improve the world around them.

AFR was established in 1905 as Oklahoma Farmers Union, and is headquartered in Oklahoma City. The organization is actively supportive of Oklahoma’s agricultural industry and rural population, and provides educational, legislative and cooperative programs across the state. AFR Insurance provides automobile, home, farm and life insurance with an emphasis on quality products and exceptional customer service. Available statewide, AFR Insurance is recognized as a leading domestic insurance carrier in the state of Oklahoma.