Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

17.57 21 Sep 2020


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A farmer says he found a large crowd of people having a 'full-on party' when he arrived to harvest crops on his land yesterday morning.

Farmer and broadcaster Darragh McCullough discovered "hundreds of people milling around" when he reached the land.

Speaking on The Hard Shoulder, Darragh said the land in question is a 30-acre field with an old ruin in the middle of it.

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'Hundreds of people milling around' - Farmer discovers rave on his land

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There was a crop of beans planted on the land this year, which reached "perfect ripeness" at the weekend.

The harvest on the land is a challenging process as the field can't be accessed through the normal roadway - so it has to be reached by a local beach during low-tide instead.

Darragh explained: "By yesterday morning, we were all set - we had all our machines in place, ready to rock.

"I came down to the beach at about 7am, just after dawn, to make sure nobody was going to block up the car park or access point onto the beach."

However, he said there were a few warning signs as he approached the land yesterday morning.

He explained: "As I was coming down the road yesterday morning, I noticed a gang of lads at the side of the road at a random bus stop in the middle of nowhere. When I got down to the entrance of the beach, there were a few cars parked up.

"I got around to the gate into the field... and there were a couple of lads having a fag, holding a couple of beer cans. My heart sank.

"As I crested the brow of the hill, the sight that greeted me was taxis, vans... hundreds of people, all milling around inside of the ruin."

As he got closer to the ruins, he realised there was also a "guy furiously trying to pack away his decks and a huge big sound system".

Darragh said: "This had been a full-on party, a rave.

"I didn't know what to think. My blood was obviously up... at the same time I was slightly fearful. If I wade in here, what's going to happen?

"I didn't know if I was in danger, or in danger of having a full altercation where the police would have to be called and harvesting would grind to a halt. Bear in mind, I had about €10,000 worth of crop just at the right stage for harvesting in the field... we couldn't afford to hang around."

'Nice crowd'

While Darragh was initially concerned about confronting the group, it transpired they were a 'nice crowd' who didn't want to cause trouble.

He said: "I said 'guys, this is over - party is over. Clear off. You've got to get out right now'. They literally did that - there was no abuse, no shouting. They even had black bin-liners, and they went around and picked up all their cans and beer bottles.

"Not one of them was Irish - they were all Brazilian.

"If I was to wish for another gatecrashing party, they'd be top of my list."

Darragh didn't initially think of the COVID-19 risk - but says that didn't seem to be a concern for the crowd itself, as there "wasn't a single mask to be seen".

He said: "There were couples canoodling, and plenty of hugging.

"One of the lads I was kind of escorting off the site was trying to give me a hug, as he thought I was such a sound farmer. That was the first point where COVID dawned on me."

Despite the unusual encounter yesterday morning, Darragh said the harvest was completed as planned - so he's 'pretty happy' today.


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