The Living Countryside

Short film highlighting long lost farming memories and NI's native birds

It comes as no surprise that the last 40 years have brought about huge changes to agriculture and the fortunes of the people and birds that rely on it.

To capture this development, the RSPB, Young Farmers' Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) and CultureNorthernIreland have created a unique slideshow.

Combining black and white photographs from the archives at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, colour stills of birds, bird song and traditional music, the slideshow gives a unique insight into the close relationship between wildlife and farming.

The show was screened for the first time at the RSPB’s annual reception at the Balmoral Show in May.

'The RSPB commemorates its 40th anniversary in Northern Ireland this year,' said Stephanie Sim, of the RSPB. 'Since we work so closely with the agricultural community, we thought that it would be fantastic to celebrate this by looking at farming over this time, and the birds which rely on farmland to survive.'

Although the story for birds – and people – could be better, Ms Sim said that massive steps had been taken over the past five years, with the importance of the environment and the critical role that farmers play in it being increasingly recognised.

Ailish Cullen, of the YFCU, said: 'We are delighted to be involved in this interesting project to document how farming practices have changed. By having the slideshow up on the web we hope that all our members and their families can enjoy it.'

CultureNorthernIreland was more than happy to provide the technical know how for the project, as well as hosting the finished work.

'By hosting the slideshow on our site we hope to show visitors from home and abroad that agriculture and wildlife in Northern Ireland aren’t mutually exclusive,' said David Lewis, director of CultureNorthernIreland.

'Using digital technology and the Internet is an exciting way of getting the message across, and Young Farmers are as up to date in this regard as anyone else.'