Aurivo launches new book on the
history of farming in the North West of Ireland
In one of the most comprehensive research projects ever undertaken on farming west of the Shannon, Aurivo has commissioned a newly-published book which charts the history of Aurivo and farming in the West of Ireland.
Aurivo commissioned James Laffey to write Fields of Gold, and the award-winning author delivered a comprehensive 576-page account of Aurivo’s remarkable rise from humble beginnings to its position as one of the largest indigenous businesses in the West of Ireland, with an annual turnover in 2017 of €426 million, export markets in more than 50 countries and a staff of over 700.
James, a native of Foxford in Co Mayo who has been editor of the Western People since 2004, is the author of several award-winning books, including The Road to 51; which won the McNamee Award for Best GAA Publication in 2011 and Powering the West (co-written with Christy Loftus); which was voted Best Local Heritage Book at Listowel Writers’ Week in 2016.
“James Laffey was an inspired choice to author the book. He was brilliant to work with throughout the project and readers of the book will see that he is an absolutely gifted writer who has captured the whole essence of his brief and has brought previously unknown material to light through his meticulous research,” said Jim Kelly, who headed an editorial committee within Aurivo to manage the project.
“It will be a massive read and of huge interest to anyone with an association with the West and North West.”
Aurivo’s roots can be traced back to the late 19th century when co-operative creameries were established the length and breadth of rural Ireland, becoming the principal source of income for farming families along the western seaboard, helping many people to avoid the need to leave Ireland at a time of mass emigration.
In Fields of Gold, James Laffey traces the fascinating evolution of the co-operative movement in the West of Ireland across three centuries. Drawing on previously unpublished documents and interviews, he has produced a compelling narrative that takes readers from the lush fields of South Mayo and Galway to the Finn Valley in Donegal and from the Erris Peninsula to the Leitrim/Cavan border. The book is handsomely illustrated with over 250 pages of photographs.
Fields of Gold is an informative and inspiring reflection on the lives of past generations in the West; harking back to a very different era in rural Ireland when the can-do spirit of the co-operative movement emerged from communities still struggling to arise from the devastating effects of the Great Famine.
“One of my key objectives was to broaden the narrative to include the social history of the time,” James Laffey said. “Fields of Gold is primarily the story of farming in the North West of Ireland since the Land League, but it is also about social, political and economic life in a part of the country that enjoyed something of an agricultural revolution from the late 1800s onwards, having been decimated by the Great Famine a generation earlier.”
Aaron Forde, CEO of Aurivo, said the company was delighted to have led the creation of such an important publication. “The co-operatives were crucial to the farming revolution as they involved partnerships between people from different socio-economic and religious backgrounds,” he said. “In many villages, the co-operative creamery became the first example of indigenous industry and people had tremendous pride in their local co-operative, which remains to this day.”
As with Aurivo itself, Fields of Gold is a remarkable success story and great credit is due to James Laffey and the editorial committee at Aurivo for bringing it to the page.
Fields of Gold is available to purchase in all local bookshops, at Aurivo’s Homeland stores and online at www.homeland.ie at a cost of €30.
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