Growing up on a suckler farm combined with her strong farming roots sowed the seed for the Caroline Farrell, a well-esteemed Longford native.
Caroline, the Longford winner of the Rose of Tralee in 2005 is a daughter of country and western star, Seamus Farrell.
The Longford native set her sights on veterinary medicine from her early years and worked tirelessly throughout her second-level education to achieve her ultimate goal. Caroline explored the veterinary field further by completing work experience with her local vets at Longford Animal Health Centre.
Third time’s a charm
After Caroline failed to secure a place on Ireland’s only Veterinary Medicine degree programme offered by University College Dublin (UCD), she repeated her Leaving Certificate to find that the course had increased by a further ten CAO points. Caroline accepted her second choice and enrolled on UCD’s Physiotherapy course, but did not close the door on her veterinary vision.
“I knew that I didn’t want to do anything else but Veterinary. During that year, I heard about Budapest’s vet med course through a friend of a friend. I looked into it; headed off and didn’t look back.” Caroline Farrell told Catherina Cunnane of That’s Farming.
Caroline completed the five-year course at University of Veterinary Medicine, Budapest and moved back to her native home-soil in 2010. She immediately secured a position in a mixed practice with Gráinne Kavanagh in Rathdowney, Co. Laois and has been working at Auburn Veterinary Hospital, Mullingar for the past four-and-a-half-years.
“When I went into Veterinary, my initial interest was cattle and throughout college, I developed an interest in the small animal end of it,” Caroline explained.
“Veterinary is a fantastic job. It is a big commitment and can be challenging - emotionally; mentally and physically.” Caroline revealed.
“Sometimes when things don’t go well, it can be very disheartening, but when you get good results, it cannot be beaten. There is nothing like seeing an animal getting better, especially against the odds.”
Women in Ag
Caroline believes that farmers have a positive attitude towards female vets and she has been satisfied with her experience in her previous and present practice. She highlighted that veterinary is no longer a male-denominated profession, as several females are now getting involved in the sector.
“Now that there are so many females involved, they don’t even bat an eyelid as they know that women are capable of doing the job just as well as our counterparts,” Caroline said.
“Some of the work is physically tough for both men and women, for example – putting in a calf bed. You just get on with it and being a female vet has never been an issue for me.”
With close to eight years’ experience as a qualified and practising veterinary practitioner, Caroline secured one of her first awards in recent weeks, which is one of many stand-out milestone memories. She claimed the highly-sought after Large Animal Vet of the Year title at the recent Irish Vets Award spectacular black-tie gala dinner and presentation.
“I was honoured to receive this award. I first heard about the awards numerous months ago when the clinic received an email which stated that I had received nominations from some clients.”
“I received further correspondence numerous months later to say that we were shortlisted and that I had made the final five,” Caroline said.
Looking forward to the future, Caroline will continue to progress and advance in her career. Satisfied in her current practice, she has intentions to further her knowledge and studies when the opportunity arises and would not rule out undertaking a graduate certificate in the future.
“I am quite happy in my current practice – there is a lovely working environment here. I will continue to do the best job that I possibly can. As long as I am physically able to, I would like to stay in practice for as long as possible.” Caroline concluded.
If you are a Veterinary Nurse or a Veterinary Practitioner and you wish to share your story, get in touch – email firstname.lastname@example.org – you may be featured on That’s Farming next week.