Similar to what is occurring on a global scale, Irish agriculture is populated by an older generation of farmers. Consequently, intergenerational family farm transfer is increasingly viewed as crucial to the survival, continuity and future sustainability of the family farm and agricultural sector. A review of existing research highlights how financial incentives that encourage succession and retirement from farming have stimulated little change in the behavioural intentions and attitudes amongst elderly farmers. This paper sets aside economic enticements and presents an insightful, nuanced analysis of the human factors that influence the process of transferring the family farm from the perspective of the senior generation. This research employs a multi-method triangulation design, consisting of selfadministered questionnaires in conjunction with complimentary Problem-Centred Interviews, to acquire data on the complex emotions involved in the process. The prominent themes to emerge from the empirical data are farmer’s concerns regarding potential loss of identity, status and control upon transferring management and ownership of the family farm and retiring. There is also a cultural expectation within the farming community that ‘farmers don't retire’. The paper concludes by suggesting that future policies and programmes encouraging family farm transfer must develop effective strategies that addresses the emotional well-being of elderly farmers.