This is my first venture into the blogging world. It has been something that I had wanted to do for quiet some time now but kept putting it off. Finally I took the plunge and decided it was about time to start!
Let me begin with a little background information. Our farm is located in Co. Kerry in Ireland and it was originally bought by my Grandfather and Grandmother in the late 1940’s where they then moved into the farmhouse to live with the previous owner. An old farming Batchelor who, even though he sold the farm, he was to live in the farmhouse. My grandparents reared pigs,turkeys, hens, ducks and dairy cattle along with a horse who was used for all the farm labour. My grandmother was a fantastic cook who worked as a chef for many years. She was famous for her apple tarts, bread and scones. They reared the few pigs they had for meat and made their own black puddings like most farms back then did. My father then took over the farm and together we farm 32 acres of farmland. For many years my father had a suckler cattle herd made up of a mixure of breeds of all sorts. Mainly commercial. But 14 years ago he got his hand on two Droimeann calves and thats were it all began....
Droimeann (DroimFhionn) cattle are are a rare ancient Irish breed of cattle. They originate from the southwest coast of Ireland. They were once widespread throughout Ireland but today there are less than twenty breeders of Droimeann Cattle known to the DroimFhionn cattle society. Nowadays they are mainly found in the south west region of Ireland, particularly south Kerry. They are recorded in the very early written records of Ireland, they even have a song written about them (An Droimeann Donn Dílis) and are mentioned in the Brehon laws. They are a small to medium framed dual purpose breed. They are generally very good natured, gentle docile and good milkers. Droimeanns are a very hardy breed and are easy calvers. Their temperament is usually very placid and they are also regarded as highly intelligent.
|some of our beautiful Droimeann cows|
The coat of the Droimeann is colour sided (often black but may also be red or brown) with a white triangle on the back with the apex towards the neck and extending all the way down to the rump.The tail is white and the underside is also white. Coat colour variants occur which range from all black to white with dark points including ears and around muscle. The Droimeann (DroimFhionn)co-operate society was set up in 2007 to help preserve and raise awareness of this ancient breed.
|Our Droimeanns enjoying the sun|
|A beautifully marked heifer from our herd|
|One of our Droimeanns just after calving|
|One of our Droimeann cows with her red Droimeann Heifer calf|
My father had a great love for this breed ever since he was a youngster. He recalled himself and his uncle buying a Droimeann bull calf at Cahersiveen fair and bringing him home.
Jerome Leary was a man who owned a very special Droimeann cow named Big Bertha (17 March 1945 – 31 December 1993). She was a Droimeann cow who held two Guinness World Records. She was the oldest cow recorded, dying just three months short of her 49th birthday, and she also held the record for lifetime breeding, having produced 39 calves. She became a celebrity and raised thousands for charity, she was often the star attraction at any parades or fairs and was known to have the odd sneaky tipple of whisky to help calm her nerves before any big event.
My father decided to approach Jerome Leary and purchased a weanling bull calf and weanling heifer calf both of which Big Bertha would have been their grandmother. It was from that bull and a few more purchases that my father established his Droimeann herd. We now own 16 Droimeann Cows, 3 highland cows, a Bó Raidarc cow and the odd Shorthorn here and there, along with a few Sheepdogs, a Weimaraner, a cat, a small flock of crazy sheep and a horse (we're always kept busy).
It was my father’s determination to help preserve this beautiful breed of cow that always inspired me. 14 years later I’m still lovestruck with the breed. Below are pictures of that very weanling heifer he purchased from Jerome Leary. This is Big Bertha's grandaughter 'Leary'. She is 14-15years old and as you can see from the pictures she looks as good as any of our younger cows. She is an excellent cow, with a fine 4 month old Droimeann bull calf at foot and she is due to calf later on in the year.
|Leary with her 2011 born calf|
|Dad admiring his pride and joy|
I immediately fell in love with the breed. Their markings and temperament were delightful and as a child I made my fair share of ‘pets’ out of them. I have always loved farming. For as long as I can remember I spent every possible second on the farm. Whilst in school and college I found that I could not wait for the end of the week to once again be able to spend time there. And so each week we set to work, magnetizing the future that we wanted for the farm.
This blog is to share memories, stories and pictures from our life on the farm. I hope you enjoy.
“Agriculture not only gives riches to a nation, but the only riches she can call her own”