Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Rosie

On a slightly sad note, Killrowan Farm and our family lost one of our most beautiful,loyal little characters. Rose our Sheep & Cattle dog passed away on December 28th aged 13 years. She always had a smile and a wag of her tail for us. Belle our Sheepdog pup never left Rose's side when she was ill. We will all miss you Rosie! You were a fantastic companion!





Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Droimeann (Droim Fhionn) mentioned in History, Folklore, Songs and Poetry

The Droimeann (Droim Fhionn)is a breed which has been associated with ancient Celtic history as far back as 1000 years ago where it existed commonly all over Ireland. Evidence for this breeds existence is supported through famous poetry and songs from this era of Celtic/Irish history. The 920AD poem ‘Bo Bithbliacht Meic Lonan’ and such ancient songs as ‘AnDroimFhionn Donn Dilis’ and ‘Ailliu na Gamhna’ all contained descriptions of DroimFhionn cattle. This breed would surely have played a large role in Irish society throughout this time period where the economic structure of the country was heavily reliant on its livestock resources. 
The breed is well attested in ancient Irish lore and also the Brehon laws, songs and poetry. Early paintings of Irish cattle and even early photographs of fairs also attest to their existence and cement their place in the history of this Magical Island.

Two of the most well known songs referring to the breed are A Dhroimeann donn dílis and Bó na Leath Adhairce (One-Horned Cow)- Click on the links below to listen to these beautiful songs.



A Dhroimeann Donn Dílis
A dhroimeann donn dílis, a shíoda na mbó,
cá ngabhann tú san oíche is cá mbíonn tú sa ló?
Bíonn mise ar na coillte is mo bhuachaill i m’ chomhair
agus d’fhág sé siúd mise ag sileadh na ndeor.
Níl fearann, níl tíos agam, níl fíonta ná ceol,
níl flatha i m’ choimhdeacht, níl saoithe ná sló
ach ag síoról an uisce go minic sa ló
agus beathuisce agus fíon ag mo naimhde ar bord.
Dá bhfaighinnse cead aighnis, nó radharc ar an gcoróin
Sasanaigh a leidhbfinn mar a leidhbfinn seanabhróg
tré chnocaibh is tré ailtibh, is tré ghleanta dubha ceo
agus siú mar a shaorfainn mo dhroimeann donn óg.


Bó na Leath Adhairce (One-Horned Cow)
Híos cois na toinne 'sea beathaíodh mo chaora
Ag Diarmuid Ó Duilleán ó Bharra na hAoine
Mac dearthár athar dom a chuir le faill í
Easpa tobac a bhí ar an gcladhaire.

Bó, bó, bó na leath adhairce
Bó, bó, sí an tseana chaor adharcach
Bó, bó, bó na leath adhairce
Bó dhroimfhionn dhearg is ní fheadar cá bhfaighinn í.

B'fhearr liom ná scilling go bhfeicfinn mo chaora
'Teacht go dtí an doras ar maidin nó istoíche
Thálfadh sí bainne orm, bheathódh sí uan dom
Chuirfeadh sí jacketeen deas ar mo ghualainn.

Chonacsa beirithe í, chonac á roinnt í
Chuireas-sa dúil inti ach blaise ní bhfaighinn di
Ó nár dheas í, ó nár mheidhreach
Ó nár dheas í an tseana chaor adharcach.

Dá mbéinnse i rachmas, i ngradam is in oidhreacht
Thabharfainnse gini ar chúpla sladhas di
Ó nár dheas í, ó nár mheidhreach
Ó nár dheas í an tseana chaor adharcach.

D'íosfainn lán píce di, d'íosfainn lán oighin di
D'íosfainn straice den tseana chaor adharcach
Ó nár dheas í, ó nár mheidhreach
Ó nár dheas í an tseana chaor adharcach.

Photo of the day

Belle helping out with filling bags of firewood!!



Wednesday, 5 November 2014

The beginning of what we hope to be a long and wonderful relationship


Joe Harris CEO and founder of Ssangyong Motors Ireland is a big fan of what we do here at Killrowan Farm. Joe has been a good friend for many years and has kept a close eye on the farm's development. After chatting one day over coffee we realised that Killrowan Farm and Ssangyong Motors have many things in common, both are Young, Progressive and Innovative. We also share the same philosophy, to deliver a top quality end product and constantly strive to improve upon a solid foundation. "Perfection is a journey not a destination" quote Michael Foley 2014. A week after our chat this beauty arrived on the farm. To say we were blown away is an understatement. The vehicle, a Ssangyong Rexton Business edition is a fantastic machine. It has made the most mundane of farm tasks a pleasure to carry out. There is now a show of hands when the jeep needs to be used!! It is a quality vehicle and is built to last. In a word "Quality". Lets hope 2015 builds on the foundations laid in 2014 for both Killrowan Farm and Ssangyong Motors Ireland.Visit www.ssangyong.ie for further information - Michael Foley








Tuesday, 4 November 2014

How intensive farming and Wildlife can co-exist


Its been a busy few months here on KILLROWAN Farm. We are constantly trying to improve the Farm and create a sustainable high animal welfare enterprise. We have put a lot of work into both the lowland and the hill farm but there is still so much to improve upon. Mike and I both work full time off farm, while we would both love to be able to farm full time, currently it's just not financially viable. At present we are putting so much money into farm improvements that there is very little income from the farm. However we have a three year plan to turn this around.

We truly believe that there could be a lot more support to help farmers like ourselves, we are both passionate about wildlife and biodiversity and it is an integral part of how the farm works. We feel that farmers should be encouraged to have more Wildlife friendly farms with payments provided for doing so. If the urgent need to support our natural habitats is not addressed the next generation will be left with this generation's awful legacy.


We currently have  a wild bird habitat on the farm in the form of seed rich cover crop where wild birds are thriving. We've have seen all sorts of birds benefiting from this area and has also brought in some amazing birds of prey to the farm. We have nest boxes put up around the farm in order to encourage nesting. We are hoping to put up owl boxes in the near future.



We have seen and array of wildlife on the farm such as Rabbits, Hares,Foxes,Stoats,Red Squirrels, Hedgehogs,Bats,Owls, Buzzards, Pheasants, Sika and Red Deer and the list goes on! We also have a vast array of small birds and song birds. Our most recent lodgers appear to be Little Egrets. They have been observed feeding in the lower wet area of the farm on a weekly basis.  

The fox has always been an enemy on farms, but we find that with the large variety of wildlife for the fox to choose from they keep away from our hens and lambs. This in itself proves a point. Five years ago, before we started planting our wild bird areas and encouraging biodiversity we had a constant battle with Mr Fox!

 

Monday, 6 October 2014

Killrowan Farm in the media in recent months

Here at Killrowan Farm we have had an exciting few months. Back in May we were delighted to have Seán Mac a tSíthigh,Video Journalist for RTE/TG4 come to the farm and do a lovely piece on Droimeann cattle for TG4 news as Gaeilge (in Irish). He Spoke with my father and I about the breed and our cows. They seem to love the limelight!! The piece is below:



Seán was great to work with and we were delighted to have him on the farm

Then, 3 weeks ago, we had the privilege to have Ella McSweeney, a well known Irish radio and TV broadcaster and presenter for Ear to the Ground come to Killrowan Farm to do a radio interview about me, the farm and our cattle. Ella was a delight to spend time with and wonderful company. Her body of work speaks for itself. Ella will always be welcome at Killrowan Farm.

Ella speaking with my Father and I 



The Link for the Radio Interview is below:

POD CAST from Interview with Ella McSweeney on Today with Sean O' Rourke on RTE Radio 1


Saturday, 27 September 2014

Blog Overhaul!

Due to time constraints, I have previously been unable to give regular blog updates about us and what we are doing here at Killrowan farm.

This is going to change however, so please if you want to know more about our farm, the breeds we keep then stay tuned, as a massive overhaul of this blog will be taking place.

Here at Killrowan Farm, we feel that social media is a major tool  in farming as it  highlights the work that is involved in running a farm. With regards to our Irish rare breed of cattle the Droimeann we see it as an opportunity to highlight the importance of preserving this fantastic breed and getting it out to the public so they can see for themselves the characteristics of the breed and why we love them so much.

We would love to share our world with as many people as possible and truly believe that blogging is a fantastic way of doing this.

So as I said, please stay tuned and we will have plenty of updates on what we do here at Killrowan Farm.
Highland heifer and Droimeann cow here at Killrowan Farm

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Sad news as our oldest Droimeann cow Leary passes away



Last Wednesday was a very sad day on the farm as it marked the passing of Leary our oldest Droimeann cow here at Killrowan Farm
Leary
Leary was a Droimeann which my father had purchased from Jerome O' Leary the owner and breeder of the world's oldest cow Big  Bertha. He bought Leary as a weanling heifer in 1997 and she remained in the herd up until her death on Wednesday 17/09/2014
Leary with a previous Droimeann bull calf she reared


Leary was a fantastic cow and at the age of 17 had reared 14 healthy calves. We are very lucky that her last calf is a heifer which we will keep as a breeding cow on the farm to continue This remarkable bloodline.

Learys Heifer Calf
This heifer calf has been named after the place-name 'Gerah' where Jerome O Leary kept his herd of cows including world record holder Big Bertha, and where Leary (Big Bertha's Grand-daughter) came from.

Gerah
Gerah will remain here at Killrowan farm were hopefully she will prove herself as a cow just like her mother Leary proved time and time again.
Gerah who will remain here at Killrowan Farm

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Our Highland Cattle

Our Three pedigree Scotish Highland Girls

Back in 2011 we were lucky enough to add Scottish Highland Cattle to the farm. We purchased 3 Pedigree Scottish Highland heifers and imported them into the country. The first arrivals were imported from England and the third arrival came a few weeks later in from the Highlands of Scotland.
Our Droimeanns' meeting the highlands for the first time
Highland cattle are fantastic animals for their utilization of grass, hardiness,quality beef and docility. A lot of our neighbours were both amused and slightly scared of these new additions. We were told by some, that the horns would be a major safety issue and the rest of our cows and ourselves would be injured by them. It is safe to say that that couldn't be further from the truth. Highland cattle, like our Droimeann ladies are extremely docile and so pleasant to deal with. The way in which they manoeuvre their horns still amazes us. They love nothing better than a good scratch and are extremely inquisitive
We have been breeding our highland girls with a Droimeann bull and have been extremely impressed with the results. This year’s highland crosses are especially interesting as they have the Droimeann colouring of white body and red points but with the highlands coat.( Pictures of these calves will be posted soon) We feel they are cracking looking calves and as a crossbred have great potential for beef purposes as they combine the best characteristics from these two wonderful breeds.
'Fuzzpot' with the very first Highland X Droimeann calf 'Fat Tony' at 2 days old
Highland maiden heifer with Highland X Droimeann Heifer calf 
Fuzzpot with Fat Tony as a weanling
Back in November we purchased a Pedigree Scottish Highland yearling bull to join our Highland cows. We will be keeping them up in the hill farm separate from our Droimeann cows as we have a Droimeann bull with them.  We will be putting some of our Droimeann cows up on the hill  who are in the early stages of pregnancy to the Droimeann bull. Our plan at the moment with the Highland cattle is to establish a medium sized herd of pedigree cows and then breed some for pedigree calves and the remainder with the Droimeann for beef purposes.