A mammoth achievement
new breeds right up to the present. And after that we have the great variety of local continental breeds, their particular attributes and the often unique local traditions of husbandry,” he wrote.
From the origins of cattle, the layout is sectioned into breeds native to Ireland — such as the White Cow, the Brindled Cow, as well as Kerry, Dexter, Moiled and Droimeann — breeds introduced through Britain and the Channel Islands, the arrival of continental breeds 1965-1992, and the more recent arrivals. There is a fascinating section on the lesser known breeds, including the British White, the Speckle Park and Stabiliser. What breed most impressed him?
“The Parthenaise is probably the most dynamic breed society in France at the moment. The breed was almost extinct in France. They were down to 12 registered pedigree breeders when everyone got behind the breed because it was disappearing and, today, there are 60,000 Parthenaise cows in France,” he said.
“I found the breed society in France very efficient and they are also very efficient in Ireland and forward looking.
“Since 1990, the English farmers have hardly adopted any of the newer breeds from France. There are hardly any Aubracs in Britain, very few Parthenaise and very few Saler, but here they are thriving — and these farmers are only getting into gear at this stage.”
The beautifully-produced publication, Cattle Breeds In Ireland — A History is set to become a treasure in every library and the homes of livestock breeders across the country for generations to come.
Greg Walsh with his son Dick (left) and daughters Gemma and Claire at the book launch