Timothy Bryans Remembered

posted Jul 14, 2020, 10:01 AM by Ciaran Culkin   [ updated Jul 14, 2020, 10:04 AM ]

As members of the Dexter Cattle Society, we wish to express our deepest sympathy to Peter and Lynn Bryans, of Donabate, Co. Dublin, on the passing of their dear son, Timothy. This message of sympathy is also expressed to Timothy's brothers and sisters as well as to a wide circle of family and friends.
His funeral service was held at the Riasc Centre, Feiltrim Road, Swords with burial in Donabate Cemetery.

From His Own Webpage  --  Pictures of Timmy



posted Dec 13, 2019, 12:42 PM by Ciaran Culkin   [ updated Jul 14, 2020, 10:04 AM ]

Winter Newsletter from the Chairman 2019

The current Republic of Ireland committee of this group have completed five years in office now. It is time to elect new officers and committee members. I would like to thank the outgoing committee for their five years of work during which time membership of the Dexter Cattle Society has increased from 96 to 199.
So, we need volunteers to form a new committee at our 2020 AGM, which will be held on Sunday 16th February at 2pm in the Hodson Bay Hotel, Roscommon Road, Athlone. I would ask the membership to think carefully if they feel able to help out and continue the great work in the growth of the National Herd of Dexter cattle.  Please get in touch with our Secretary, Anne Strahan, if you wish to volunteer to get involved in taking our group forward by participating in the following committees/working groups:
  1. Promotion and marketing of Dexter Beef to the wholesale/retail trade. We need three members to work on this together.
  2. Steer procurement for ABP Nenagh kill. Tom McDonald needs two assistants (1 from Connaught/Ulster and 1 from Leinster) to liaise with suppliers of quality finished steers and to arrange kill dates.
  3. Linear Assessment. A working group of three people is needed to liaise directly with Mr Andy Ryder, secretary of DCS UK, who will organize the Assessment Officer. Details of Linear Assessment are available on the DCS website.
  4. A working group of three or four people needed for showing and exhibiting. They would need to work with Agricultural Show Secretaries around the country in order to promote our Dexter cattle as widely as possible.
  5. We hope to set up three provincial committees, one each for Connaught/Ulster, Leinster and Munster. This is to help new members in each province to get up to speed with knowledge and the opportunity to network with members on a county/provincial basis.

The Dexter Cattle Herd has expanded rapidly in the past five years. Up until now the demand was greater than the supply. The gap is closing, so it is important that new outlets be found for the increasing supply of livestock.  This is the reason why we need members to step up to the mark and play a part in finding new outlets for our beef.

We have a premium beef product which needs to be promoted to the public at every opportunity. Current committee working groups need assistance from members in order to lighten the load, and to invigorate the effort through member participation.
Linear assessment is used as a method to improve the quality of our breeding stock. Members put their best cows and bulls forward for assessment. The scheme is managed by the DCS and details are available on their website, DCS, UK. 

Showing is a shop window for our Dexter Breed and is a way of promoting it to the public

Wishing all our members a very happy Christmas and a prosperous new year in 2020.

Sean Flannery 


The Farming Independent

posted Dec 5, 2019, 9:08 AM by Ciaran Culkin   [ updated Dec 7, 2019, 10:04 AM ]

The Group is grateful to The Farming Independent for permission to reprint the item which was published on Tuesday Nov 19th, 2019. Thanks also to the author Martin Ryan and photographer Steve Humphries.

Dexters-the lucrative little wonders of the world

With meat prices above €5/kg easy calving and an ability to thrive on marginal land, the dwarf native Irish breed is enjoying a revival, writes Martin Ryan

Getting a regular factory base beef price above €5/kg, is only a pipe dream for most producers of commercial beef cattle, but it has become a reality for Sean Flannery.

"This year I got €5.25/kg. It was €5.50 last year and I'd be hoping to see it back up again next year - and maybe a little better" says the North Kildare man.

Sean has a herd of dwarf Dexter cattle whose meat is attracting a growing following and helping build a speciality at home and abroad.

"It is a marbled meat that is selling very well at home and ABP are now marketing it into Belgium at a premium price. The only problem is that we have not enough of it to meet the demand" he says.

It is not just the price of the meat that makes Dexter an attractive option for farmers: this breed can be finished to beef off grass, they are very easy calving and they thrive on marginal land spending most of their lives outdoors. 

Sean Flannery and a growing number of other producers have found a lucrative niche in a depressed sector. Dexter are are one of the oldest native Irish breeds of beef animals; they had become almost extinct in this country but the revival is well under way.

Sean keeps a small Dexter herd on his limited lands at Donadee, Co Kildare and has been generous with his time in helping other breeders to build up herds.

Born into a farming family in Woodford, Co Galway, he recalls spotting Dexters at a street fair in the late 1950's. "I always had a great interest in farming and I went to agricultural college at Clonakilty in the sixties but  then I went into the nursery business" explained Sean who is now retired from the nursery business and devotes his time to looking after his Dexters.

"I suppose it all started for me when I attended the gathering of Dexter breeders in Dundrum in Tipperary in 2013. People came from all over the world to that gathering, not because they were Irish but because they had Irish Dexter Cattle or had an interest in the breed" he explained.

Sean always had an interest in rare breeds and had kept both Connemara and Kerry ponies as a hobby. "At that time they were trying to revive the Irish Rare Breeds Society and I got interested in that, although that never really got off the ground he says.

I acquired the first of my Dexters in 2014 from two herds in Co Kildare and went on to build the herd, sell some foundation stock to other breeders, and finish some of the male animals to commercial beef.

The Bord Bia certified Quality Assured commercial beef animals are slaughtered at the 

ABP factory at Nenagh where suppliers are currently being paid €5.25/kg.  ABP is exporting the Dexter beef to Belgium where a steady market has been developed at a premium price.

The kill-out can ranges from 50-56pc of live weight with the typical carcase at under 30 months around 200kg on the factory line. Sean says the breed is extremely suited to marginal land, conservation grazing and organic farming. "They are very hardy and will live outside with a bit of shelter which is what they like; they are extremely healthy and easy calving", he says. "They finish very easily on grass producing a marbled meat that is very much in demand and commanding a premium price which gives them a reasonable return, even for their small carcase". The average herd is currently around ten cows according to a recent survey of the breed.

Four years ago Sean became chairman of the Irish Dexter Breed Society. Since then there has been a steady growth in the number of Irish herds registered. Having doubled over a three year period to 170 in 2018, it is now up to 200 herds in the Republic. "Last year there were 800 purebreds registered, and there would be quite a few purebred non registered on the farms. This year we should hit 900 and by next year we should be registering 1,000", Sean says.

In October the Dexter Society (UK and Ireland) AGM and Conference was held for the first time Kildare. The meeting had added significance for Sean Flannery when the attendance included David Williams breeder of the stock bull on his farm, Gaveston Normandie who asked to see the Kildare herd. "Gaveston Normandie is an exceptionally good Dexter bull  originally imported by another breeder, when David Williams travelled with the bull to Ireland and has recently sold Dexter bulls to Switzerland" explained Sean.

"I bought Gaveston Normandie in 2014 from another breeder getting out, Pierce Dunne, Athy and the first animals for my herd came from Basil Velentine, Two Mile House, Naas, owner of the Flemington Herd" he added.




posted Oct 4, 2019, 4:35 AM by Ciaran Culkin   [ updated Nov 15, 2019, 11:32 AM ]

Next date for slaughter scheme is: 
    Monday, December 9th
        Monday, November 18th
            Monday, October 21st

Animals booked in can be delivery to factory in Nenagh by 
11:30am on day of slaughter or 9:00pm on the day before?


            Animals should be pure bred dexter,
            should be good quality and quality assured, 
            aged between 24 and 30 months




posted Sep 27, 2019, 3:16 AM by Ciaran Culkin   [ updated Sep 29, 2019, 9:48 AM ]

Press Release DCS AGM


The Dexter Cattle Society UK AGM is coming to Ireland on Saturday 12th October 2019. AGM will be held at St Kevin’s GAA Pavilion, Staplestown, Donadea, Naas, Co Kildare, Eircode W91 Y653.

The Dexter Cattle Society UK represents 1200 members in total of which circa 200 members are in the Republic of Ireland with another 100 members in Northern Ireland. Membership has been increasing steadily both in ROI and NI in the past decade. In recognition of this the DCS has decided to hold the 2019 AGM in the Republic of Ireland for the first time.

Attendance will include Dexter Breeders from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The AGM starts at 10:30am with a conference at 2:30pm. The Theme of the conference is Dexter Cattle Breed, Past, Present and Future.

There is a dinner at 6:00pm where Dexter Beef Roast is on the menu. 

In order to accommodate members who are traveling home after dinner the meal time has been brought forward to 6:00pm.

The DAFM, Bord Bia, ABP Nenagh and Brady Meats are supporting the AGM And Conference. There are 3-4 speakers with a question and answer session afterwards.

The Dexter Breed is a native Irish Breed and evolved from the Kerry Cattle. Dexters were exported to England in the 1880’s and from there spread throughout the World. In the following 100 years, 1900-2000 the Breed all but disappeared from Ireland and had to be re-introduced from the UK.

Dexter Beef is a prime product which is increasing in popularity on restaurant and hotel menus. 

Dexter steers are achieving prices of €5.25 - €5.50 per kg dead weight.

AGM is for members only.

Reporters welcome to Conference.


Sean Flannery

Chairman Republic of Ireland Group

00 353 87 2416646


Remember Tim

posted Sep 26, 2019, 1:36 AM by Ciaran Culkin   [ updated Sep 26, 2019, 9:18 AM ]


The entire area in the vicinity of Dromore West in Sligo and much further afield has been shocked by the news of the sudden death of Tim Birdsall on Tuesday, May 7th, 2019
We are forever indebted to Tim for the design, setup and development of this website.
Tim also provided the training necessary for the upkeep, operation and ongoing running of the website. 
Tim was always obliging and always helpful whenever his assistance was required.

We wish to sympathise most sincerely with his loving wife and sons and extended family.

Tim, may you rest in peace.


                      At the regional meeting in Crosmolina on June 16th, a motion of sympathy to
                                                     Tim's wife and family was passed.




Autumn Newsletter 2019

posted Sep 12, 2019, 12:52 PM by Ciaran Culkin   [ updated Feb 26, 2020, 12:11 PM ]

ROI Dexter Cattle Group – Autumn Newsletter

2019 is another successful year for the ROI Group with over 115 members and more in the process of joining. Membership of the Dexter Cattle Society UK (DCS) is now over 170 Irish breeders and is increasing steadily year on year.

The Dexter Beef Kill is also gaining momentum where we are expecting a big increase in numbers this Autumn. Special  thanks is due to Tom McDonald for co-ordinating the supply of Dexter steers into ABP factory in Nenagh. Thanks also to all members for your cattle which are most important as the size and capacity of our Dexter Herd is increasing steadily annually.

AGM - Dexter Cattle Society UK is coming to Ireland for its AGM to be held at St Kevin’s GAA Pavilion Staplestown, Donadea, Co Kildare. The ROI Group is hosting the AGM on Saturday 12th October at 10:30am.
A Conference on the Dexter Cattle Breed Past, Present and Future will be held in the afternoon. Dinner will be served on the Saturday evening with music and dancing.

Members attending the AGM & Conference and wishing to make a payment using their own online banking can use the following;

Name on Account:     Dexter Cattle Society

BIC:    NWBK GB 2L               IBAN:    GB03 NWBK 6014 3044 3649 97

Appeal--- We are appealing to all our ROI Members to attend the AGM Conference and Dinner. It is a great opportunity to meet the DCS Secretary and staff and DCS Council Trustees.

The ROI Group has many relatively new members. It is the first time that the DCS AGM has come to the Republic of Ireland and we need your support to make the event a success. This is your chance to meet members from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The AGM has been held once in Northern Ireland, so this is a rare occasion. 

Ulster Regional Meeting on 17/8/19 was again held in Gosford Park, Market Hill, Co Armagh with twenty members in attendance. We had an enjoyable day watching Dexters being shown on a sunny day. Two of our members attended a Farm Walk on 24/08/19 at McCullough’s Farm in Hollywood,  Co. Down with over 100 Northern Ireland members in attendance. A Barbeque was enjoyed afterwards with Dexter Burgers on the menu.

Exhibiting and Showing of Dexters

Dexters were shown at 2 shows, Bonniconlon and Royal Meath Show in Trim.
Dexters were exhibited at around 10 additional shows.


Tullamore Show – We had short and non-short cow and calf in separate pens. There was huge interest with definite enquires and interests. It was a shame that the exhibition was not supported by our membership. Thanks to the Droimeann Cattle Society exhibitors for giving a handout during busy periods.

                                                                                                                           Sean Flannery
                                                                                                                           Chairman RoI Group



posted Sep 7, 2019, 4:30 AM by Ciaran Culkin   [ updated Sep 7, 2019, 4:37 AM ]



                 Sean Flannery (Chairman of DCS-RoI group) assisting Margaret & Henry Judge
                                                    With their prize winning Dexters .
                                                              Oxmount Martha
                                                              Oxmount Suzie
                                                              Oxmount Snowman

Niall Culkin & Tara Crawford with Kilgarvan Cairn Mor



posted Aug 6, 2019, 2:24 PM by Ciaran Culkin   [ updated Sep 23, 2019, 1:12 PM ]

Bonniconlon Show

The Bonniconlan show, being one of the biggest and best in the country, again did Bonniconlan proud with a fantastic display of organisation, planning, volunteering and working together. The Dexter Society is very grateful to the Bonniconlan Show committee for their efforts in promoting dexter cattle; they were the first in hosting dexter classes. 

Although the number of dexters present at the show was low, 
they generated quite an interest and several people were 
enthusiastic about the small animals, acquiring more information 
and starting a herd. 

The Dexter Cattle Judge for the day was Ryan Lavery, Aghalee co Antrim, 22 years of age. He is a second generation farmer alongside his grandfather on 35 acres on the shores of lough Neagh. They run the Derryola Herd of Dexter cattle, comprising of 12 pedigree cows with all taken to beef, alongside a few commercial store cattle. The herd was established in 2006 and regularly competes in the show circuit in N.Ireland, having won numerous championships over the years. Most recent being Balmoral and Lurgan show with current stock bull. He has been judging offically for The Dexter Cattle society for two years having qualified as the youngest judge ever after a two year training program. He is a current committee member of the NI Dexter Group. He has also recently graduated from Queens University Belfast with a BSc Hons degree in Agricultural Technology. Currently he is Farm Manager at Kerrib Farm in Portadown, Co Armagh which has a dairy herd run alongside a waste recycling business.


There were four dexter classes for competition;

        Purebred Dexter Cow; sponsored by Michael Melody
        Purebred Dexter Bull or Heifer Calf sponsored by Bonniconlan Show
        Purebred Dexter Bull, any age sponsored by Dexter Cattle Society
        Purebred Dexter Maiden Heifer sponsored by Dexter Cattle Society

Liam  O'Halloran & William                                                  Niall Culkin & Tara Crawford & Judge
with Scotsborough Dotty, July & Iota                                   with Kilgarvan Cairn Mor

        Liam O'Halloran with Scotsborough Dotty                   Will O'Halloran with Scotsborough July

The Results:

Purebred Dexter Cow
Winner, Oxmount Martha
Owner - Henry Judge
Handler - Henry Judge
Second, Scotsborough Dotty
Owner - Will O'Halloran
Handler - Liam  O'Halloran

Purebred Dexter Bull or Heifer Calf
Winner, Scotsborough July
Owner - Will O'Halloran
Handler - Ciaran Culkin
Second, Oxmount Suzie
Owner - HenryJudge
Handler - HenryJudge

Purebred Dexter Bull any age
Winner, Killgarvan Cairn Mor
Handler - Niall Culkin
Second, Oxmount Snowman
Owner - Henry Judge
Handler - Henry Judge

Purebred Dexter Maiden Heifer
Winner,  Scotsborough Iota    
Owner - Will O'Halloran
Handler - Will O'Halloran

Purebred Dexter Champion
Killgarvan Cairn Mor

Reserve Champion Dexter 
Oxmount Martha

         Oxmount Snowman - Pushing his weight around                                              Martha & Suzie  (we can fix it)




posted May 29, 2019, 12:34 PM by Ciaran Culkin   [ updated May 30, 2019, 3:36 AM ]

ROI Dexter Cattle Group

Summer Newsletter 2019

Dear Members

The recent Dexter Mart Sale in Drumshanbo on 18/5/19 was most disappointing with only one entry of a nice quality young bull and some poor-quality animals. This was very unfortunate as there were buyers present but not enough stock available to purchase.
                    Oisin Dolan and Keith Mullaney, auctioneers in Drumshanbo mart achieving the best price for a dexter bull

The ABP/Bord Bia Kill is proceeding with first kill in early May of 17 animals and second kill planned for end of May. Supply is on the scarce side. It is vitally important that ROI group members support our Beef Kill in ABP Nenagh. Members who have Dexter steers ready for slaughter should get in touch with Tom McDonald Phone (086) 2544655 to arrange entry for kill.

This year some of our members are exhibiting at the Cork Show, The Mount Briscoe Rare Breed Show in Daingean Co Offaly and the Tullamore Show while other members are showing at Bonniconlon Co Mayo, on 5/8/19; the Royal Meath Show in Trim Co Meath is on 1/9/19. 
The ROI Group are sponsoring 3 Dexter classes at the Bonniconlon Show at a cost of €540.

We have purchased a second pop up tent plus banners, so that we can have a presence at as many shows as possible. This decision was taken at the Munster Meeting at Ballyvourney, Co Cork where we had a very successful meeting. We visited Sean Dineens herd of quality dexters and we were treated to a fine supper before we set out for home, thanks to Sean Dineen and Family.
Our Connaught meeting will be in (near) Ballina Co Mayo hosted by Sean McHugh on 16/6/19. We hope to attend 2 Farm visits after our meeting which starts at 2pm.

We intend to go back to the Rare Breeds Trust Show & Sale on 17/8/19 at Gosford Park Markethill Co Armagh. This is an opportunity to see Dexters being shown by the Northern Ireland Dexter Group. A Leinster Meeting is planned for October with date to be decided.

The Dexter Cattle Society UK are coming to Ireland to hold their AGM on 12/10/19 in St Kevin’s GAA Club House in Staplestown Donadea Co Kildare. 
The AGM is on the Saturday morning with a ½ day conference in the afternoon, followed with an evening meal, with Dexter Roast on the menu. Dexter Members from UK, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland will be in attendance. Please make an effort to attend as it should be a memorable occasion for all Dexter breeders and owners. Speakers will include Tom McDonald, Greg Walsh and Duncan McIntire. 

After evening meal there will be musical entertainment including singing and dancing. Details will be sent out by DCS Office for bookings etc.

Sean Flannery Chairman ROI Group



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