‘You simply can’t beat breeding’: Three Limerick generations celebrate success

Cappamore family travel to Athenry for Irish Limousin Cattle Society’s annual bull sale

Donal O'Regan


Donal O'Regan

‘You simply can’t beat breeding’: Three Limerick generations celebrate success

Sliabh Felim Kenny, reserve senior champion at the Irish Limousin Society’s bull sale in Athenry with owners Sean and James Ryan

THREE generations from a well known Cappamore family travelled to Athenry for the Irish Limousin Cattle Society’s annual bull sale – and they certainly didn’t come home empty handed.

Paddy Ryan “Luke”, his son Sean and grandson, eight-year-old James set off with Sliabh Felim Kenny in tow.

The September 2015 son of the renowned Fieldson Alfy was crowned reserve senior champion at Athenry Mart.

Ann Curtin, PRO of the south west Limousin club, said Sliabh Felim Kenny’s dam – the homebred Sliabh Felim Delia is a daughter of Sliabh Felim Ursula who has the distinction of representing Ireland at the prestigious Paris Limousin International Cattle show in France back in 2005.

“Ursula was selected to travel based on her show record in Ireland. In 2004 she enjoyed immense success with an unbeaten record in her inaugural show season during which she was crowned All Ireland Calf Champion. She topped all her previous successes with an unprecedented first prize in her class in Paris.

“This truly remarkable heifer was a daughter of Nenuphar and the imported dam F056 Ostie. This was a remarkable achievement by winning as the show featured pedigree Limousin cattle from 10 European countries - France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Holland, Poland, Luxembourg and Ireland,” explained Ann.

Born in September 2015, Sliabh Felim Kenny boasts five star ratings in terminal index, docility, carcass weight and carcass conformation. After a flurry of bids, Kilrush dairy farmer John Gibson’s final bid of €4,700 secured this outstanding bull.

“The Sliabh Felim herd commenced breeding pedigree Limousin cattle in 2001. The herd, initially ran in conjunction with Ryan’s highly regarded dairy herd, was established upon the birth of Sliabh Felim Susie (a Festin daughter) from the foundation female Cave Court Nancy.

“In 2006 the dairy herd was disbanded, whereupon the suckler herd began to grow to its current size of 10 pedigree cows and 20 commercial cows,” said Ann.

Sliabh Felim Limousin genetics are much sought after and regularly top the show and sales rings both commercially and in the pedigree arena. John Gibson has run Limousin bulls with his dairy cows for the past number of years and saw Kenny as an ideal fit for his herd.

Along with their farming enterprise, Sean Ryan also works for Dairygold, both Paddy and Sean are tireless advocates for their local Cappamore Show. Paddy has served as secretary to the show since 1960.

He is by far the country’s longest-serving honorary show secretary. Cappamore Show, which is one of the foremost in the Munster region, will be held this year on Saturday, August 19.

In 2014, Paddy was honoured with the prestigious Paddy Fitzgerald Memorial Award for a lifetime of service to rural life. Three years on he shows no sign of stopping!

He believes the voluntary work being done by thousands of farmers and others in communities across rural Ireland is an extension of their families.

“In any local organisation it is not just a one man show. It is a community effort,” said Paddy, who his a lifelong member of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association.

He is married to Peggy and they have three grown up children – Gerard, Helen and Sean. Dr Gerard Ryan is highly regarded in cattle breeding circles. Along with breeding his own cattle, he is the general manager of Dovea Genetics.

Sean and his wife Aoife are parents to Megan, James and Grace, all of whom take an interest in both the farm and Cappamore show.

“It is great to see Limerick breeders producing Limousin bulls that are among the best in the country,” said Ann, on behalf of the south west Limousin club.