President Higgins has welcomed seven indigenous Dexter cattle to the grounds of Áras an Uachtaráin.
Peter Bryans of Donabate Dexter Farm visited Áras an Uachtaráin yesterday (Monday, September 20th, 2021).
The cattle will graze on the grounds of the Áras for three months as part of a programme to enhance the 130-acre site’s biodiversity.
The arrangement arises from the recommendations in a recent biodiversity audit, commissioned for President Higgins by the Office of Public Works and undertaken by researchers from Trinity College.
The audit recommended a sustainable growing regime for the Áras grounds:
- Firstly, combining appropriate mowing to reduce the nutrient load in the soil;
- Secondly, introducing grass-suppressing yellow rattle;
- Lastly, the presence of cattle to promote an improvement in the meadows’ biodiversity.
These measures aim to allow indigenous wildflowers to establish, with corresponding increases in fauna dependant on such a diversity of flora.
The cattle are normally based in North County Dublin. They are part of a sustainable grazing programme in Fingal County Council’s protected coastal lands.
It is envisaged that they will be at the Áras for a few months each year. Also, not having them present in late spring and summer allows the native flowers an opportunity to flourish and produce seeds.
— President of Ireland (@PresidentIRL) September 20, 2021
Dexter cattle trace their roots to 1776 in the south-western region of Ireland, having descended from predominately black cattle of the early Celts.
The breed is now present in various counties, including UK, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Belgium, Denmark and Germany.
Average mature cow weights varying from 300-350kgs and heights ranging from 82-107cm at the shoulders.
Furthermore, the breed is renowned for its terminal traits, with steers finishing off grass at 20-24-months-old without supplementary feeding.