Open Day for Irish Holstein Friesian Association

The Irish Holstein Friesian Association ( Open Day was held on June 20, at the “Swiftsheath” herd of Tom and Maura Murphy and family near Jenkinstown, Co. Kilkenny

The Irish Holstein Friesian Association ( Open Day was held on June 20, at the “Swiftsheath” herd of Tom and Maura Murphy and family near Jenkinstown, Co. Kilkenny

A large crowd of over 2,500 were in attendance with dairy farmers travelling from every corner of the country , Northern Ireland, Britain and Canada.

Charles Gallagher, chief executive and Kathleen Kelly president of IHFA welcomed everyone to the Open Day.

The official opening was performed by John Bryan, president of IFA. Other dignitaries include Liam Aylward MEP, David Tomlinson and his wife Sheila from Bilsow herd in Britain.

It was a family day out with volunteer members of the local Conaghy Shamrocks GAA club distributing cups of coffee and tea and a range of tasty sandwiches to visitors. Ice cream was sponsored by Downe Syndrome Ireland with donations going to this worthy charity.

Inter Club Stock Judging Finals:

The serious business of the day was the Interclub stock judging, YMA stock Judging, Macra stock judging and presentation of the national Herds Competition winners.

Thanks to Tom Kelly, Monamore, Kevin Flynn -Reary and John C Murphy-Goldenfield for officiating as the master judges for the stock judging

After the National stock judging competition Tom Murphy presented cows from the top families at Switsheath to include the Lulu, Mia, Fran, Paula, Dainty and Susie Mist. Spectators were awe stuck by the quality of the stock. This was reflected in the prices paid for young stock bred from these cow families later in the evening.

It is a great tribute to Tom, Maura and family to field three stock judging teams of six cows each from a small herd of 70 cows. The herd was established as a pedigree Holstein Friesian herd in 1980 and the “Swiftheath” prefix was registered by Tom and Maura.

Tom was immersed in Friesian Pedigree breeding since his youth. His father,s herd, “Corstown,” was first registered in 1965. Pedigree breeding ran in his veins so it was a natural progression to set up a pedigree Holstein Friesian herd. He brought some cow families from the home herd at Corstown and graded up the better cows on the farm.

He further purchased cow families from prominent breeders in Southern Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK. This was added to in later years with purchases of embryos from top cow families in Canada and USA.


There were workshops on High Value Milk. Joe Patton and Pat Moylan of Teagasc gave a presentation on milk composition and the value of protein. Finola McCoy, Animal Health Ireland, Shane McElroy, Glanbia, and Tom Ryan, Teagasc Kildalton College dealt with hygiene, SCC and Milking machine maintenance all part of the Cell Check initiative.

The open day was well attended by milk producers, pedigree breeders, trade, Macra na Feirme , Teagasc personnel and the agri –media. 70 commercial firms and organisations had stands. These included Greenvale, Glanbia-Gain Feeds, JFC Manufacturing, Volac, KW Forage, Duggan Steel, ABS Ireland, Alltech, Bolgers, Dairymaster, DeLaval, Dovea Genetics, , Eurogene, FBD, Lely Robotics, Osmonds, Packo Fullwood, Progressive Genetics, etc.


IHFA competitions included National Herds competition (winter and spring calving -under and over 70 categories), and National Stock judging (under 18 plus 18-30 age group), all attracted huge interest as did the EBI and the Gold and Diamond awards.

Swiftsheath Celebration Sale:

As part of the IHFA Open Day events on farm, a special sale of 27 deep pedigreed young heifers took place representing the best cow families in the Swiftsheath Herd. The standard was excellent and the sale attracted huge interest from Northern and Southern breeders interested in quality stock and embryos from this award winning Holstein Herd.

A very large crowd witnessed a fast trade with 25 heifers selling to average E2,250.

The sale’s top price was 4,600gns for a potential show calf, Swiftsheath Bluesky Fran born November 2011. Her dam is full sister to Lumville Fran- junior heifer in milk in RUAS Winter Fair 2011. This calf went to the Seaview herd of Denis and Claire White in Cork.

The Windbrook Mia was purchased by Patrick Gaynor, Mullaghlands, Co Monaghan. This was a big time show calf, January born out of Ballythomas Adolph Mia Ex 92.

The next highest price was paid for a calf due to be born by Talent from the Shottle Susie Mist. She is potential 8 generation of VG/EX. She was purchased by Liam and Sandra Murphy, Evergrange herd, Co Carlow.

The Monamore herd of Tom and Rhona Kelly, Drogheda purchased a striking calf from the Olivia family by GW Atlantic. Other prices include €2850 for a Man-O –Man from the Fran, €2600 for the Samuelo Lulu and the Bolton Averil. All in all an excellent trade!

The winners in the Unswe 70 cow category

1st Damien Wynne, Slievebricken, Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan

2nd Dermot Jackson, Borkle, Kiltegan. Co. Wicklow

3rd Denis and Claire White, Duneen, Clonakilty, Co. Cork


Denis and Claire White, Duneen, Clonakilty, Co. Cork

OVER 70 Cow Category

1st John and Ricky Barrett, The Elms, Adamstown, Ballinhassig, Co. Cork

2nd Paul Hannon, Friarstown, Crecora, Co Limerick

3rd Brochan Cocoman, Kilwarden, Kill, Co Kilkenny


Christy O’Connor, Kiltulla, Athenry, Co. Galway.