Herd Profile: Glenfield Irish Moileds

Impressive Glenfield Irish Moileds fit perfectly into the beautiful landscape of Glenwherry.

As you drive up to the home of the McConnell family situated in the beautiful area of Glenwherry in the Antrim Hills the landscape is spectacular, it is easy to see why it is an area of outstanding and natural beauty with a mixture of uphill green pastureland and hill moorland. The variety of the landscape which has significant environmental quality provides distinctive and unique resources which has built a powerful relationship between the people, its environment and nature.

Three generations of the McConnell family live on the farm, farming runs in the family’s blood.  Between the three generations the McConnell’s share a true passion for farming and advocating for agriculture. Working together they share their skills and knowledge and experience not just with one another but also with anyone who also has a passion and interest in farming.  A truly diversified farm they milk cows alongside their beef and sheep enterprises.

Some of the Glenfield herd of Irish Moileds owned by the McConnell Family.
Andrew McConnell and Laura McKillen study their Balmoral entry from the Glenfield Herd of Irish Moileds.

The journey between the McConnell’s and the Irish Moiled cattle has spanned well over thirty years when as a young apprentice whilst fencing close to Kells in County Antrim, Richard first spied over the hedge in a field, several Irish Moiled cattle grazing. The sight of these very picturesque cattle caught his attention and with further investigation he found out that not only were these cattle very eye catching but that they were a rare native breed.

Several months later he discovered that the field of cattle which first got his attention was the pedigree Shankbridge herd owned by T. Jenkinson who was a prominent member of the Irish Moiled Cattle Society.  The ‘Shankbridge’ prefix exists in the back breeding of animals in some very well-known herds today such as the Glassdrummond, Prestwood, Aughnakealie and Castledale herds. Richard bought a bull from T. Jenkinson for the family’s suckler herd, they were very impressed with the crossbred calves produced by the Irish Moiled bull. The Irish Moiled fit perfectly into their system and environment, ideal for rough grazing and crossing the Irish Moiled bull on commercial heifers for easy calving that are nice coloury offspring.

Shortly after Richard spotted his first Irish Moiled’s in a field near Kells, Henry took his teenage son to buy his first pedigree female from renown Irish Moiled breeder and the current president of the Irish Moiled Cattle Society, Gordon Stockdale of Downpatrick. Purchased was a typically coloured pedigree Irish Moiled cow called ‘Conlig Kim’ who went on to breed several calves for the McConnell’s including a very influential and well-known bull in ‘Glenfield Joseph’.  Father and son were smitten with Irish Moiled cattle and a second female from the Castledale herd of Gordon Stockdale was purchased, “Castledale Dolly”. Richard took his ‘Castledale Dolly’ to their first show and proudly recalls winning 2nd place with her.  She went on to win many rosettes including breed champion. This was the beginning of the successful ‘Glenfield’ Irish Moiled herd with a policy within the herd of trying to produce purebred Moilie’s that are the proper traditional typical colour with a good carcase and plenty of milk.

Richard’s passion and enthusiasm for the breed was recognised widespread and he was elected as Chairperson of the Society for several years. Richard has travelled the length and breadth of the country in his quest to go further with the breed between showing Irish Moiled’s at every show in Northern Ireland to then go on to Judge every show in Northern Ireland including several shows in Great Britain. He has sold Irish Moiled cattle at the Meltonmowbray Show and Sale in GB even undertook doing a five hundred miles trip to deliver Irish Moiled cattle in the south of England.  Several well-established Irish Moiled herds were started with offspring out of the Glenfield herd.

Richard is delighted that his son Andrew has taken a keen interest in the Irish Moiled’s.  Andrew has a good eye, knows what he is looking for when it comes to Irish Moiled’s.  He is taking the Glenfield Irish Moiled herd into the next generation for the McConnell’s.  Andrew works full time but has got the support of all the family and his girlfriend Laura behind him in making sure the Irish Moiled enterprise on the farm is successfully managed. Andrew and Laura will be heading to Balmoral Show with a cow and a calf team, and an in-calf heifer. Also, this autumn will be the first time for Andrew to enter the Magnificent Moilie Sale with a young homebred bull calf which he hopes will be purchased by a pedigree breeder.

The Magnificent Moilie Online Sale takes place from Thurs 14th Oct finishing on Saturday 16Th Oct.  Harrison and Hetherington, Auctioneers in Carlisle are delighted once again to be involved with the Irish moileds.  For more details on the sale please visit the IMCS website and facebook page or contact breed secretary Gillian on or visit the breeders who are showing at balmoral show taking place from Wed 22nd to Sat 25th September.