Irish Moiled Beef
The Irish Moiled is the rarest of all the British and Irish cattle breeds and is the only surviving domestic cattle breed native to Ulster. It is a traditional Irish breed of ancient lineage, and was once common and popular with small farmers in Ulster, as it produced both high quality milk and beef in extensive conditions. As a resourceful forager it is economical to produce and is easily maintained on less acreage than most other cattle breeds.
The name Moile means polled or hornless in Gaelic. It is of medium size with a varied colouration, characteristically red in colour marked by a white line or 'finching' on the back and under parts, but can vary from white with red ears to nearly all red.
In the 20th century the breed declined dramatically as it was superseded by specialised, larger, continental breeds. The decline was so significant that by the 1970s the breed had been reduced to less than 30 cows maintained in two small herds by two farmers, one at the Toye near our farm in Killyleagh in County Down, and one in County Antrim in Northern Ireland. Since that time the breed has been rescued from extinction by the dedication of a small group of breeders, most of whom farm in Northern Ireland. Irish Moiled Beef is dark and well marbled with a deep distinctive flavour.