An unusual recent arrival in Connemara National Park will boost the park’s programme for the conservation of rare Irish breeds. 

The Irish Moiled heifer was presented to the park as part of a cross-border initiative run by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) with partners in Northern Ireland.

Connemara National Park gifted Park Sarah, a Connemara Pony bred in the park, to Tannaghmore Rare Breeds Animal farm in Craigavon in exchange for heifer Silverwood Sunflower  III. 

William Cormacan, NPWS Western division regional manager, said: ‘We are delighted to participate in this cross-border initiative and look forward to future collaboration on the  conservation of rare breeds. 

‘Together we can raise awareness of the cultural and agricultural heritage of these rare breeds, the importance of preserving them and their importance in the management and conservation of our habitats.’

Tannaghmore Farm is the only Rare Breed Survival Trust approved farm in Ireland, and is playing an important role in the conservation of a number of breeds native to Britain and Ireland, which are in need of conservation, including Irish Moiled cattle. 

Tannaghmore Farm, as part of Armagh City, Banbridge, Craigavon Borough Council, also uses conservation grazing with native breeds to manage for biodiversity on a number of ecologically important council properties. 

Significant expertise has been acquired in managing for certain species and habitat types, including in the control of certain invasive species.  

Tannaghmore Farm will now display the iconic Connemara Pony to the public and commence a breeding programme.

Connemara National Park has six Connemara Ponies and has become an important part in the story of this iconic breed since President Erskine Childers, presented a herd to the park in 1974. 

Silverwood Sunflower  III is the newest addition to the park’s small herd of Irish Moiled cattle, used for for conservation grazing alongside Shetland sheep, Highland cattle, Galway sheep and Tamworth pigs. The new arrival will significantly contribute to the breeding programmes already established there.

Connemara National Park and Tannaghmore Rare Breed Animal Farm will continue to work together on the conservation of traditional rare breeds and share knowledge and experiences regarding conservation grazing using heritage breeds.