Cattle in Ancient and Modern Ireland – Farming Practices, Environment and Economy


Cattle have been the mainstay of Irish farming since the Neolithic began in Ireland almost 6000 years ago. Cattle, and especially cows, have been important in the life experiences of most Irish people, directly and/or through legends such as the Táin Bó Cuailnge (The Cattle- raid of Cooley). In this book, diverse aspects of cattle in Ireland, from the circumstances of their first introduction to recent and ongoing developments in the management of grasslands – still the main food-source for cattle in Ireland – are explored in thirteen essays written by experts. New information is presented, and several aspects relating to cattle husbandry and the interactions of cattle and people that have hitherto received little or no attention are discussed.

Michael O’Connell is Professor emeritus at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) where he has been involved in research, teaching and administration for over four decades.

Fergus Kelly is a Senior Professor emeritus in the School of Celtic Studies, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. His main academic interests are in early Irish legal and social history.

​James H. McAdam is an Honorary Professor in the School of Biological Sciences, Queen’s University Belfast and head of the Crops, Grassland and Ecology branch in the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), Northern Ireland.

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