The inaugural Irish Rare Breeds Conference took place on the 15th & 16th of June 2017.   The Conference was organised by The Old Irish Goat Society, based in Mulranny, Co. Mayo, in association with the Irish Rare Breeds Society. Some of the conference presentations are now available to download here

Ireland’s rare breeds are a fundamental part of our farming and food production sector, they are living heritage and an important facet of our biodiversity.

Rare Breeds have an important role in sustaining rural communities, through food production, artisan foods, tourism and conservation grazing. Gene variation offers enhanced resistance and adaptation traits in a time of farming intensification and climate and social change. A number of Irish Breeds have slipped into extinction in recent decades, essentially unnoticed and undocumented, such as the Cladoir Sheep and the Tory Cow.

The aim of the event was to promote the conservation and utilisation of our remaining rare breeds and to address challenges such as lack of protection, resources and recognition.

A strategically important national discussion took place on indigenous Irish breeds and how their role as a cultural, food security and climate resilience resource could be developed.