The story of Donabate Dexter


After a few years of research and planning, joining the Dexter societies in UK, Northern Ireland and ROI, and visiting a number of members and herds, including the Dexter gathering in Dundrum Co. Tipperary in 2013, the Donabate Dexter herd was started in 2015 with a purchase of 4 heifers from Newbridge Farm in Donabate, two cows from Co Sligo, and 4 cows and a bull from Donegal, and the rental of 11 acre marginal ground grazing from Fingal County council. The idea being to bring premium quality grass fed beef to the local market using purely natural, conservation grazing and traditional techniques, (sadly no longer conventional). The Dexter breed was chosen as being the best for beef production of the native Irish breeds. They were almost extinct in Ireland, but the breed survived through the UK Dexter society and the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.

The Dexter is a small, naturally hardy and thrifty breed, capable of thriving on marginal ground all year round. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dexter_cattle

Since then the herd has grown to 70 cows , as we have brought in breeding stock from all over Ireland and UK. The herd has also travelled around a number of rented fields locally and is now well settled at home in Donabate in the grounds of the former Turvey golf club, adjacent to the Turvey nature reserve. The herd also grazes summer meadows at the head of the Rogerstown Estuary

The Donabate Dexters team is led by Peter Bryans, in collaboration with a number of local farmers and local craft butchers, and with the unflagging support of Hans Visser, the Biodiversity officer in Fingal County Council.

The Donabate Dexter breeding herd is managed entirely naturally, they live outdoors all year round in a family unit comprising bull, cows of all ages heifers, bullocks, yearlings and calves. The calves are not artificially weaned. they are not housed in sheds and the cattle have plenty of natural shelter in woodland areas.

We don’t use chemical fertilisers or pesticides in the ground and only reactive medications in the animals, the cattle are fed free-range grass and natural forage only, We use only natural mineral and vitamin supplements.

The final result is extraordinarily tasty and tender, omega 3 rich beef from happy healthy cattle, we hope you enjoy.