Tuesday, 7 December 2010


Driving along a winding road in the townland of Legamaddy yesterday, I slowed down to allow a man to swing a field gate closed on some cattle. He had just let in several head - I saw the hindquarters of the last beast as it disappeared into the field behind him. I glanced through the gate as I passed, and they were such pretty cattle I stopped the car and reversed for a better view. The man had his back to me, tying the gate with a length of rope.

'How you doing?' I said. 'I'm intrigued - what are they?'

He looked at me over his shoulder, and it would have served me right if he had said, 'Cows'.

He smiled. 'Bazadaise.'

I said I'd never seen anything like them before.

'You wouldn't have. There's no-one else running them in this country.'

He told me they come from the south of France, although the breed originated in North Africa. Apparently they're amenable to work with and good feeders. He also said they were good butchers' cattle.

'Oh yes?'

'They kill well,' he said.

I let that line of questioning go (very townie), but I know what he meant - with their big rounded quarters there would be a good ratio of beef to bone.

He added: 'I like to keep the line pure, so what isn't slaughtered goes back to Europe.'


'Italy,' he said, and laughed. 'Bit of a round trip isn't it?'

Fascinating if you're into cattle, like me. Otherwise maybe wondering why you stuck with this..
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