Irish Moiled

Irish Moiled cow & calf in daffodils

Key Characteristics

Moilies are extremely long lived, fertile and maternal good suckler cows. They can produce calves at up to 15/16 years old. Animals are docile. They are naturally polled and easy to manage.


  • The Irish Moiled was popular on smaller farms throughout Northern Ireland until it was superseded by more specialist beef and dairy breeds.
  • The Breed Society was formed in 1926 and by the mid 1970s the breed only numbered around 30 cows and 2 bulls.
  • The Breed Society was revived in 1982 and the breed has recovered although is still rare.


  • As a dual purpose animal the Irish Moiled should look capable of producing both beef and milk.
  • Cows usually weigh about 600kg and bulls about 800kg.
  • The breed is known for its colouring which is a red or roan body with a varying amount of white on the body.
  • The ideal is for a white line along the back and tail and along the underside but some animals can be nearly all white with some spots of red.



Yields of 4500-6500 litres can be expected on forage based systems. Good butterfats averaging above 4% and protein of around 3.3%. One exceptional individual, Grey Abbey Kate was not milk recorded until she was 16 years old and was recorded for at least three lactations, once giving a yield of 8819 litres.


Capable of producing a suitable carcass from a forage based system- steers finish between 20-24 months weighing 220-260kg deadweight and grading at R3-O3. The beef is renowned for its flavour.

Conservation Grazing

The Irish Moiled can do well on marshy ground where other breeds would struggle and can help control scrub in such areas.

Did you know?

The name Moile (or Maol) is derived from the Gaelic language and relates to the distinctive dome or mound on top of the head. 

The Rare Breeds Survival Trust is the leading national charity working to conserve and protect the United Kingdom's rare native breeds of farm animals from extinction. We rely on the support of our members, grants and donations from the public to raise the £700,000 a year needed to maintain our conservation work with rare UK native breeds of farm animals. Visit to see how you can help.

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