Barry O’Mahony is a fifth-generation dairy farmer managing a family farm in the picturesque village of Kilbrittain, along the Wild Atlantic Way. Barry’s father, Denis, is still involved in the daily tasks of the farm, and his mother, Siobhan, takes care of the administration and banking. Barry’s wife, Jane, holds a Master’s Degree in Agriculture and is a great asset to the farm by contributing her expertise to animal health and husbandry. She is also a busy mom to Pippa and Isaac, who love to help out in the calf unit and visit with their favorite cow, “Sandy”. Barry’s uncle, a parish priest named Father Bertie, does his part by keeping track of the records and paperwork. This is a family that is united in their passion for their farm and their love for their cows. They call their herd the Berell herd, named after Barry’s grandparents, Bertie and Ellen.
The O’Mahony farm covers an expanse of 250 acres peering over sheer cliffs that hug the Atlantic Ocean. The sandy and dry soil provide ideal conditions for the animals roaming its grassy knolls. At the heart of the O’Mahony farm are the family’s 220 pedigree Holstein Friesian cows. These are award-winning animals, strong and sturdy and prized for their high dairy production, and the family takes great joy in caring for them. A nutritionist monitors the cows’ diet for optimal health and performance, and calving cows receive special attention. The farm has a “maternity ward” for mothers to be kept comfortable for two to three weeks before giving birth, and each is given a long-acting pain relief medication to help her through the birthing process and recovery. This level of care is remarkable, but Barry quotes his mother as teaching him that
“Cows will tell you when they’re hungry, they’ll tell you when they’re cross, but they won’t tell you when they’re in pain.” Barry adds, that “the cows look after us so well that we need to look out for them.”