Moo-ving on … cows leave City

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    The last dairy cows in Dublin were milked for the last time recently after the herd was moved on to a more rural setting.

    The Guinness-owned Knockmaroon Farm in Castleknock stretches back hundreds of years but it has been decided to shut down the dairy.

    The farm on the fringes of the Phoenix Park has been operating under the stewardship of the Guinness family for more than 100 years.

    It once produced milk for Queen Victoria’s table and for generations of Irish presidents.
    Until the family decided to sell the herd, this 21-hectare farm was milking 50 cows in the winter and 40 in the spring, with another 100 dry stock on the land.

    However, a quota of 450 litres a day has long made it hard to keep the farm operating as a commercial entity while difficulties associated with farming in a city presented the owners with insurmountable headaches. The farm’s dairy manager Peter Taaffe, who has been working on Knockmaroon since 1991, said milking the last of the cows would be a sad occasion but stressed that the gloom would be tinged with relief.

    The 51-year-old said he looked forward to not having to deal with traffic congestion or moving cattle from field to field through a busy urban setting.

    “This is a working farm . . . in a suburb of Dublin and the traffic around here at rush hour is just terrible,” he said. “It can be a real nightmare.”

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