Cattle have been a part of the Irish landscape for over 5,000 years and their presence has helped shape political, social and cultural fabric of the community. ‘Cattle raids’, where neighboring communities captured each others’ cattle, were a distinctive part of Irish wafare for at least 1000 years, and is famously celebrated in the Tain, a heroic saga considered to be the Irish equivalent of the Illiad, and one of the great epics of Bronze- age European literature.
Lush, green grass covers 80% of Ireland’s landmass with the longest growing grass season in the Northern Hemisphere. Scientific studies show that grass is a more natural diet for beef cattle than grain and grass gives Irish beef a number of specific characteristics. Grass-based beef has a more even distribution of fat or ‘marbling’, which makes eating a more enjoyable sensory experience.
Grass-based beef also has higher levels of Vitamin A and carotene, giving Irish beef a rich burgundy color and also gives Irish butter its natural yellow glow. A higher ratio of omega 3 fatty acids and CLA’s have been linked, by a growing number of scientific studies, to health benefits in humans such as lowering cholesterol and reducing cancer risk.
Taste the difference
Just like a fine wine, the provenance of Irish beef is reflected in its rich flavor. Ireland’s mild climate, abundant rainfall and lush grassland provide the ideal terroir for raising beef cattle.