The 2016 National Hall of Fame Awards were held on Sunday the 1st of May in the Sheraton Hotel in Athlone, Co. Westmeath. This event has cemented its position in the farming calendar since its inauguration 14 years ago, its popularity is evident by the numbers attending and the high regard an award of this magnitude signifies. We at the Irish Limousin Cattle Society (ILCS) are delighted with our involvement, it has allowed us the opportunity to acclaim the tremendous efforts of some of our very best breeders and advocates. All our award winners have given tirelessly to the Limousin breed and this year’s winner is a wonderful example of the dedication and commitment to cattle breeding that we all aspire to.
This year’s National Hall of Fame Award winner for the ILCS is Mrs. Fiona Gilsenan of Ardglasson Limousin’s based in Kells, Co. Meath. Since the purchase of a Foundation female in 1983, the name Ardglasson has become synonymous with excellent Limousin Livestock, which are much in demand from both the home and UK markets.
Fiona accepted her award from Mairead Lavery (Editor of Irish Country Living magazine, a weekly supplement of the Irish Farmers Journal). Also on hand was Malachy O’Connor, Fresh Food Commercial Director of Tesco, Ireland. Tesco is the main sponsor of these prestigious awards. Lord Mayor of Athlone, Tom Farrell ensured all in attendance were royally received. Michael Hughes, Secretary of the Irish Shows Association launched the schedule for Athlone show. Here at the ILCS we would like to thank all involved at this terrific occasion, the Sheraton Hotel for the lovely meal, the guest speakers for regaling us with their amusing and interesting anecdotes and to the National Hall of Fame Award committee especially CEO Michael Flanagan, who did an excellent job as MC for the evening.
Fiona was accompanied to the ceremony by two of her daughters, Una and Ann. Fiona is a gentle, unassuming lady with a huge regard for Limousin cattle, she has used her knowledge and talent to take the Ardglasson Limousin herd to the pinnacle of outstanding cattle breeding. When one looks at the tremendous success of the Ardglasson Limousin herd, one is reminded of the saying “Mighty oaks from little acorns grow”.
We would like to congratulate Fiona on her enrolment into the National Hall of Fame and we wish her continued success with her wonderful herd. Fiona is a very active and sprightly octogenarian, on the morning of the awards she rose at 6.30am to look after a heavy in-calf cow and was delighted to report that the herd had increased with the early morning addition of a fit and healthy bull calf.
In the 2014 addition of the Irish Limousin Journal Fiona and Ardglasson Limousin featured, the following is an extract of that piece:
“The Ardglasson Herd of Fiona Gilsenan, Kells Co. Meath was established in 1983. For the past thirty years the herd has built a reputation of producing top quality Limousin cattle. The herd came to being after Fiona attended an open day at the Pelletstown herd of Dr. Roger McCarrick. She was very impressed by the display of cattle and couldn’t wait to get a pedigree Limousin of her own. Her chance to purchase came at an auction in Cahir, Co. Tipperary, she came upon Seabank Tamarind - a Hervin daughter. Tamarind was bred by Cyril Goode of the Seabank herd based in Arklow, Co. Wicklow. Each and every Limousin in the Ardglasson herd goes back to this very impressive investment. Tamarind’s first calf was Ardglasson Veronica by Seducteur. Veronica was born on the 4th of September, 1984. She went on to produce ten calves and remained the firm favourite at Ardglasson. The second calf born into the herd was Ardglasson Albert, also by Seducteur. Albert was a top performer in Tully and was purchased by Dovea AI station. Unfortunately he was to be Tamarind’s last calf. From these beginnings the herd has gone on to have many successes. At the Premier sale in October 2007 the princely sum of €9,750 was secured for the Mas du Clo daughter “Ardglasson Vine”. Vine was purchased by Breconside Farming Partners, Dumfriesshire, Scotland. At other sales throughout the years the herds sale entries are always in demand. Many of the bulls born on the herd are sold from home to suckler farmers.
In 2013, Ardglasson Highlander made headlines both in Ireland and the UK. This Fieldson Alfy son, out of Ardglasson Daisy was awarded Junior Champion at the Premier sale in March 2013. He was purchased by the pre-sale Judge, Mr. Dougie McBeath and Sarah Jane Jessop for their Springsett herd based in Stirling, Scotland for €8,000. Highlander was born in January 2012 and had been a first prizewinner at the National Show in Tullamore in 2012, he had also picked up red rosettes at three other summer shows. In Scotland Dougie and Sarah Jane showed him in the very prestigious Highland Show where he stood Reserve Male Champion. In August the British Limousin Cattle Society held the inaugural Scottish Limousin Grand Prix at Black Isle Show held at Muir of Ord, Ross Shire. In an entry of 60 cattle, from all parts of Scotland, Ardglasson Highlander took the Male Championship title and then went on to be awarded the Overall Supreme Championship. Fiona Gilsenan, the lady behind this progressive herd was born into a farming family in county Westmeath. She came to live in Kells when she got married. The marital home has been in her husband’s family since the 18th century and it is here that they reared their family of eight. Fiona apart from farming has many varied interests, from a young age she has had a keen interest in horses and horseracing. She was involved in breeding thoroughbred horses, training horses and indeed rode in point-to-points with some success.”