Shows and Events

NI Dexter Cattle Group Young Breeders Workshop

29th January 2022 at Ryan Lavery's Farm (Derryola Dexters) at 10:00

1c Derryola Island Lane, Aghalee, Craigavon

BT67 0DN

For further information and booking contact Ryan on 07919979939



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The continued renaissance of the Dexter Cattle breed in Northern Ireland continued at the 152nd RUAS Balmoral Show, with a large entry of 38 high quality cattle on show. The judge for Wednesday’s event was Steve Adcock, a Senior Dexter Cattle Society Judge and current Chair of the UK Dexter Cattle Society. In his comments after the award of the overall Championship to Ryan Lavery’s Derryola Dixie and Reserve Championship to the Bloomer family’s Northbrook Atlas, Steve expressed his delight at the quality and standard of the cattle on display.

In the first class of the day (cow born before 2019) which saw a large entry of 17 cattle, the first time handlers from the next generation of the Bloomer family, Jayne and Grace, did their dad Des proud by bringing home the red rosette with Northbrook Jane.

This was followed by an excellent class of heifers born in 2019 which gave Ryan Lavery’s Derryola Herd their first win of the day. The next junior class heifer saw Ben Neill, a new breeder, who got a second place at his first ever show with Cadian Hope, much to the delight of his support team and he is definitely one to keep an eye on in the future! Another winner in his first time out with Dexter’s was David Lester in third place.

Then came the ‘big boys’ and in a close competition of 7 bulls the Bloomers Northbrook Atlas, the only Linear Assessed EX 96 Dexter bull in Ireland, edged out Ryan Lavery’s Rathnafishogue T Bone EX95 for the red rosette.

In the overall Championship, Ryan Lavery, the current Chair of the NI Dexter Cattle Group got ‘the tap’ from Steve Adcock with Derryola Dixie, a 27th month old home bred heifer with heifer calf at foot. In close call reserve was the Bloomer Family with their 9 year old stock bull, Northbrook Atlas. This was Ryan’s first Balmoral Championship after a few close runs, including Reserve Champion in 2019 and the result delighted his many supporters in the NI Dexter Cattle Group particularly Founding Member Deirdre Hilton MBE, who she was ‘delighted’ by the result.

The NI Dexter Cattle Group where particularly delighted to be awarded Best Beef Presentation from RUAS, in recognition to the level of cleanliness of the Breed Lines in the cattle hall and their exhibitors professionalism in promotion of the Dexter Breed.

The NI Dexter Group would like to thank all who contributed to this RUAS Balmoral Show being such a great success and look forward to the next show in May 2022!



Class 617 Cow or heifer born before 2019

1st Bloomer family- Northbrook Jane

2nd – Ryan Lavery - Ballyboley Calamity

3rd Bloomer Family - Cadian Heidi

Class 618 Heifer born in 2019

1st Ryan Lavery- Derryola Dixie

Class 619 2020 Heifer

1st Exhibitor

2nd Ben Neil Cadian Hope

3rd David Lester Castlescreen Glenda

Class 620 Bull born before 2019

1st Bloomer family Northbrook Atlas EX96

2nd Ryan Lavery - Rathnafishogue T Bone EX95

Dexter Breed Champion - Derryola Dixie

Dexter Reserve Breed Champion- Northbrook Atlas EX96

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NI Dexter Breeders Ramble Down At Finnebrogue Woods

Members of the Dexter Cattle NI Group were warmly welcomed to Finnebrogue Woods, just outside Downpatrick on Saturday 14th August by kind invitation of the Lindsay Family. The family has farmed part of the Finnebrogue Estate for over 60 years, developing the mixture of grassland, forestry and lake into a number of very successful enterprises.

Set within the historic Finnebrogue estate, against a backdrop of mature woodlands sits a 30 acre lake, making the perfect venue for outdoor weddings and film locations. Ed Lindsay who for many years has run the Magnakata company, delivering custom made, Nordic style tipi’s all over Ireland has recently joined forces with his sister, Laura in introducing a wedding facility to the estate. Laura also runs an onsite café, ‘fodder’ using the family’s own herd of pedigree Dexter cattle on its menu and selling prime cuts through their farm shop.

Gathering on a sunny Saturday morning at the family’s ‘Tipi Kitchen’ in the heart of the estate, members were treated to tea and coffee and homemade sweat treats whilst given an introductory talk of the Finnebrogue estate by Nick Lindsay before setting off to view the family’s herd of over 100 pedigree Dexter cattle.

The first stop on the walk visited the steers which provided beef to the Fodder café, farm shop and wedding events. Cattle on display looked very content, grazing lush swards with many ready to beef in the coming months. Nick discussed the family’s policy of producing pure grass-fed beef receiving no concentrate feeding and wintered on silage in the estates woodlands.

Moving on to the breeding herd which featured around 50 head of cows, calves and a fine stock bull, and consisted of all three breed colours- black, red and dun. Such a large herd of quality animals grazing peacefully between matures trees was a fantastic sight to see.

The final stop was to a large group of heifers, which due to the demand where destined for the family’s farm shop and café. At this point Nick discussed plans for future development of the herd, tying in with the estates ethos of sustainable farming.

Afterwards the Group headed back to the Tipi Kitchen where Ed Lindsay had cooked up a delicious lunch of Dexter burgers which were very well received by members. A collection for the NI Air Ambulance on behalf of the Lindsay Family took place raising £250 for this very worthwhile charity.

The NI Dexter Group would again like to thank the Lindsay family for hosting a very enjoyable farm walk and wish them all the best in the future.

NI Dexter Group Premier Sale Report

Top class trade for quality cattle on Saturday topped at 2000 guineas for lot no.8 Cadian Billy, a superb 23 month old bull from the Bloomer Family of Dungannon with outstanding pedigree boasting 5 EX bloodlines with some being from the famous Northbrook herd. This bull made its way to the Erne County, to join the newly established herd of Mr Gareth Lunney.

A stand out entry from the Verner Family, Kilkeel was lot no.2 Mourne Florence, who topped the females at 1450 guineas. The 11 month old heifer caught the eye from long established breeder, Mr Mike Frazer who secured the bid for her to join the Templepatrick based Ballyhartfield her.

Not stopping for the Verner’s Kilkeel based, Mourne herd was in exceptional demand with Gareth Lunney also securing the 23-month-old Mourne Ella at 1,000 guineas. Mourne Clara, a second calver and incalf again to Canwell Sooty sold for 1,000 guineas to Peter Erskine of the Tullylinton herd, Ballygawley. She joins Mourne Dakota who was also secured for the same amount by the same buyer.

Mr Mike Frazer, no stranger to the ring, received 1050 guineas for Ballyhartfield Bridget, a solid 23 month old springing heifer who was purchased by Mr Gareth Lunney and 1200 guineas for Northbrook Petunia III who is dam to the 2020 NI Dexter Group Virtual Show Junior Champion Ballyhartfield Boyd and now resides with the McAreavey family of Ballinderry.

Another fine entry from the Bloomer Family of Dungannon, Cadian All Star, was secured for 1,000 guineas by Andrew Greehan, Castletown, Co Louth. This 3-year-old, prize winning, red bull has had an exceptional career on the show circuit as a yearling and is sired by Northbrook Atlas EX95.

Following closely behind him in the ring was Derryola Obama VG89, shown by Nigel McIlrath, Keady, who sealed the deal at 1,000 guineas. The 8-year-old bull heads to the Mountfield herd of Desmond McFadden, Omagh.


The NI Dexter Cattle Group would like to thank all exhibitors, bidders and attendees to the sale and overall feedback has been fantastic, from the quality of cattle on offer, to how the sale was organised. A special thanks to sale sponsors Eakin Bros Motors and of course to Richard Beattie and his mart team for hosting the sale.

Sale Averages

5 Bulls to average 1120 guineas

2 Bull Calves to average 370 guineas

6 Cows to average 930 guineas

3 Heifers to average 950 guineas

3 Maiden Heifers to average 486 guineas


NI Dexter Group launches Premier Sale

The Dexter Cattle Society NI Group is pleased to announce that they have teamed up with Richard Beattie Pedigree Sales to offer a Premier Sale for Group members. This exciting new venture will take place on Saturday 29th May at Beattie’s Pedigree Centre, 109 Glenpark Road, Omagh BT79 7ST.

Chairman of the Group, Ryan Lavery says, ‘Due to the increased popularity of the Dexter breed in NI and the insatious demand for stock we have organised a sale of breeding stock to take place in conjunction with Beattie’s Pedigree Sales. This is an excellent opportunity for members to offer their surplus breeding stock and potential buyers can be confident that the sale will boast some of the finest Dexter Cattle in NI.

We have chosen the end of May to suit the start of the breeding season for traditional spring calving herds. This offers breeders the opportunity to purchase new stock bulls or heifers for their herd. The sale will also be broadcast online through Marteye so you can even bid for stock from the tractor seat!’

Entries are currently being sought for:

1. Bull born in 2020

2. Heifer born in 2020

3. Bull born in 2019

4. Heifer born in 2019

5. Cow/Heifer born in 2017-2018

6. Cow born in 2015-2016

7. Cow born 2012-2014

8. Bull born 2012-2018

Sellers are reminded that they must be a member of the NI Group to enter the sale. Membership forms can be downloaded from the website at

2020 Virtual Show

The widely recognised enthusiasm of the NI Dexter Cattle Group members has shown through again in recent weeks, despite the cancellation of the Cattle Showing season.  Many of the well known show exhibitors and some new entrants have kept themselves busy halter training and preparing stock for the Group’s 2020 Virtual Show. This new initiative gave an excellent opportunity for members both young and old to compete with their Dexters in both haltered and un-haltered sections of the competition; with a wide range of classes from senior bulls right through to calves born in 2020 providing ample opportunity to showcase some of the best Dexter cattle in the UK.

The judge for the event was Mary Kay from Cumbria, who as the Chief Judge of the UK and Ireland Dexter Cattle Society was delighted to support the NI Groups Virtual Show concept; stating that ‘it was a great idea which brings members together during these difficult times’. Mary was very impressed by the quality of cattle shown. She also complimented the professionalism which the NI Group members demonstrated in presenting both their Dexters and themselves. She confirmed that there is a very bright future for the Dexter Cattle NI Group.

Chairman of the NI Dexter Cattle Group, Ryan Lavery who helped organise the event, thanked her for the support for this new group event.   Mary is no stranger to the show rings of NI, having judged several of the main Dexter Shows in Northern Ireland including the Antrim Premier Show in 2019 and NI Group hope to see her back here in the show ring in the near future!

Ryan also expressed thanks to all of the exhibitors and it stated that it was particularly good to see members who don’t normally show, entering and winning with their stock. The hope is that this success will encourage them to take their Dexters out in the ring when the live shows start back again.

The Virtual Show also had an important role in fundraising for the Southern Area Hospice and the NI Dexter Group are delighted to have raised £1,300 for this worthy charity. Thanks to all of those who contributed their entry fees or gave donations.

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Long Service Awards

The Northern Ireland Group would like to extend our congratulations to founding members Howard and Dierdre Hilton and Newell Bingham on receiving Long Service Awards in recognition of their contribution to the Dexter Breed and Society.

Many will know the continuous work that Newell and the Hiltons put into promoting the breed in Northern Ireland, attending events across the province and laying foundations for the NI Group. Indeed some will notice Ballykeel or Hillhead animals dotted throughout their pedigrees, knowing their stock come from strong genetics. Both herds have bred many successful show champions and have contributed to the success of many herds in NI.


Show Stories

Email us any stories you would like added!

Big Heap Sitting Down Dexter

Back in the early noughties the NI Dexters were still doing the rounds of the show trying to get themselves back in the game. In many cases the Dexters were mixed in with the ‘rare breeds’ classes but eventually they got their own ring. 

A stalwart of showing at this time was Fintan Murphy who apart from having some good Dexters was famous for always having a smile in the ring.  Then came the Ballymena Show in 2012.  

Fintan came up to the ring confident as usual with his heifer..... and then living up to the well known Dexter unpredictability it decided to sit down like a dog at the entrance to the ring. Temporary? Not likely, this was a Dexter which had made up its mind. 

After numerous attempts to move it, the steward was forced to make a new entrance to the ring and the class commenced. The entire class was then judged and finished, with Fintan still standing there, smiling as usual, keeping company with his heifer on her sit down strike.

Such is the life of a Dexter Showperson!

The day the Dexters really made it back at Balmoral Show

Having returned to the RUAS Balmoral Show in 2013 after a gap from the 1930’s, it is fair to say that some other cattle breeds were not exactly impressed with the ‘wee’ cow. 


All that  changed in 2016 when the Bloomer, Cadian Herd did the previously unthinkable, they won an interbreed class with Dexters!

When they entered the ring is was clear that the ‘three’ from Cadian were something special with a great bull being matched with identical heifers and also an excellent representation of the breed.  Many non dexters judges do not recognise the dual purpose characteristics of the Dexter, but in this particular instance as the judging progressed it was clear the Dexter threes had a chance..... and finally the pat on the rear and the Dexters walked forward as the RUAS Balmoral interbreed 3’s Champions 2016.  Even more heartening many from other breeds standing around the ring agreed with the decision!


This was the day the Dexters really arrived back at the Balmoral Show!


The Bloomer exhibitors with the victorious Dexters. Des was so shocked he forgot to smile!