Eavaun Carmody started her career as a bronzecaster, and a lifelong passion for restoration and the story behind objects eventually led to the purchase of Killenure Castle in 2007.
The remains of this 500 year old Castle dominate the Killenure estate. Adjoining the castle ruins is a beautiful country house, now lovingly restored by Eavaun to become a lively and vibrant family home she shares with her young children.
As renovations were taking place at Killenure Castle Eavaun began a process of local cultural and historical exploration, during which she discovered that Dundrum was the original home of the Dexter cattle. Inspired by the uniquely Irish story of survival, she established Killenure Dexter Gourmet. Dexter Cattle were originally bred on the Dundrum House estate in Co Tipperary in around 1750. The breed was devised by Farm Manager Christopher Dexter, who also gave them his name. He selected the hardiest animals from the local mountain cattle, and we are delighted that the Dexter now roams again on the lands they were quite literally bred to live on.
Eavaun’s Killenure Dexter herd is a 700 strong mixed herd of males and females built up from the original Dundrum Estate bloodline. She says ‘We have our own breeding programme here, we have a ‘maternity wing’, then we have the ‘teenagers’ and so on. Calves remain with their mothers as sucklers for the first year which makes them strong. Dexters are dual purpose cattle in that they produce great meat and fantastic quality milk, which we will be using for some new products in the future. Our Dexters are processed at 30 months of age by our own butcher who has his own abattoir. He dry ages the meat for between 21 and 28 days in the traditional way. I couldn’t be in this business of rearing and slaughtering animals for meat if we weren’t doing it consciensciously and respectfully.'
For Eavaun, Killenure Dexter Gourmet is truly a ‘labour of love – a story that had to be told’. Dexter meat is currently available to chefs via La Rousse Fine Foods or directly through their website (see web link above), and Eavaun is always happy to talk to any chefs or restaurants who are interested. There is also a range of Killenure Dexter Charcuterie, including Chorizo, Salami and Bresaola, made by an expert French charcuterier based in Co Kerry.
Influenced by her artistic background, and in line with her passion for conservation, Eavaun is also developing a range of Dexter Leather luxury goods, in collaboration with an artisan leather craftsman based in Kerry. The skills of a Tipperary based professional wood turner are also being employed to develop a fantastic range of items handcarved from Dexter bone. ‘This is all part of our commitment to making the most of everything which comes from these beautiful and unique cattle.’, says Eavaun