The landless young man who became a champion pedigree beef breeder
Peter Casey had no land and drove an ambulance for a living, but that didn't prevent him scaling the heights in livestock breeding
As a landless young man buying his first pure-bred Hereford, Peter Casey seemed unlikely to have his name carved in the annals of pedigree breeding history.
And the advice of his local vet that "I was mad to get into Herefords because I knew nothing about the breed" wasn't much encouragement.
Almost half a century later, the 84-year-old from Sligo, who admits to having "a love for livestock", has achieved a record equalled by few, if any, as a breeder of exceptional award-winning pedigree animals across four of the main beef breeds.
It is all the more remarkable when it is considered that his herd at Lisnalurg is also one of the smallest pedigree herds on the registers of each of the breeds in which he has been taken an interest.
From a total herd size of less than 10 breeding females, he has produced 14 pedigree bulls for the main AI stations in the county, winning 15 championship titles in one breed alone. His breeding bulls also became breed leaders at the Department of Agriculture Progeny Testing Centre at Tully, Co Kildare, in each of the breeds which he has kept on his farm. That's a truly remarkable record.
He was the first person in the country to be awarded a National Hall of Fame Certificate in three different beef breeds and has been trusted as a livestock judge at more than 100 agricultural shows in recent years.
The retired ambulance driver, who got "more than my wages for the whole year" when he sold his first prizewinning Hereford at the RDS in Ballsbridge, simply puts his achievements down to being "successful with each breed that I kept".
Born in Sheffield in the UK to Irish parents, he came to Sligo with his folks at a young age and rented six acres of land for his first pure-bred purchase, a pedigree Hereford heifer that cost him £135.