National Hall of Fame Award 2016

Congratulations to Mary Rafferty of the Breffni Oriel Club on being presented with the National Hall of Fame Award, 2016

As the long-standing Secretary of the Breffni Oriel Holstein Friesian club. Mary Rafferty has made a dedicated lifetime contribution to the breed and to the success of an invigorating club outlet, serving Black & White breeders in Monaghan, Cavan and the wider Border counties. This year marks Mary’s 27th year as Secretary, having been elected at the AGM in 1989. 

Mary McKenna was born on a farm in North Monaghan.  Her introduction to Pedigree Friesian breeding began after marrying Paddy Rafferty and settling down to make a living from their North Monaghan homestead. The “Brackvale” Pedigree Registered Holstein Friesian herd was soon established, and continues to flourish to this day, helped by the dedicated input and assistance of the next generation; daughters Denise and Andrea.

As Secretary, Mary has been at the forefront of change and progress within the Club. From an outlay of 68 members in 1989 the club now caters for a large catchment of progressive Holstein Friesian breeders.  A Young Members Club (YMA) was set up to cater for the next generation within the club. Mary’s input and assistance to YMA over the years is testament to a very strong and vibrant YMA. The Breffni Oriel club successfully hosted the Expo Show during the mid 1990’s with Mary to the fore in her role as Show Secretary. A highlight for club members is the annual club tour. The task of co-ordinating these outings was made all that bit smoother with Mary’s unique input. The club established a herds competition in 2002, Mary has been very involved in the demanding logistics of this very popular contest. The success of this is clearly evident in the large attendance at the results and presentation function every year. A cross-border initiative which proved fruitful for the Breffni Oriel club was the pairing-up with the Markethill Discussion group in 1997. This provided a platform for the sharing of information and the development of knowledge through many seminars, tours and social events.

In 2012 the Club celebrated its 40th anniversary and a celebratory dinner dance was held to mark the occasion. With the help and assistance of other club officers Mary ensured the function was a great success for the club. Her contribution to the club was acknowledged on the night with a special presentation.

Mary was the first person to be presented with the Club’s “Person Of the Year” award in recognition for her dedication. On the occasion of the Irish Holstein Friesian Association 50th anniversary year in 2015, Mary was presented with a Breed Promotion Recognition Award.