Along the shores of the picturesque seaside town of Rosses Point, Co Sligo hails the highly acclaimed Seepa Simmental herd of prominent Simmental breeders Paddy and Elaine Hennelly.

The farm comprises solely of a select number of pedigree Simmental females and their offspring, which Paddy proudly farms alongside his daughter Elaine and in recent times, Elaine’s husband John.

The farm is divided in two with land in Lough Mask in Partry, Co Mayo and housing, and there is additional land back home in Rosses Point, which has always allowed Paddy to keep the show cattle closer to home for the summer months and to keep an eye on cows and calves during the breeding season.

Father and daughter, Paddy and Elaine Hennelly, successfully run the pedigree Seepa Simmental herd in Rosses Point and Drumfin, Co Sligo. \James Connolly

In 2020, Elaine and John purchased land beside their home to help secure the future of the herd.

In total, the farm is now approximately 40 acres in size, with cattle housing at Paddy’s home in Rosses Point and now also at Elaine’s home in Drumfin.


The current farm has been in Paddy’s family for multiple generations and when Paddy had the opportunity to purchase the farm in the 1980s it seemed like a no brainer.

Although pedigree breeding was always intended to be a hobby and a retirement project for Paddy, the Simmental world quickly engrossed the Hennelly household from shows, sales, field days and club meetings – all of which the Hennellys immersed themselves in.

The main man

Long before his love of Simmentals, Paddy worked as a garda for 30 years. “The flexible hours meant that part time farming was possible. Once I retired from the guards I worked with the Sligo based AI station Doonally for a number of years before its amalgamation with Progressive Genetics,” Paddy told the Irish Farmers Journal.

Paddy added,“the main goal was to produce quality cattle for shows and sales, and increase the herd size over time to make it sustainable and my hope for the future would be that Elaine and her boys – the next generation – will continue the herd”

Over the years Paddy proudly took on the role of chairman of his local Western Simmental club, he served on the National Council of the Irish Simmental Cattle Society and was treasurer, vice president and president of the society.

Paddy explained that since he first started out breeding pedigrees, “the quality of the breed has improved considerably. Cattle are a lot bigger in size and the market requires a much beefier animal now.”

What advice would you give to a young farmer or new breeder thinking of getting into Simmentals?

“Aim to buy as good a quality foundation female as possible, with careful consideration of their bloodlines. The day you buy is the day you sell, so start as you mean to go on,” Paddy states.

The leading lady

During our catch up, Elaine told the Irish Farmers Journal, “shadowing Dad was always busy but a great buzz. Our house was always Simmental oriented. The cattle, the shows, training, washing, sale prep – it was always busy. I suppose I didn’t appreciate then how lucky I was to be working with the cattle we had, but I certainly do looking back at it now.”

“Now that my own boys are getting older I really hope I can instil the same interest and love of the breed in them,” Elaine added.

Senior Champion and top priced heifer at €8,000 Seepa Daffodil for Paddy and Elaine Hennelly, Rossespoint, Co. Sligo. \ Alfie Shaw

“Dad is a perfectionist in everything he does and I strive to continue the fantastic work he has done to establish and improve the herd. He is always generous with his time to help others whether it be advice, visiting their farm or just chatting about the breed and I love learning from him,”

“Dad was brilliant at letting you learn as you go,” Elaine commented, “you were thrown in at the deep end and he never stopped me doing anything even if he could have done it better himself.

"Whether it be showing an animal or just working around the farm, he always encouraged me to have a go and just do my best.”

Elaine and her husband John have two sons, Patrick aged seven and Ethan aged five, who both love being involved with the cattle and going to summer shows. This Christmas, the boys got their first show coats from their Nana Eithne, which they hope to put to good use this summer.

Elaine works off-farm as a chartered accountant in Sligo and explains that “life is very busy keeping up with work, kids and farming, but we love it and couldn’t imagine it any other way.”


“We farm at Drumfin, Sligo which is John’s home place,” added Elaine. “We built our home there in 2020, and when the adjoining land became available that year we purchased it so that we could become more involved in keeping the cattle day to day. With young children, it was important to us that we were able to continue farming close to home, so having the shed etc beside us is a godsend.”

Paddy and Elaine Hennelly take huge pride in their herd and have spent many years building it into the success it is today. \ Michael Mc Laughlin

A love for Simmentals

The Simmental breed was initially chosen by Paddy for its docility and excellent ability to rear its calf. Paddy worked off-farm, so it was important that the cattle were self-sufficient and easy to handle at all times.

“The prefix was chosen as it was the initials of the family, SEEPA- Sinead, Eithne, Elaine, Paddy and ‘AN other’. I guess you could say that ended up being Anderson ie John!” Elaine added jokingly.

The herd was established in 1991 and the first purchase was Huntstown Ruby, a cow purchased from a breeder in Wexford.

“She arrived at Easter 1991 with her heifer calf at foot and later that year went on to calve down twin heifer calves – exciting times, as back then scanning was not prevalent and we had no idea she was having twins never mind twin heifers,” Paddy commented.

“She was sired by the great Glenkeen Marksman and had tremendous size and milk. She was quite the novelty around home when she arrived at first, but we still couldn’t convince our next door neighbours the Cannings into Simmental as they were about to establish their own Sagesse Charolais herd, which has been a phenomenal success.”

“Dad gave myself and my sister Sinéad one of the twin heifer calves each and we took off from there,” Elaine said.


“We always put easy calving, milk and docility at the top of our list. Working off-farm means we need a cow that can calve herself or with little assistance if at all possible, and a lively calf that can quickly take care of itself.

Elaine and John Anderson with John's father, Sean Anderson from Branchfield, Co Sligo and Paddy Hennelly from Rosses Point, Co Sligo pictured at Bonniconlon Show.

“We are always looking out for new sires to mix things up a bit in the herd, and have just purchased a new female at the recent Premier sale to expand our breeding base. It is important to keep an open mind and move with the times or you can quickly be left behind.

“We always showed cows with calves at foot and prided ourselves in them being working mothers. There is a fine line when showing these cows, as you need to strike a balance between feeding an animal for showing and keeping them in the correct condition for a breeding female – there has to be a happy medium.”

Agricultural Shows

The Hennellys started showing in the 1990s when Elaine was in school, and by the 2000s they were travelling all over the west of Ireland, covering over a dozen shows each summer and often ventured to the midlands to Tullamore for the National Livestock Show as well as the Limerick Show.

Shows and sales have been an important shop window for the Seepa herd. “It is important as pedigree breeders to have an active profile and be seen out and about at shows and sales. Often, sales can come about from showing an animal or can spark an interest for someone who was trying to decide on what pedigree breed to get into,” they added.

Paddy and Elaine Hennelly, of Cregconnell, Rosses Point, Sligo, won the Champion Simmmental of Crossmolina Agricultural showing their Cow, Seepa Pearl with her calf at foot.\ Michael Donnelly

“I remember our very first show in Roscommon racecourse with a calf called Seepa Ernie. He was just a young calf and we were pure novices, but got plenty of help and encouragement from others and pretty soon we were hooked with the show bug,” Elaine added.

“We loved the social aspect of it, meeting people every summer that you may not meet again until the season would start again the following year. And of course the challenge of preparing the animal, having it well behaved, well turned out and always striving to be better. Winning is nice too - anyone who denies that is lying!” the Hennellys laughed.


“We won our first national title in 1999 with Hillcrest Jezebel, who we had purchased from the renowned Hillcrest herd of Padge Mulhaire along with Hillcrest Joan, who became the queen of our herd.”

“Hillcrest Joan won her first National title the following year in 2000 at Tullamore Show, where she was crowned Overall Simmental Champion and Interbreed Champion.

"It was a huge honour and a day we will always remember, as the delegates from the World Simmental Congress were in attendance. Our dreams had come true after we had won the National Show and we didn’t come down off that high for weeks.”

With smiling eyes, Paddy and Elaine reflect on their days showing Joan and commented, “Joan was a dream to show and won over 60 breed championships and numerous interbreed championships in her day, from a junior heifer right up to when she was shown as a cow.

“One of her finest moments and one of our proudest days was probably in 2005 at the National Show in Tullamore.

Overhill House Neo bred by Seepa Daffodil sold for a record smashing 46,000gns (€50,309.25) at the Stirling bull sales in October 2023. \MacGregor Photography

“Joan was crowned National Cow Champion and Overall Female Champion, and her two daughters Seepa Pearl and Seepa Regina won the National Senior and Junior heifer titles respectively on the same day,” Paddy recalled fondly.


As many Simmental enthusiasts know, the Seepa herd has been steeped in Simmental success for many years. More recently, the Hennellys shared in major success across the water at the Stirling bull sales.

“The news from Scotland was a brilliant lift to our herd. Obviously you hope all the cattle you sell will do well, but we never would have expected something like this would happen.”

“We sold Seepa Daffodil at the Simmental Premier sale in Roscommon back in 2014. She was Junior Female Champion and was purchased by the judge on the day, Richard McCulloch of the Overhill House herd in Scotland,” Paddy told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“Our good friends and club mates Gerry and Mark Neenan were at the recent Stirling bull sales and rang to say a bull bred from Daffodil was entered and looked the part,” Elaine added.

“In fact, Gerry went so far as to say he thought he could win it! Low and behold the bull, Overhill House Neo went on to win Overall Simmental Champion and top the sale selling for a record price of 46,000 guineas.

“Daffodil was bred from Seepa Aster and sired by Hillcrest Jerome. Daffodil was at foot when Seepa Aster won National Junior Cow and Overall Champion of the National Livestock Show Tullamore in 2012.

"Aster was a granddaughter of Hillcrest Joan, who continues to be influential in our herd all these years later.”

From breed championships, RDS and Hall of Fame awards, breeding durable and modern bloodlines and instilling passion in others, Paddy and Elaine Hennelly have done it all.

Their attention to detail is remarkable and these may be just some of the reasons that the duo are so widely loved in Simmental circles both here in Ireland and further afield.