Hall of Fame 2011
The Recipient of this year’s Hall of Fame Award goes to a Person whose has had a lifetime involment with the Holstein-Friesian breed. Someone who has served the Breed well with an unselfish, quiet, unassuming and intelligent dedication. That intelligence is founded on a profound knowledge and widely based experience of Holstein-Friesian Breeding. A native of Corrandulla, Co. Galway and a Member of a Family who, themselves, achieved noteworthy success in the Holstein-Friesian Breed with the Kilcahill Herd, Br. Gerard Cahill has been nominated by his fellow Members in the I.H.F.A. as the recipient of the 2011 Hall of Fame Award.
Br. Gerard has been in the Marist Brothers for over 60 years. Immediately after his Profession, he was one of 3 Brothers designated to found the Marist College in Clondalkin, Co. Dublin. He spent the next 10 years teaching there. When his teaching duties finished each day, Br. Gerard would help on the College Farm.
While in Clondalkin, he made what has become a lifelong friendship with Cyril Dowling, whose noted Baldonnel herd was then being developed. Subsequently Br. Gerard transferred to the Marist College in Athlone, where he became Principal, a post he retained for 30 years. During this time his ability as an Educator and Administrator came to the fore, as evidenced by the development of the School into the largest Boys secondary school in the Country. In a fitting tribute to his lifetime’s work in Athlone, he was honoured with the Award of “Athlone Person of the Year 2009”.
During a very busy life Br. Gerard has always made time for his second great interest which is the Holstein-Friesian Breed. The founding of the West-Midland H-F Club in 1981 provided Br.Gerard with an opportunity to become actively involved with the Breed in a meaningful way. Over many years his wisdom and business acumen has been of sterling benefit to the Club, of which he was Chairman from 2000 to 2004. During his tenure the Club revitalised and prospered. Br. Gerard has the unique ability to make people feel both involved and valued. His leadership ability reflects the Marist ethos of mutual respect and encouragement. The West-Midland Herds Competition Awards provided Br.Gerard with the opportunity to visit Herds and photograph the prizewinners. During these visits, his comments were a source of encouragement and enlightenment to those starting into Holstein-Friesian breeding. Subsequently these films were shown at a Club Meeting known as “Br.Gerard’s Night”, an event eagerly anticipated by all, as it allowed all Members an opportunity to have their success recognised. His comments as he showed the Slides, revealed his astute eye for cattle, and his profound knowledge of Cow-Families. Br. Gerard is always generous with his knowledge and so many have benefited so much from his opinions.
Br. Gerard has travelled extensively and has always been a great Ambassador for Irish Holstein-Friesians when abroad. Together with his great friend the late Fr. Pat Harte, R.I.P., he was a regular attendee at the Royal Show in Stoneleigh and visited many of the leading Herds in the UK. These visits resulted in close friendships which have enhanced the reputation of Irish Breeders and their cattle abroad.
His respect for the Breed and the Breeders at all levels, whether local, National or International has, in turn, earned him the respect of all those who work within the breed.
Br.Gerard’s contribution to Irish Holstein-Friesian Breeding is motivated by a desire to constructively help those who are interested in improving their Herds. This has always been done in a quiet and unassuming way. He has inspired a flame of interest in many through a generous sharing of his profound knowledge and experience of the Holstein Breed.
Whether at Club level or individual level, Br. Gerard’s contribution to his beloved Holstein-Friesian breed is immense in scale and permanent in effect.