Bilberry Goats of Waterford

Goats featured on RTE Radio 1
December 6, 2006, 6:53 pm
Filed under: Links

The plight of the goats was featured on RTE Radio 1’s wildlife and walking series, Shanks Mare in July 2006.  You can listen to the programme here: 

Or download as a podcast/mp3 here:

Conor Kelleher was interviewed on the Mooney Show in December 2006 – listen here:


Bilberry Goat Fact File
December 6, 2006, 6:47 pm
Filed under: General

Click on the link below to download a comprehensive fact file on the Bilberry Goats,
written by the Irish Wildlife Trust


Buy a t-shirt & save the goats!
November 23, 2006, 8:53 pm
Filed under: General

Save the Bilberry Goats t-shirts are now for sale

They are available for Euro 10 in small, medium and large

The Irish Wildlife Trust
Sigmund Business Centre
93A Lagan Road
Dublin Industrial Estate
Glasnevin, Dublin 11

Or you can phone 01-8602839; fax: 01-8308914 or email

Thank you!

Sign the Petition!
September 12, 2006, 11:39 am
Filed under: General

We the undersigned, appeal to Waterford City Countil to protect the unique Bilberry Rock goat herd and the habitat on which they’ve lived for centuries, as part of our local, regional and national heritages. 

Please safeguard these animals and the Bilberry Rock area for the future citizens of Waterford and Ireland. 

Please email the above message with your name to 

Or send to Catherine Carroll, Secretary BGHPT, 24 Killian’s Place, Ferrybank,


Thank you! 


“Staggering response to petition” – article
August 29, 2006, 8:15 pm
Filed under: General

This article was published in the Waterford News & Star on Friday August 25th 2006

Staggering response to ‘save the goats’ petition
By Jennifer Long

A STAGGERING 17,000 signatures have been amassed on a special petition calling for the protection of the goats of Bilberry Rock.
Since the petition was first circulated in June, it has attracted “over-whelming support” from the people of Waterford and beyond, according to members of the newlyformed Bilberry Goat Herd Preservation Trust who organised it.

In addition, since the plight of the Bilberry Goats was featured on the front page of the Waterford News & Star around the same time, they’ve been the subject of major international publicity.

Stories highlighting their situation subsequently appeared in all of the major national newspapers in Ireland, and on the national radio stations, but also in media further afield.

The major newspaper in Malta (there’s a Maltese breed of goat) has run a story on the Waterford goats, the exact origin of which will be determined by DNA testing prior to Christmas.

Many of the English newspapers, including the Daily Tele -graph, have also picked it up as has The Irish Emigrant which offers news online for the global Irish community.

“The response has been absolutely amazing,” said Martin Doyle, proprietor of The Cosy Thatch pub in Kilmeaden and member of the Bilberry Goat Herd Preservation Trust.

“We’ve been amazed by the amount of publicity that has been generated and that was always our aim; to raise awareness of these animals and then to lobby for something to be done to protect them.” “The Irish Wildlife Trust, who’ve been hugely supportive, also have an article called ‘Waterford’s Unique Bilberry Goats – A Living History’ in the August edition of their magazine.”

“They’ve set up a website for us too ( which has information on the goats as well as on the aims of the trust.”

“We’ve also been inundated with emails from ordinary people giving their support for what’s being done – and others even asking for directions to Bilberry Rock because they want to bring their children to see the goats which is something everybody locally should do.”

Martin Doyle said that the astounding success of the campaign petition and the publicity that had been generated, essentially meant that the focus of the Trust now now had to switch to actually getting the powers-that-be to sit up and take notice.

“We will be sending a letter to the Council now asking for something to be done to protect the land,” he said.

“It would be an absolute disgrace if this unique breed of goats is not saved from extinction.”

Genetics of the Bilberry Goats
August 13, 2006, 7:35 pm
Filed under: News & Events

The Trust has recently sent (August 2006) biological samples of
the Bilberry Goats for genetic testing. This will
establish their origins and give a conclusive understanding
of their ancestors and when they came to Ireland.

The article below was published in the Waterford News & Star
on Friday 25th August:

Bilberry goats may turn out to be a rare breed
By Jennifer Long

THE world’s leading expert on goat breeds has recommended that steps be taken as a priority to protect the goats of Bilberry Rock in Waterford.
The plight of the 28 feral goats is now “critical” because of extremely low numbers, according to Dr. Raymond Werner in a new report published this month.

Dr Werner was one of a number of international goat experts who travelled to Waterford last year to view the unique goats whom are now threatened with extinction.

As it is, DNA tests are being carried out to determine the origin of the animals whom historians believe may have been brought ashore by French Hugenots who arrived in the city as many as 300 years ago.

The test results are due back by Christmas but in his new report Dr. Werner says there’s every chance the animals may indeed turn out to be a “rare breed”.

In the short-term, he says that the Bilberry herd, eight of which are female, has reached “critically low numbers” but points out that they can still be saved in their current location.

“The origin of the Bilberry goat is intriguing,” he says.

“Whether the breed was imported into Ireland comparatively recently, has a complex origin or represents a pure original breed with possibly some recent admixture, we cannot yet say,” he says.

“It remains a question mark in goat history that needs to be researched in detail. There is every possibility that it may turn out to be a rare breed and for this reason alone its preservation is imperative.”

Dr. Werner, who is a founder of the British Native Goat Preservation Society, says that the Bilberry goats fit the type, for whatever reason, of the Cold Weather Goat and also the Central Asian Pashmina Down Breed Group.

Last year, a member of the National Dutch Landrance Goat Society who also examined the breed, said there were no signs of weakness or inbreeding. He also said that the place where the animals were kept was critical to their survival.

Bilberry Rock, on which the animals graze, is 14 acres in size but is under imminent threat from development since part of the former commonage was recently sold by City Council for this purpose.

However, following the latest report, members of the newly-formed ‘Bilberry Goat Herd Preservation Trust’ say they will begin to seriously lobby City Manager Conn Murray to act to save the goats.

“It’s of vital importance that we protect this land for these animals,” said trust member Catherine Carroll from Ferrybank.

“I think it’s an absolute scandal that the goats are being threatened with extinction; these are extremely special animals that we have on our doorsteps in Waterford and it’s no longer good enough that the Council, or indeed the Minister for the Environment, doesn’t seem to care.”

“The trust has the support of the various experts, the Irish Wildlife Trust, as well as the people of Waterford whom genuinely seem to care about these animals.”

“I’ve been helping to feed them for many years and I just believe someone has to do something before they’re lost to us for good.”

Contact Us
August 13, 2006, 7:31 pm
Filed under: Contact

The Bilberry Goat Herd Protection Trust’s
email is

Comments Off on Contact Us