About Mary & Rita


Mary's Philosophy -

"Society does not oblige us to keep dogs, therefore, those of us who choose to own dogs have an obligation to society to ensure that our dogs do not in any way detract from the quality of life of our fellow man. To achieve this we who own dogs must teach them how to become socially acceptable companions, who are a joy to own and an asset to our community" Mary Owens, KCAI adv, A.N.C.A.B.

Mary & Rita's aim -

Our aim at Fircroft Dog Training Centre is to help dog owners, through education, information and practical hands on experience, to achieve this ideal. To teach our dogs, with enlightened understanding, how to get things right instead of punishing them for being wrong.

Our Pedigree: 

Training Director:
mary owens best dog trainer in ireland Thumbnail0Mary Owens, KCAI (The Kennel Club Advanced Accredited Instructor) and A. N.C.A.B. (John Rogerson - Northern Centre for Animal Behaviour, UK.,) Mary is the only Dog Training Instructor outside of the UK to have achieved the KCAI qualification certified by City & Guilds, London.

Mary is Chairperson of the IBKCA, Life Associate Member of the Irish Kennel Club, member of the Dog Trainers Association of Ireland and a founder member of The Border Collie Club of Ireland.  Mary together with her business partner Rita Moloney established Fircroft Dog Training and Boarding Kennels & Cattery in Rathangan, Co. Kildare 26 years ago in September 1986.

A certified Canine Behaviourist/trainer, Mary has over 40 years hands-on experience as an accredited Judge, trainer and exhibitor in Competitive Obedience, Working Trials & the breed ring. She has judged dogs under Irish and English Kennel Club Rules. She has established a successful track record with her own dogs and her pupils in these fields. She bred, owned and trained the first border collie dog ‘Leto’ in Ireland and the Uk to earn all three titles – Obedience, Working Trials and Show Champions. Her daughter Judith owned and trained his litter sister ‘Chani’ the first border collie bitch in Ireland & Uk to attain the triple titles. Mary writes and lectures on the subject of Canine behaviour and training as far afield as the USA.

Dogs and other animals trained by Mary have featured in many feature films, TV series and commercials. Mary is a familiar face to Irish & Uk television audiences through her work on RTE’s Young Line, Live at Three, PM Live, The Late Late and TV3. She was Head of Department dog section for Hallmark’s award winning feature film ‘Animal Farm’ and has trained and worked dogs, cats and other furred and feathered creatures for directors Steven Spielberg, Stephen Frears, Ron Howard, Mel Gibson and our own talented Irish Directors Lisa Mulcahy and Lenny Abrahamson to name just a few. A Documentary on her and her partner’s work was commissioned by RTE and aired in July 2002.

rita maloney animal actor Thumbnail0Rita Moloney – Fircroft Dog Training & Boarding Kennels’ administrator and film animal action coordinator. She is a certified Canine Behaviourist with over 30 years hands-on experience as an accredited Judge, trainer and exhibitor in Competitive Obedience, Working Trials. Rita has judged dogs under Irish and English Kennel Club Rules. She is well known in the Irish Film Industry for her work in sourcing and handling a wide variety of animals.

Rita’s rescue collie cross "Zaffle" was chosen for a "Murphys Stout" commercial filmed beside the river Liffey at the Ferryman pub. As a direct result of this advert "Zaffle" went on to play the part of "Paddy Clarke’s dog Snaffles" in the R.T.E series "FAIR CITY" for many years. Zaffle went on to become an Irish Working Trials Champion. A Documentary on Rita & Mary’s film and T.V. work was commissioned by R.T.E in 2002 produced and directed by Gillian Marsh (GMTV).
Rita was Secretary of the Irish Women’s Squash Racquet Association and public relations officer for Leinster Squash Racquet Association for many years. She captained the squash section of Leinster Cricket Club to many titles in the premier league. Having retired from squash she is now an active golfer,has acted as Secretary for Moyvalley Golf Club and is three times ‘Golfer of the Year’ for Edenderry Golf Club. Rita is a keen sportswoman with a great love of and interest in working with dogs.

Kennels Manager/Trainer  Mairead Raleigh

Mairead has worked at Fircroft for over 20 years.  She has a keen interest in keeping up to date on motivational training methods and canine physcology.  She has consolidated her knowledge working closely with Mary and through years of study and hands-on experience of working with a wide variety of breeds, type and ages of dogs. Mairead is an accredited IKC obedience judge, she has trained her dog and competed at highest level in competition obedience. Mairead is devoted to the mental and physical well being of dogs.


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© Fircroft Kennels & Training Centre, 2018,
Co Kildare, Ireland