Bumper turnout of sheep at Glencolmcille, Co Donegal

Seamus Fegan, from Hilltown and Frankie McCullough, from Castlewellan, judged the Blackface classes at this year's Glencolmcille Show.
Seamus Fegan, from Hilltown and Frankie McCullough, from Castlewellan, judged the Blackface classes at this year's Glencolmcille Show.

Last weekend’s Glencolmcille Show attracted a turnout of some 800 plus sheep, an increase of almost 250 head on 2015.

The event was re-instated as part of Donegal’s agricultural show calendar six years ago.

David Morgan, Caltech-Crystalyx (right) chatting with Andrew O'Gara, a Glencolmcille Show Committee member and Perth Blackface breeder.

David Morgan, Caltech-Crystalyx (right) chatting with Andrew O'Gara, a Glencolmcille Show Committee member and Perth Blackface breeder.

“The event continues to go from strength to strength,” confirmed Glencolmcille show society member Andrew O’Gara, a native of the seaside village.

“We cater exclusively for cattle and sheep breeders, both pedigree and commercial. There are very few dairy herds in this part of the world.

“The event is a great day out for local families and the many tourists who visit this part of the world during the summer months. But from an agricultural point of view, the now annual event has served to increase the quality of the sheep and cattle found on local farms.

“Numerous judges have commented on the quality of the stock coming into the show rings.”

Mr O’Gara also confirmed a resurgence of the farming industry in the Glencolmcille area.

“Many young people are now staying at home to farm, rather than emigrating to Australia, New Zealand or the UK,” he said.

“And this is a very encouraging development, both for agriculture and the communities throughout the Donegal area.”

Northern Ireland was well represented at this year’s show, courtesy of Seamus Fegan, from Hilltown and Frankie McCullough, from Castlewellan, who judged the Perth and Lanark Blackface classes respectively. Both confirmed the excellent quality of the sheep entered for Glencolmcille.

“Both the hill and lowland breeds were well represented,” said Mr Fegan.

Mr McCullough said that it did not come as a surprise to see the excellent turnout of Blackface sheep entered for the various show classes.

“Blackface breeding in Ireland is on a real high at the present time with breeders from the likes of Scotland regular visitors to sales in this part of the world.”

Mr McCullough sold a Blackface tip lamb for 5,500gns to a Scottish breeder last year with Fegan securing a price of 3,000gns for a lamb from his own flock.

Both men agreed that sheep can make best use of grass in upland areas.

“They are easy care and can be managed on a least cost basis,” said Mr McCullough.

“Grass is our cheapest feed source. And sheep will always allow farmers to make best use of it.”