Ballymena venue for NI Blackface show

A busy scene from the inaugural Northern Ireland National Show, in 2015.
A busy scene from the inaugural Northern Ireland National Show, in 2015.

Organisers are gearing up for a fantastic Northern Ireland National Blackface Show, to be held at Ballymena Mart on Monday, 12th August.

Following the successful inaugural event in 2015, this year’s show is set to be bigger and better, with entries up by almost 100, to 440 head (202 North-type and 238 South-type).

Breed president, David Shedden, who farms at Muirkirk, in Ayrshire, says the popular event is expected to attract a large turnout.

“The last National Show in Northern Ireland was fantastic and with entries well up this time, we’re all looking forward to a super, well organised show, with two very able judges at the helm.

“Thanks must go to all the sponsors, including the major ones, Ulster Ram Breeders and Ballymena Mart,” he said.

Judging will be in the hands of two renowned Scottish breeders, Willie Dunlop and David Baillie. Mr Dunlop, who will judge the South-type section, runs a 1900-ewe flock, alongside his sons Quintin and William, at Elmscleugh, Dunbar, East Lothian.

The family has had a huge amount of success within the breed and has twice sold rams to six-figures, with a lamb reaching £100,000 in 2016 and another making £160,000 last year at Lanark - the current joint breed record price.

Selecting the best of the North-type will be David Baillie Snr, who farms in partnership with his son David, at Calla Farm, Carnwath, in Lanarkshire, where they run 900 ewes and 180 suckler cows.

The Baillies won the breed’s National Show at Lanark in 2007 and secured the reserve ticket at the 2017 event, held at Stirling – each time with home-bred females.

In the sale ring, they have achieved prices up to £21,000.

The Northern Ireland event kicks off on Monday, 12th August at 11am.