Crowds set to flock to shearing festival
Kilkenny and the south east is in line for a multi-million euro boost in June when it hosts the Clik Pour On All-Ireland and International Sheep Shearing and Wool Handling Championships as part of Ireland's biggest sheep and wool festival.
Competitors and spectators from Ireland, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and mainland Europe are expected at the two-day event in the Cillín Hill exhibition centre.
Organisers are anticipating more than 10,000 visitors over the June bank holiday weekend.
A young sheep farmer competition and many breed society events will also take place at the event.
The Suffolk, Texel, Charollais and Cheviot breed societies are already committed to hosting classes at the event.
Among the highlights will be the international test between Irish and Welsh shearers, while the All-Ireland will take place on the Sunday evening, when reigning champion, Donegal man Ivan Scott, will be defending his title. In total, there will be more than 250 shearers participating.
The average time per ewe shorn in last year's event was less than one minute.
It is hoped the festival will also be a showcase event for trade, craft and food exhibitors in the region, with exhibition space still available, according to committee chairman Mícheál Nolan.