Farm Ireland

Saturday 16 December 2017

Portlaoise lands the shearing championships

MORE than 20,000 visitors are expected to attend the Clik All Ireland Sheep Shearing Championships which takes place this year in Portlaoise.

Top Irish shearers, as well as leading shearers from Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland will be in action.

This is the first time that Laois has hosted these championships and that should add to the drama at the two-day competition, which takes place on Saturday, June 5 and Sunday, June 6.

Laois is one of the top sheep counties in Ireland, with a sheep population of more than 70,000 head and an average flock size of 120.

Organised by the Portlaoise Sheep Shearing Association, the championships will be held at Portlaoise Rugby Club grounds, on the outskirts of the town and just off the main Dublin to Limerick road.

In addition to the major national and international competitions, other attractions will be the Clik Speed Shear Challenge, in which elite shearers from home and abroad will compete against the clock in a winner-takes-all competition on Saturday evening, and an International Shearing Test between Ireland and Wales on Sunday.

There will also be wool-handling competitions, ladies' shearing, national hand shearing and theLaois County event for local shearers.

A wide range of other attractions will make it a great family weekend, including sheep dog trials, a farmers' market, gardening displays and children's entertainment.

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The event is a favourite with sheep farmers but the attendance is never limited to flock owners and invariably attracts a broad rural audience.

Massive crowds thronged Burt, Co Donegal, last year for the championships.

Irish Independent