Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Shear delight as championships set to deliver €2.2m economic boost

Making the cut: Catherine Roche, Irish Country Meats and Brid O'Neill of Golden Shears at the programme launch for the Golden Shears World Sheep Shearing and Wool Handling Championships Alf Harvey
Making the cut: Catherine Roche, Irish Country Meats and Brid O'Neill of Golden Shears at the programme launch for the Golden Shears World Sheep Shearing and Wool Handling Championships Alf Harvey

Ken Whelan

Twenty-seven international teams will compete at this year's World Sheep Shearing championships which will be held at a specially designed 25ac site near the Amber Springs hotel just outside Gorey from May 17 to 25.

The idea of bringing the sheep shearing championships back to Gorey – they were last held in the Co Wexford town in 1998 – was the brainchild of international wool handler George Graham who together with a small local fundraising committee set about the mammoth task of raising the €700,000 required to mount the event for two years.

Much of the money was raised locally, but Wexford agri-businesses Slaney Meats and Irish County Meats came on board quickly as lead sponsors, as did FBD and Novartis Animal Health.

And this huge investment looks likely to pay big dividends.

A recently commissioned consultant's report estimated that championships will generate in excess of €2.2m for the north Wexford region in tourist revenues alone.

On the opening night a 'Queen of the Wool' pageant organised by Macra will be held, while the scheduled music events include: an afternoon with the Kilfenora Céilí band, a concert by the Willoughby brothers (including an appearance by X-Factor winner Mary Byrne) and a Louise Morrissey concert.

The scale of the championships necessitated the construction of a special road into the ICM shearing dome on the 25ac site, while the logistics of moving some 6,600 sheep from their temporary sheds on local farms to the competition dome required a transportation plan of military proportions.

The 6,600 sheep were sourced from farmers throughout the country.

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The Irish team is being led by Donegal native Ivan Scott, who will be joined by George and Brendan Graham from Wexford in the wool handling discipline. Peter Heraty from Mayo and Seamus Joyce from Kilbride fly the flag in the blade shearing discipline.

Indo Farming