Farm Ireland

Saturday 20 October 2018

Hunt for All-Ireland sheep shearing competition host

The event takes place on the June Bank Holiday weekend each year.
The event takes place on the June Bank Holiday weekend each year.

"Hollywood has more All-Ireland's than anywhere else." Chairman of the Irish Sheep Shearer's Association (ISSA), Tom Dunne is not talking about the glamorous Los Angeles suburb, instead he is referring to his own native village in the Wicklow Gap, which is known for producing its fair share of All-Ireland sheep shearing champions over the years.

While Tom previously competed, his own father Pat won four All-Ireland sheep shearing titles.

"There used to be a joke there that Hollywood is the village with the most All-Irelands because of all the sheep shearing titles it has gotten over the years. It's a big sheep shearing area,"he says.

The ISSA is now on the hunt for a location to host the 2018 All-Ireland Sheep Shearing Championships.

Last year, the event was held at St Brigid's GAA centre in Kiltoom, Co Roscommon. From concert halls to rugby clubs, the event has been hosted in a variety of locations since it began in 1953.

"It's been held in a mart in Kilkenny, Punchestown race course, the Green Glens Arena and so many other places. We're not fussy where we hold it as long as it's suitable. We need a place that has a stage or is big enough where we can build our own stage and has room for toilets and food stalls,"he adds.

The event takes place on the June Bank Holiday weekend each year. While the All-Ireland lamb shearing competition takes place at the National Ploughing Championships every year, Tom said the committee is "unlucky" that it has to search for a new location, but its members enjoy the challenge.

"We're unlucky that we have to look every year as the Ploughing always attracts a huge crowd, but we don't mind where we host as long as it's accessible as people travel from the four corners of the country to our event."

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According to Tom, the event can attract up to 10,000 every year and is great for the host's local economy. Around 200 competitors take part in the competition annually, coming from as far away as New Zealand and Australia.

"They come from all over the world. Northern Ireland, the UK, France, New Zealand and Australia. This year we are expecting more competitors from Ireland as we'll be choosing members for the team who will represent us at the 2019 World Championships in France," explains ISSA secretary, Eileen Coffey.

World record holder for speed shearing, Donegal man, Ivan Scott is sure to be star attraction at the event in the summer.

Parties interested in hosting the 2017 All-Ireland Shearing can contact ISSA secretary Eileen Coffey at

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