Tuesday 17 September 2019

Festival to highlight tradition of sheep farming in Cloonacool

The community of Cloonacool are embarking on a local festival event this September that will highlight the theme of Sheep Farming and the traditions for which the region is renowned. The event itself will include activities such as sheep class competitions, novelty events, and exhibits and displays on the theme. A dance, with music by John Hogan, opens the festival which will take place on the weekend of 21st and 22nd of September in Cloonacool Village.

Cloonacool Sheep Festival was created as a community project for the benefit of the local community. The event is designed to display the culture and traditions of the community to visitors attending the event. The festival will take the form of day activities such as sheep breed displays, novelty competitions, corporate exhibits, children's activities and Arts & crafts demonstrations - all connected with sheep farming, its tradition and related industries.

A spokesperson for the festival said, "This Festival has sprung from a local community initiative where local people set about maintaining and building community spirit, a trait for which our region is renowned. This event is intended as a direct counter to rural decline. Traditions, skills and activities associated with rural sheep farming include wool, meat and sales of stock. Sheepdog trialling, sheep shearing and such farm tasks are further skills to be included in an effort to inform and make the event attractive."

The spokesperson continued, "One of the highlight events at the festival is the Pimp My Sheep competition. This competition is open to everyone - sheep farmers or otherwise. All that is needed is the use (and care) of a sheep or lamb for the day. Sheep will be made over and dolled up in all manner of styles and colours for this competition. It promises to be a spectacular part of the festival programme and should give rise to some highly competitive activity."

The competition sheep classes at the festival are similar to classes held at most agricultural shows with up to 10 classes being held in total. Further details are available on the festival Facebook Page and on

Few other rural regions have such an initiative in place at present and so Cloonacool, as a rural parish, takes up a unique position in the calendar of festivals; displaying its traditions and charms to the wider world. The weekend starts with the festival dance at 10pm on Saturday 21st September and the main festival events take place the following day, Sunday 22nd September, 12pm to 5pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Sligo Champion