Rare Roscommon Sheep breed to feature for first time

It has been confirmed that the Roscommon Sheep breed, previously thought extinct, will be making an appearance at this year’s Roscommon Industrial & Agricultural Show.

Addressing last month’s launch at Hannon’s Hotel, the head of the sheep section, Pat Naughton, said: “The most exciting thing we have this year, and we can thank Cllr Anthony Waldron for it, are the classes for the Roscommon sheep.

“I’m at sheep all my life and I thought the Roscommon sheep were gone, but they are not, thanks to the work of the Roscommon Sheep Breeders’ Association”.

Mr Naughton introduced Longford native, Noel Kiernan, praising him for his work in saving the iconic sheep breed.

He said that this year’s section would feature four classes for the Roscommon Sheep breed, sponsored by Cllr Waldron, and that the committee were delighted to have them.

Mr Kiernan said he had become interested in rare sheep breeds such as the Roscommon breed and that he had travelled by bicycle to Four Roads/Brideswell where he met Willie Dolan.

“Willie pointed out a ewe…I call her Eve now because she was the start of rekindling the breed,” he said.

Mr Kiernan then sourced a ram from Gort, which he called ‘Adam’, and from that union two ram lambs were bred.

“We’re delighted to have categories in the show to show the sheep off to you. They are nice sheep and easy to handle,” he said.

As well as the historic Roscommon Sheep classes, there will also be up to 30 other classes in the section, according to Pat Naughton, including traditional, modern, and continental breeds.

The head of the sheep section also highlighted the young handlers’ class, which was free to enter, and aimed at encouraging younger participants.

“They can bring a pet lamb if they like. If they know a few things about the sheep, they can win a prize. We’ll give everyone a rosette just to encourage them,” he said.

Sticking with the theme of encouraging more participation in the Roscommon Show, Mr Naughton urged others to come forward to help run the event.

“It would be great to see someone else coming on board,” he said.

“If we don’t get younger people (involved in running the various sections), then I don’t know what’s going to happen”.