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Magical art of working a sheepdog on display in Killarney

One girl and her dog: International sheepdog trial champion Tara Foley, from Glencar, who will compete in the Irish National Sheepdog trials.
Picture: Valerie O’Sullivan

EXPERT sheep handlers with their loyal canine companions will be flocking to Killarney to compete in the three-day Irish National Sheepdog Trials early next month.

The national championships will take place at Killalee, Fossa, Killarney from Thursday, August 5 to Saturday, August 7 and the venue will be a 52-acre field owned by the Europe Hotel and Resort.

The trials will see 150 of the country’s top handlers working with their sheepdogs to compete for places on the 15-person Ireland team for the international sheep dog trials later this year.

The action at the event will be similar to the popular TV show One Man and his Dog and it is the first time the national sheepdog championship takes place in Kerry.

Tom O’Sullivan, chairman of the event organising committee gets ready for the championships.
Pictuie: Valerie O’Sullivan

Tom O’Sullivan, chairman of the local organising committee, said an event of this nature will be a huge economical boost to the Killarney area particularly after the 18 months of a pandemic.

“The art of working a sheepdog is magical. We are so proud to bring this event to the large sheep and farming community in Kerry,” he said.

“The sheepdog trials are an opportunity to showcase the importance of a trained sheepdog or border collie is to the day to day running of the Irish farm,” Tom added.

Looking forward to the action are sheep trials champion Tara Foley (front right), Aisling O’Sullivan-D’arcy South Kerry Development Partnership, Seán Moriarty, Farm Manager, Europe Hotel and Resort, Noreen O’Sullivan, Killarney Credit Union, Adrian Steher, Managing Director, Killarney Hotels, Ltd, farmer Liam Fleming, organising committee chairman Tom O’Sullivan, and Kayleigh O’Sullivan. Picture: Valerie O’Sullivan

The local committee said it is grateful for the support received from the South Kerry Development Partnership, Kerry County Council and local businesses, both from a financial and a voluntary point of view.

The National Sheepdog trials will be conducted in strict accordance with Covid-19 guidelines for organised outdoor events. The event currently expects a capacity of 500 people, including competitors, committee members and the general public, so entry will be restricted.

Gates will be open from 8.00 am to 8.00pm and admission will be €10 per adult per day.