Denis Lehane: Farewell to world of sheep farming

Monday was a traumatic day for me. I’m still not in the better of it.
Denis Lehane: Farewell to world of sheep farming

On Monday I said goodbye to the world of sheep farming. I took every sheep and lamb on this farm and hauled them off to Corrin mart.

They are all gone now — including the famous Pat Mustard.

As you probably know well from reading this paper, I got into sheep a little over a year ago, thinking that a fortune could be made. Alas, this did not happen. But on the plus side, I leaned a lot about sheep.

Yerra, every new day brought a new adventure. My sheep were lively, bless them, a constant source of surprise for me and my neighbours.

The farm is a lot quieter now with the sheep gone. My mornings spent sleeping, my head not filled with wonder as to my sheep, and their whereabouts.

Of course I’ll miss the sheep. And I miss big old Pat Mustard, the Suffolk ram, most of all. Pat was something special.

“So how did they do at the mart on Monday?” you might well cry. They all sold great, the lambs and the ewes did fine. But enough about them, for Monday was all about Pat Mustard.

Going by the stir that he caused when we touched down in Corrin, it was clear that the old ram’s reputation had preceded him. Every ewe in the mart was going crazy for the big guy. The ‘Barry White’ of the sheep world had clearly arrived.

And I had chosen a good day to take him. Last Monday in Corrin the mart held a special breeding sale for rams. It was a day for the crème de la crème, the best of the best. Pat would be in good company.

And up to the moment that Pat entered the ring, each ram was commanding hundreds of euros.

But when Mustard swaggered in the place went dead silent. The buyers knew straightaway that he was something different. Ewes in pens surrounding the main ring peered in, hoping to get a glance of their hero. Things were about to get serious, and I could sense that as I stood by the auctioneer. I was shaking with anticipation.

“So tell me about him,” the auctioneer mumbled.

“His name is Pat Mustard,” I declared, and with that Pat let off an all merciful roar. The King had arrived.

And as to the question of his fertility, I whispered, “in the name of God, man, his four feet are rarely on the ground.”

I exaggerated this a little bit of course, but that’s what you do in such a hyped-up situation.

So now the moment of truth, and off the auctioneer started with me clinging onto his every word. I expected an opening bid of about €1,000.

But unfortunately for Mustard, he just didn’t cut the mustard with the buyers, and for some time it looked like he would be heading home alone with me.

Then all of a sudden, out of nowhere came a bid of €10 and with that a bidding war started.

Soon my ram was at €55, but alas for Mustard, he would go no higher.

“Going once,” called the auctioneer, raising his gaval high. Then looking around, for fear that he had missed a bid, “going twice” says he. And then striking down hard he roared aloud, “Gone”.

And just like that, Mustard was gone. I shed a tear, of course, as I left the sellers’ box. It would be hard not to in such a circumstance.

Mustard didn’t break sales records in Corrin. Unfortunately for my ram, he was always more of a heart breaker than a record breaker.

More in this section

Farming
Newsletter

Keep up-to-date with all the latest developments in Farming with our weekly newsletter

Sign up
Revoiced
Newsletter

Our Covid-free newsletter brings together some of the best bits from irishexaminer.com, as chosen by our editor, direct to your inbox every Monday.

Sign up
Lunchtime
News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up