Killarney gets set to host Irish National Sheepdog Trials

First time the event has been held in Co Kerry 
Killarney gets set to host Irish National Sheepdog Trials

Shetland sheepdogs Bailey, Lassie and Misty enjoying the freedom of the freshly-cut hay fields in Fennell's Bay, Co Cork. Picture: Liz Searls-Spratt. 

150 sheepdog owners and their dogs from all over the country will descend on Co Kerry next week for the Irish National Sheepdog trials which will take place in Killarney.

The event is being hosted on a 52-acre site on the grounds of the Europe Hotel and the Resort Haven in Fossa from Thursday, August 5 to Saturday, August 7. 

It is the very first time the Trials will be held in Co Kerry.

Speaking this week, the chairman of the local committee Tom O’Sullivan said everyone is really looking forward to the event. 

He added: "Watching a handler control the dog herding sheep in a controlled manner is the essence of a partnership, formed at home at an early age when one goes about training a sheepdog to help with everyday work on the farm. 

"The art of working a sheepdog is magical. We are so proud to bring this event to the large sheep-farming community in Kerry."

Looking forward

With last year's event cancelled there is huge interest this year. 

The event will select the 15-person team to represent Ireland at the 2021 International Sheepdog Trials. 

The International Sheep Dog Trials, which are the pinnacle in the sheepdog trialling calendar, are to be held from Friday, September 10 to Sunday 12 at Tancastell Fields, Rhydyfelin in Aberystwyth in Wales.

During the three days the top 60 handlers, made up of teams of 15 handlers and their dogs from each of the nations, England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, will be competing against each other to determine an overall 'International Supreme Champion'.

Next week's event will have a maximum capacity of 500 and gates will open each day from 8am to 8pm.

Admission costs €10 per adult with Under 16s and members of the International Sheepdog Society admitted free of charge. 

The sheep for the event will be from the farms of Jim Dennehy, Gap of Dunloe Road, and Con Healy, Millstreet, Cork.

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