Plans are progressing well for Kepak Shearfest 2024, the major sheep shearing extravaganza taking place at the Kepak All-Ireland and All Nations Sheep Shearing and Wool Handling Championships.

The event which takes place on the grounds of Mountbellew Co-op Mart in Co Galway on Saturday and Sunday, 1 and 2 June 2024, has shearing as the obvious focal point, but the organising committee has a wide range of attractions for young and old patrons and music enthusiasts.

This year’s shearing event encapsulates the All Nations competition, attracting elite shearers from right across the globe. The majority of Irish competitions from novice grade to senior grade will be held on Saturday 1 June with the All Nations events taking place on Sunday 2 June.

The All Nations finals are hotly contested events and those attending will witness sheep being shorn in less than a minute.

Providing hoggets is a significant logistical exercise with all hoggets checked and prepared (crutching of wool around the tail head) in advance of the event and requiring treatment to guard against blowfly strike. Upwards of 1,500 hoggets will be shorn over two days of competitions.

Shearing runs throughout the day with gates open to the public from 9am to 6pm.

Shearers interested in competing on the day only have a few days left to submit their entry with the deadline approaching fast on Saturday 18 May.

Irish wool experience

Chair of the organising committee, Michael Cunniffe, says the group is in a lucky position to have a number of other local groupings involved in the event including Mountbellew Agricultural College, Mountbellew Vintage Club, Galway Telework Mountbellew and Galway’s Living Bog.

While Mountbellew Mart is the face of the event, many local groups are coming together to ensure a successful event is delivered that will attract up to 20,000 visitors over the weekend.

An Irish wool experience will tie in with the theme of showcasing Galway’s Living Bog, which is an added attraction less than two miles from the venue.

The wool experience will showcase the many values of wool being a natural, renewable and biodegradable product. Demonstrations over the weekend will include the process of spinning and weaving wool with age old traditions showcased.

Best practice in dipping

The inclusion of the plunge dipping to control external parasites action in the National Sheep Welfare Scheme will lead to an increase in the number of farmers plunge dipping sheep in the coming months. A special demonstration is being held on the Saturday and will address all aspects of dipping.

This includes information to ensure farmers satisfy scheme requirements, veterinary advice on optimum dipping protocols, advice on dealing with spent sheep dip and a demonstration on mobile plunge dipping.

Sheep scab, in particular, is a growing concern for sheep producers with farmers and marts reporting growing incidence while veterinary specialists are worried that sub-optimum control programmes will lead to the rate of resistance to important chemicals accelerating.

Other attractions

Michael Cunniffe said a steady stream of commercial exhibits are booking in stands and he is urging those interested in exhibiting to make contact with Mountbellew Mart.

Pedigree and rare breed sheep exhibits offer an attraction for farmers and the general public, while sheepdog trials add another dimension.

Other attractions include craft stalls, fashion shows and cookery demonstration while for younger attendees there are children’s amusements, face painting an interactive magic show and much more.


Daily attendance costs €15 per adult plus a booking fee and €5 plus a booking fee for 12- to 17-year-olds while under-12s are free when accompanied by an adult.


The multi-faceted event will have activities from dawn to midnight including ‘MartBeat’, an aptly named music festival attracting top names in Irish country music.

The music festival will take place open air on the grounds of the mart.

Headline acts on Saturday include Mike Denver and George Murphy and the Rising Sons with Michael English and Cliona Hagan headlining on Sunday night.

Other artists including Ciaran Rosney, Sabrina Fallon and Claudia Buckley will also be in attendance. Tickets cost €25 plus booking fee and can be ordered at

Get more information

More information in the lead-up to the event can be found on

Strong support

Michael Cunniffe highlighted the ongoing local support of farmers and businesses.

“We have been heartened once again by support from the community for the mart and shearing event. The Kepak Group has come on board as title sponsor for the event while Cultivate is the main competition sponsor and FBD is the shearing hall sponsor.”

Other sponsors

Other section sponsors confirmed to date include Cormac Tagging, AIB, St Jarlath’s Credit Union, Bord Bia, Galway Council, Galway Rural Development (GRD), Local Enterprise Office (LEO) and Connacht Wool.