The Carrick-on-Shannon Winter Fair has become synonymous with quality calves and weanlings and all the top prices to match. Last Sunday and Monday 26 and 27 November once again exceeded all expectations as the sale record was smashed not once, but twice, on Monday night.

Belgian Blue

John Kennedy from Tullymore, Co Donegal, enjoyed massive success in the show ring on Sunday afternoon with his heifer calf, Sugar and Spice.

After being tapped forward as the junior Belgian Blue champion after competing with 85 other young heifers in the under-450kg heifer class, hype began to build and it was clear that the Kennedy family had something extremely special on their hands.

Sean and Jack Ramsbottom with their Belgian Blue heifer calf that sold for €7,600. \ Tricia Kennedy

The AZL daughter was born in March of this year and was bred from a Castleview Gringo cow. The bidding opened at €1,700 and within a matter of minutes, brisk bidding saw auctioneer Eamonn Gaffney’s hammer fall at a record smashing €21,500 for the 445kg calf that sold to a Donegal breeder.

Next best was the record holder from the 2021 Winter Fair, Sean Ramsbottom from Co Laois.

Frank McHugh's Belgian Blue bull calf that sold for the top male price of €4,650. \Tricia Kennedy

His perfectly marked Chocolat de Champs-sired heifer that weighed in at 390kg sold for the second highest Belgian Blue price of €7,600.

Not far behind was Cian McGloin from Kinlough with his heifer calf, sired by Solway View Dynamite that weighed in at 410kg and sold for €7,400.


A trio of Limousin heifers managed to broach the five-figure barrier on the day. First up were Letterkenny-based breeders Ailish McBride and Colin McFadden with their reserve Limousin champion.

Colin McFadden and Ailish McBride with the reserve Limousin champion that sold for €18,400. \ Tricia Kennedy

The very sweet Ballinloan Jaegerbomb-sired calf weighed in at 260kg on the day and sold for the second highest price of the night and the second highest record price at the Carrick Winter Fair at €18,400 (€70.77/kg).

Derrick Forde and Jonny Burke with Derrick's Limousin heifer that sold for €13,100. \Tricia Kennedy

Renowned Galway-based breeder Derrick Forde brought forward a very powerful Trueman Idol-sired heifer from his Corandulla Herd, with the calf’s dam being one of Forde’s pedigree Blue cows Corandulla Gretta.

The classy black heifer saw bids creep steadily past the €10,000 mark before finally reaching €13,100.

Sean Hughes from Carrickmacross finished the trifecta with his red Limousin calf that oozed style and class being knocked down at €10,800. Sired by Ampertaine Elgin from a Belgian Blue cow by Imperial d’Ecluse, her full sister stood as the Royal Highland commercial champion in 2022 for JCB Commercials.

Sean and Jamie Hughes with their Limousin-cross heifer that sold for €10,800 with Caoimhe and Brendan McEnaney. \Tricia Kennedy

Laois man Sean Ramsbottom made an impression once again with his second prizewinning Trueman Idol daughter. This sweet young heifer was full of power and sweetness and was a full sister to the recordbreaking calf of €18,000 back in 2021. She sold for €10,100.

Jack Ramsbottom with his father Sean's second prizewinning Limousin calf that sold for €10,100. \Tricia Kennedy

Dermot McGinley from Co Donegal was next in the Limousin shake-up with his third prizewinning heifer that sold for €8,200.

She was followed swiftly by Aclare man Jim Cunney with his Rocky-sired heifer that sold for €8,100.

The final lot to clear the €7,000 mark in the Limousin section was bred by the Sweeney brothers from Ardara, with their TVR-sired breeding heifer that sold for €7,800.

Dermot McGinley with his Limousin-cross heifer that sold for €8,200. \ Tricia Kennedy

Jim Cunney with Alva Tarmey that sold their third prizewinning Limousin-cross heifer for €8,100. \Tricia Kennedy

Gavin Sweeney with his Limousin-cross heifer calf that sold for €7,800. \Tricia Kennedy


It was a battle similar to that of a hurling match with the Banner County and the Treaty County fighting it out for the top gong.

Clare breeders Martin and Kieran Killen, Mullagh, clenched the junior Charolais champion title with their Ashleigh Admiral-sired heifer calf.

Having won a host of prizes throughout the summer show season including a first at the National Show in Tullamore, several overall championships and two reserve all-Ireland calf championships, the hammer eventually fell at €7,600.

Bobby Patterson, Tara Browne and owner Kieran Killeen with the Charolais champion that sold for €7,600. \Tricia Kennedy

Following close behind was Limerick man Shane Giltinane, with his reserve junior Charolais champion.

After a hugely successful summer picking up titles such as reserve champion calf of the future in Tullamore Show, champion beef calf of the future in Glenamaddy, all-lreland bonny baby calf champion in Cappamore, interbreed champion in Cappamore and all-lreland calf champion in Limerick Show, Giltinane took home €7,000 for the multi award-winning calf.

The sale of the Flatley brothers’ Charolais-cross heifer from Co Mayo filled the thronged ringside early in the day, with laughter and applause due to some comical comments from bidders before realising €7,250 for their golden-coloured Fury Action daughter.

Weanling bulls

The weanling bulls also met an impressive tarde at the Winter Fair last weekend and the lots saw a top price of €4,650 achieved. Frank McHugh from Portnoo was the owner of the Belgian Blue-cross that weighed in at 380kg.

James O’Grady from Co Clare was up next with his Belgian Blue bull weighing 340kg that sold for €4,400. It was then a tie at the top for Gene McCann from Julianstown with his Charolais calf weighing 442kg and John O’Grady from Glenamaddy with his Limousin calf – both sold for €4,200 on the evening.