Northern Ireland is set to host the World Sheepdog Trials at Gill Hall Estate, Co Down from 13 to 16 September. The International Sheepdog Trials will be held in Wicklow from 8 to 10 September.

Organised by the International Sheep Dog Society, the four-day World Sheepdog Trials event is expected to attract 50,000 spectators from across the world. Some 240 competitors from over 30 countries will compete, vying to be crowned top dog when the world champion is announced on the final day.

Team Ireland, which this year includes a grandfather and grandson duo, will compete against teams from as far away as Argentina and Canada.

International sheepdog trial

In Wicklow, the International Sheepdog Trials 2023 will showcase the talents of 60 dogs from across Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. These dogs will be the top 15 dogs selected from each nation’s national trial, which takes place over the summer.

The event will consist of two days of qualifications culminating in the international supreme championship. In addition, there will be a brace championship, which involves two dogs working in harmony with one another, and a young handler competition.

Sheep-herding experience

Owner of Glenshane Country Farm, Jamese McCloy is a fourth-generation shepherd and sheep farmer. He has opened the gates of his family farm to share a “sheepdogs at work” farm experience to visitors.

Visitors get involved by opening gates and helping to lead the flock into the pens as well as learning the commands to instruct the talented dogs.

Visitor centre

Glenshane Country Farm has recently unveiled a new visitor centre called Country Barn, which will provide visitor experiences including views of the Sperrins and Northern Ireland, fleece to fashion, intro to Irish dance, locally sourced foods and a gift shop selling locally sourced gifts, including farm-grown wool products.