Roscommon is the sixth-largest county in terms of ewe numbers and numbers of flock owners. Its sheep numbers are bettered by Donegal, Galway, Mayo, Kerry and Wicklow, with the first four counties considerably larger in area. The position reinforces Roscommon’s strong tradition of sheep farming, with the south Roscommon area having a particularly high sheep population and being home to a large percentage of the county’s 127,579-ewe flock.

This year’s All Ireland and All Nations Sheep Shearing and Wool handling Championships takes place on the June bank holiday weekend on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 June with the Kepak Group title sponsors. Chair of the organising committee Thomas Beades says that St Brigid’s GAA club in Kiltoom, Co Roscommon, is an ideal venue to host the competition, being located in the “heart of sheep country”.