The Old Irish Goat Society is looking to recruit goat herders and herder apprentices for its Howth Head grazing project and prospective projects around the country.

Launched in September 2021, the Howth Goat Grazing project set out to prove that the Old Irish Goat, a primitive Irish breed, could help protect the headland of Howth.

Earlier that year, a fire had burned on the headland for six weeks causing destruction to the surrounding habitats, and had threatened peoples’ homes, the society said.

“As a goat herder on Howth Head you will be contributing positively to landscape restoration and protection,” Melissa Jeuken, who herds the “hooved firefighters” from Mulranny, Co. Mayo, said.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for lovers of animals, the landscape and those who love working outdoors,” Jeuken, who is also the head herder of the Old Irish Goat Society, said.

“It’s hugely rewarding and it’s really a dream job to get to work with these majestic animals. They’ve done an incredible job and they have proven themselves.

“We are very proud of them, and it’s time for them to show other parts of Dublin and the island what they can do,” the society’s head herder said.

Herders with experience who would like the opportunity to work for the Old Irish Goat Society on this and other projects are encouraged to apply before the deadline on Friday, June 28.

More details on the role, detailed qualification criteria and how to apply can be found on the Old Irish Goat website under the ‘jobs’ section. Applications are welcome from local and international applicants.

Howth Goat Grazing project

Sean Carolan of the Old Irish Goat Society said they had not expected how much the community in Howth would value the goats and consider them an “enrichment of the area”.

“The community respects the herd and are very protective of them. They love when they spot them on the hills, and they value their work in helping to protect this area,” he said.

Image source: Gretchen Kay Stuart

Since its launch, the project has won international acclaim, as well as local awards, including the 2022 “Policies and Initiatives that support climate resilience” award and overall award from the Irish Landscape Institute.

The project was also shortlisted for an Excellence in Local Government Award. In 2022, the Old Irish Goat was also officially recognised as a Native Irish Rare Breed At Risk, the society said.