Renowned for their mothering abilities, the Borris ewe has formed the backbone of many Irish sheep flocks down through the generations.

Bred in the foothills of Co. Carlow, and its surrounds, the speckled-faced sheep is seen by many as the ideal ewe.

Borris ewes are well known for their hardiness and maternal traits, according to the Chairman of the Borris Ewe Breeders group, Maurice O’Donoghue.

A combination of Suffolk and Cheviot genetics gives the Borris ewe, and her progeny, extra growth, shape and prolificy, he added.

The hardiness comes from the Suffolk breed and the mountain characteristics of the Cheviot. The strong maternal traits are also acquired from the Cheviot breed.

Sheep farmers from all over Ireland have been known to travel to Co. Carlow to acquire such stock – particularly those operating lowland production systems.

When crossed with a terminal ram, such as a Texel, Charollais or even Suffolk, the Borris ewe will produce an ideal factory or butcher lamb carcass.

For over 50 years, the Borris Sheep Breeders group has been operating special breeding sales to give farmers interested in buying flock replacements the opportunity to source some of the very best Borris ewes or ewe lambs.

This year the group will celebrate its 54th anniversary and will host a sale of over 1,500 hoggets and 800 ewe lambs. It will take place on Thursday, August 10 in Borris Mart, Co. Carlow.

The hoggets will be offered in groups of 10 and judging will take place prior to the auction. O’Donoghue advised potential purchasers to arrive early as the ewe lamb sale kicks off at 10:30am; the hogget sale will follow at 12:30pm.