Some 5,000 visitors are expected to ‘flock’ to Burt, Co. Donegal this week to attend the 2014 Irish National Sheep Dog Trials. Sponsored by SSE Airtricity, the annual event will take place at An Grianán Estate in Burt from today until Saturday, July 26.

Handlers of 150 of the best sheep dogs from Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man will battle it out over three days in an effort to be crowned National Champion and secure one of just 15 coveted places to represent their country at the International Sheep Dog Trials.

Each year, the event attracts visitors from all over Ireland as well as Europe, America and New Zealand. As well as the competition, there will also be food, craft and trade stands plus plenty of children’s entertainment, promising a fun day out for all the family.

The current World Sheep Dog Champion James P McGee was on hand to launch the event at SSE Airtricity’s wind farm in Meentycat, Co. Donegal. “As a proud Donegal man, it’s a real honour to host the National Sheep Dog Trials in my home county which has a strong sheep dog trialling tradition. It’s a fantastic family event and I would like to sincerely thank all of my colleagues on the organising committee who have put in so much hard work to make sure we give all the competitors and spectators a really great few days.”

Seamus Herron of SSE Airtricity said: “We’re delighted to support this event, which will no doubt be one of the highlights of the summer in the local area. At SSE Airtricity, we strive to bring positive energy to the communities closest to our wind farms and the Sheep Dog Trials will do just that. There is a lot of local interest in the event and it’s a great opportunity to showcase the local area on a world stage.”