Roscommon lamb festival is a ‘cut’ above the rest

Sheep farmers across the west and midlands are being asked this week to select the best of their commercial ewe and twin lambs – for inclusion in a special sheep sale at Roscommon Mart on Wednesday, April 26.

The mart event will include the launch of Roscommon Lamb Festival, by none other than IFA President, Joe Healy.

Entrants will be in with a chance of winning the Oliver Burke Memorial Trophy. Carved from Lecarrow limestone by local sculptor Mark Feeley, it will be presented to the owner of the best ewe and twin lambs.

The trophy commemorates the contribution of Oliver Burke, former CAO of Teagasc in Roscommon, to the Roscommon Lamb Festival. There will be a cash prize of €100 for the winner, with €75 for the runner-up; and €50 for third place.

Wednesday morning will see the unveiling of a life-size sculpture of a Roscommon ewe and lamb, which will be put on permanent display in a central location in Roscommon over the coming months.

The sculpture is currently being worked on in local limestone by Mark Feeley. A crowd-funding initiative with a target of €5,000, has been set up to fund the commission, with donations being received from Roscommon people across the globe.

Music at the festival launch in the mart will be by the King Street Bluegrass Band, which is travelling from Virginia in the US.

The festival programme includes a farm walk on the sheep farm of Willie John Fitzmaurice in Athleague; a farmers’ market for artisan food producers including a sheep cheese stand from Sheridan’s Cheesemongers Galway; Macra events; and international sheepdog trials.

The launch of the All-Ireland and All-Nations Shearing and Wool Handling Championships will take place in the town square on Sunday at 7pm. On the social side, highlights will include a street party on Saturday night in the square and a family fun day in Loughnaneane Park on Sunday.

For further information, click on the festival’s website.