06 Nov 2020
You can learn sheepdog herding and sheep shearing for real at an idyllic, sustainable farm up in the mountains of Northern Ireland.
The family-owned Glenshane Country Farm is a sheep farm located high in the beautiful and ancient landscape of the Sperrin Mountains.
With panoramic views of Lough Neagh, the Mourne Mountains and Slemish Mountain, where St Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint, worked as a shepherd 1,500 years ago, the setting couldn’t be better for enjoying tales and experiences of farming life.
At Glenshane Country Farm you can discover how, with a whistle, a whisper, or a gesture, Jamese McCloy can direct his dogs to herd hundreds of sheep.
Like his father and grandfather before him, Jamese has been tending sheep for decades with the help of his highly trained border collies, Moss, Jess and Tess, who themselves come from a long line of sheepdogs.
The sheep farmer, who is featured on a large mural painting in his home town of Maghera in County Londonderry, is a master at welcoming people to his farm, sharing tales of farming life and giving live demonstrations of his sheepdogs at work.
During the demonstration you can meet Moss, Tess and little Jess as they work and control the sheep in the field, listening to and obeying Jamese’s whistles and commands.
The Sperrin Mountains
Learn how these words and sounds have different meanings to the dogs, help Jamese with the commands or open the gates to lead the flock into traditional wooden pens.
Make friends with the dogs, breathe in the scent of fresh hay, and reach over to touch the sheep, their springy wool like candy floss.
Standing in a custom-built shelter with a cup of tea or coffee in hand, the experience lets you slow the pace and take in the marvellous views that Northern Ireland’s giant landscape has to offer.
After watching the sheepdogs doing what they love, move across to the barns to see the facilities needed to handle, weigh and treat the flock throughout the year, including where the sheep spend their time during lambing.
As a shearing contractor for over 20 years Jamese will a give a sheep shearing demonstration, offering an up-close opportunity to see and feel a freshly shorn ewe and touch her springy warm wool.
When you leave Glenshane you will have a story to tell, and feel like you have been part of something traditional and special.
Jamese McCloy Mural, Maghera, County Derry~Londonderry
Glenshane Country Farm
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