An irish sheep - © MNStudio

Sheep in Ireland

An irish sheep - © MNStudio

The sheep in Ireland is a bit of a national symbol of the country! It must be said that there are more sheep than human beings on Irish soil! We cross some everywhere, wandering on the deserted roads of Connemara, or near the big cities… And the fact of blocking the passage to vehicles does not bother them the least ! We often find them marked with a stain of paint, a sign of belonging to an Irish peasant from the region… A question then arises: why so many sheep in Ireland? What are they used for? Why are they loved so much? The answer is here!

The Sheep in Ireland, mascot of the Irish country

A cheap animal, which benefits Irish farmers

Achill Island and its sheep - © Thomas Pitterle

Achill Island and its sheep – © Thomas Pitterle

In sheep, everything is good! And even if this maxim is borrowed from the pig, sheep is a cheap animal, which brings an excellent return on investment to Irish farmers! It even participates on a large scale in the development of the agricultural economy in Ireland.

Why? Quite simply because the sheep is an economical animal in terms of maintenance and food. All it needs is a simple sheepfold and miles of green pasture to roam as it pleases!

Ireland is a perfect place to be your favourite playground!

Most of the time, Irish farmers let their sheep graze freely, which is why you can find them on the Irish roads… (Caution: better to avoid a collision with your car and these charming woolly beasts!)

But why so many sheep in Ireland?

As for the fact that sheep are plentiful in Ireland, this can be explained above all by the richness of its raw materials. The proof: sheep produce high-quality wool, which can be sold to the textile industry.

From this raw material, the Irish produce large Irish pullovers, or tweed, a typical speciality of the island! It is also used for the production of insulation material for Irish homes, which allows houses to be protected from the cold and damp.

In addition to the quality of its wool, the sheep is highly prized for its skin, which is often used to make musical instruments such as the bodhràn. Sheepskin is also used for clothing and footwear. As for meat, it is not uncommon for Irish people to eat it. It would even be a rather tender meat and pleasant in taste!

But sheep can also bring returns to Irish farmers when they are not served on our plates. Irish farmers are used to selling them at fairs and competitions, thus raising purebred sheep to increase their selling price.

To sum up, sheep in Ireland allows farmers to subsist by making use of all the advantages that this animal generates. Tourists have turned it into a real mascot, and watch with pleasure at every turn of the road for these marvellous little beasts that come to roam here and there in the Irish countryside!

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