Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue TD has announced that his Department will part sponsor the 2023 International Sheepdog Trials.
The trials will take place in Blessington, Co Wicklow on 8th, 9th, and 10th September next and will see dogs and their handlers from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England compete with some 190 sheepdogs taking part.
The event is co-sponsored by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine as well as LEADER. With the support of LEADER, it will see Wicklow being hosts for the first time in its history. The International trials are held annually on a rotation basis each summer, in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales therefore Ireland only acts as host every four years.
Commenting on his Department’s sponsorship of the event, Minister McConalogue said:
“As a young farmer growing up in Donegal, I trialled sheepdogs and, indeed, trained sheepdogs for farmers in the locality. I know first-hand of the importance of the sheepdog trails to, not only, farmers but also to the local economy.
“I am thrilled to see the 2023 International Sheepdog Trials coming to Blessington, Co Wicklow in September and my Department is delighted to help support the running of the event.
“We will see some of the best dogs and their handlers from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales descend on Blessington for three days. It’s going to be a very exciting event with the top talent on display so I encourage with an interest in trialling to put 8th, 9th and 10th September in their diary now and I look forward to seeing you all there.”
Chairman of the Wicklow Sheep Dog trials, Eamonn Connell said:
“We are exceptionally proud to be taking on bringing this event to the garden county this year. The Irish Sheep Dog Society has been actively working with and for the promotion of sheepdogs since 1906 and with the first Irish International trial only being held in Thurles racecourse in 1997, seeing this event come to Co Wicklow in 2023 is indeed a huge honour and the excitement in the committee is indeed infectious.
“We are a community led voluntary committee and while the task we are undertaking is certainly challenging, we are fully committed to making this an event not to be missed in this year’s calendar. The competition trials will obviously be very much cantered around showcasing the agility & intelligence of the sheepdog, but equally the essence of the show in 2023 is community and family focused, with plenty on offer to see and do.”
Evelyn Murray from LEADER Rural Development Programme – Wicklow said:
“The LEADER Rural Development Programme (Wicklow) is delighted to be supporting this project and event. Not only is it an excellent opportunity to showcase the beauty and intelligence of the sheepdog as a breed, it also gives us the opportunity to highlight all the Garden County has to offer. We look forward to extending a warm welcome to all visitors, locally, nationally and internationally and it is surely to be a spectacle that no dog lover will want to miss.“