Lamb Festival: Co. Roscommon

The Roscommon Lamb festival celebrates everything…. well, lamb!!

Roscommon has the highest lamb output in Ireland and this festival celebrates lamb in a diverse range of events over the course of a family fun weekend. The festival has grown from strength to strength and those who are travelling to the west coast of Ireland this year are in for a treat as this year marks the 10 year anniversary of the event!

The people of Roscommon take their lamb so seriously that they have unveiled a life-size sculpture of a Roscommon ewe and lamb, which is on permanent display in central Roscommon.

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The life-size sculpture of a Roscommon ewe and lamb

Events at the festival include local business producing culture and craft, Artisan food producers from around Roscommon displaying their produce and a stand devoted entirely to sheeps cheeses from Ireland. Local tours of the local heritage will include a stop at Lough Fuinshinagh to discuss the hydrology of the landscape there. Other items of interest include ten Irish and six Scottish artists exhibiting their woven tapestries which is an ancient medium and hugely labour intensive, and of course some sheep shearing competitions!!

sheep shear.jpg

The Roscommon breed of sheep was exported all over the world in the late 1800s and early 1900s, to Argentina, Australia, England and was sought after for the quality of both its wool and its meat.

The county crest features a sheep’s head along with the oak leaf and the crown, reflecting the importance of sheep farming to the county.

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The Roscommon GAA jersey with the county crest featuring a sheep’s head

Limestone is the bedrock under much of the soil in Co Roscommon and is one of the factors which contribute to the high quality of farm produce. South Roscommon, in particular, is covered with dry stone [limestone] walls enclosing sheep pastures. In times past when wool was a valuable raw material, it was said that “dear wool and cheap labour built the big houses of Co Roscommon”.

The lamb festival closes with a mini marathon and all funds raised go to Family Carers Ireland and people are invited to walk if they do not wish to run.

Michael Dorgan

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