Minister visits conservation project to save rare heritage sheep

A conservation project to save the Cladoir sheep was visited by the Minister of State for Heritage Malcolm Noonan.

The Cladoir Sheep Conservation Project, aims to regenerate the rare breed that were native to Connemara and mainly kept for their wool.

Post-Famine, the Cladoir or “shore dweller” sheep were pushed out towards the water on the west cost, in favour of other breeds that became popular with farmers and landowners.

The survival of the small white face breed seemed bleak during the 1990s and was believed to be extinct in 1995. 

However, Westport farmer Tom King, managed to accumulated a small flock of Cladoir sheep, which were bought by Connemara National Park in Letterfrack in October 2019. 

Other similar sheep were also purchased by the national park in 2020 and DNA tests on the flock revealed that 56 of the sheep had a significant amount of Cladoir DNA.

Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) board members Brendan Joyce and Brendan O’Malley are two of the farmers who will be working with the captive breeding project. They hope to increase the purity of the stock.

LSL News.