SHEEP DOG DEMONSTRATION
As the home of Sheep Farming, Wicklow has some of the best examples of Working Sheep Dog skills in Ireland. Meet Jack and his champion dog and watch wonderful spectacle of the trained sheep dog in a battle of wits as he changes the sheep flock to fresh pasture.
The age-old tradition of shearing the sheep’s winter coat is a fascinating sight. Watch the skilled Shearer as he gently removes the fleece.Indeed, it was just a few miles away in the village of Avoca that Ireland’s first woollen mill was founded.
The cleaning and preparation of the freshly shorn wool for market is an age-old craft. Watch as the wool is rolled and tied in a ball with the neck section of the wool which has been twisted into a rope. This is the traditional way of preparing the sheep’s wool for sale after the shearing.
Celia demonstrates the art of hand spinning, which will involve carding with the carding boards, which open and straighten the fibres by brushing them between the boards and spinning the fibres into yarn. Along with Teasing and Spinning of the sheep’s wool on the traditional Irish spinning wheel, there will be a selection of traditional Irish woollen crafts on display.
The lush pastures of Irelandare renowned for producing rich creamy milk and every farm family made or ‘churned’ their own butter. The fresh cream was topped off the milk or separated by means of a separator. Lots of elbow grease was required to ‘spin’ the ‘churn’, which helped curd the cream. The new butter was then ‘washed’ to remove excess milk and salt was added to help with preservation.
Every housewife in Ireland would have baked bread on a daily basis. The art of baking on the open fire is demonstrated. Turf is usedas the fuel source and this not only provides a constant heat but also adds a unique flavour to the freshly baked bread. Let your guests enjoy a slice of Kathleen’s finest brown bread with some freshly churned butter.
The craft of straw weaving was known as lip-work. Originally, whole straws were used, but it was discovered that straw, which was split, gave a neater finish and also went further. Visitors can watch as the straw from the corn harvest is ‘twisted’ into long ropes, which were then used for a variety of purposes throughout the year on the farm.
Basket making is one of the oldest crafts in the world. Every village would have a basket maker, as baskets were a necessity for carrying all kinds of things. Many farmers had their own sally garden behind the house, and when the sallies were ready for harvesting they were cut and arranged in bundles for private use or for sale on market day. The art of basket weaving is once again growing in popularity.