I’ve worked near Caherconnell for a while but shamefully I’ve never actually visited. I had heard that there were sheepdog demonstrations at Caherconnell so I decided that today was the day that I would go and see what they were all about. Obviously, they don’t just do them on demand so you have to check the website for the times. You can access that here
I arrived in plenty of time so first was the visit out to the fort. A joint student ticket costs about 8.20 so good value for what you get. Prices are all on their website. The man at the reception desk was really informative, explaining the self guided tour and going through the booklet you receive. First, there is a 20 minute video that explains about the Burren, the forts in the area and the significance of Caherconnell as well as an animation of how life might have been like in the fort.
From there you continue to the fort and each stop is marked with an explanation in the booklet. Because it’s a self guided tour, it is as entertaining and interesting as you make it yourself. I thought it was fascinating and it seems like there are archaeological digs continuing there so I look forward to hearing about any findings.
I headed back inside for a bite to eat before the sheepdog demonstrations. The menu was so good, I felt really pressurized to make the right choice, so many delicious dishes, so little time. In the end, I went for a toasted wrap. It was a little on the untoasted side but the cafe is so cute and the staff are all pottering around doing little jobs that I didn’t really care that it was a little cold.
Eventually, the sheepdog demonstration happened. I really only visited for the sheepdogs and they did not disappoint! First, the farmer, John, introduced the dogs and the job they do and it was so lovely to see how well he knew their personalities. He was so knowledgeable about the subject that it was a pleasure to hear him speak.
Then the dogs went out and he showed us how they work by voice and by whistle. Those dogs have mad skills, super handy with the sheep and mad for action.
He worked the dogs several times before getting them to work together and separate the herd. Finally, we learned a bit about the type of sheep used in the Burren and the reasons for the different colours on them and so on. The demonstration took about 40 minutes or so.
I cannot recommend this place enough. I must have spent well over 2 hours here between exploring the fort, eating and checking out the sheepdog demo. The staff are my kind of staff, well presented, working away at different jobs, polite and informative. The attraction is so simple but effective. If you want to find out more, including where they are located, you can check out their website here.