Sheep Handlers will be flocking to Killarney – Irish National Sheepdog Trials

Sheep handlers with their loyal canine companions will be flocking to Killarney to compete in the Irish National Sheepdog Trials – a three day  national  championship which takes place at Killalee, Fossa, Killarney (Gap of Dunloe Road)  from Thursday 5th to Saturday 7th, August 2021, 52 acre field used by kind permission of The Europe Hotel and Resort.


The trials will see 150 of the countries top handlers, working with their sheepdogs  to compete for the much coveted trophy and be crowned national champion of Ireland .  The event judges will also select 15 of the top dogs in the country, to represent Ireland in the International sheep dog trials , later this year. 

The event is similar to the popular tv show “ One Man and his Dog”. This is also the  first time the national sheepdog championship takes place in County Kerry.

 Tom O’Sullivan, Chairman of the Local Committee, said  “Watching a handler control his dog herding sheep in a controlled manner, is the essence of a partnership ,  formed at home at an early age ,  when one goes about training a sheepdog to help out with everyday work on the farm. Everyone loves watching the sheepdog  work at sheepdog trials .   An event of this nature will be a huge economical boost to the Fossa and Killarney area alike particularly after the eighteen months of a Global Pandemic. 

The art of working a sheepdog is magical . We are so  proud to bring this event to the large sheep & farming community in Kerry. The sheepdog trials are an opportunity to showcase ,   the importance  of a trained sheepdog/border collie is to the day to day running of the Irish farm. ” 


The local committee are very grateful for the support  of South Kerry Development Partnership, (SKDP),  Kerry County Council and  local  

Businesses  both from a financial and a voluntary point of view.


Gilbertson and Page Pet Food and Irish Country Meats are the main sponsors for the event.

 Kathryn Roche of Irish Country Meats says “Irish Country Meats are delighted to support the Irish National Sheepdog Trials for 2021. As the largest lamb processor in Ireland, all aspects of sheep farming are the fabric of our business. We are proud to be asked to partner in such a prestigious event and wish all competitors the best of luck. We wish the winners well in the international trials in Wales. Finally, we wish the organising committee every success in such a large undertaking.”


Kilcummin Gourmet Kitchens will  be providing on-site catering for the three days of the event.


Tom O’Sullivan,  added 

The 2020 event was cancelled due to Covid 19 , which was disappointing but understandable. An event  of this calibre is a wonderful opportunity for people to  watch the best handlers and sheepdogs in Ireland ,  showcasing the e age old skill of working sheep on the trials field. The event  will select the  15 person Irish Team to represent Ireland at the 2021 International Sheepdog Trials in Aberystwyth, Wales. 

The Europe Hotel and Resort  Haven , have granted  use of  their fifty-two acre field , outside Killarney  to host the event. The sheep for the event will be from the farm of   Jim Dennehy , Gap of Dunloe Road, and Con Healy, Millstreet, Co. Cork.

The local committee are very grateful to all the volunteers and indeed the local business’s who have sponsored the event in any way.

 We look forward to welcoming people to what will hopefully be a great trial”


The Local Committee stressed that the National Sheepdog trials will be conducted in  strict accordance with the Governments Covid 19 guidelines for organised outdoor events  at the time of the event. 


The event currently expects a capacity of 500 people ,  including competitors, local committee members and the general public. Due to the limited number of people allowed to the event , the  local  committee would like to make people aware that entry to the general public will be restricted ,  once the allowed capacity at the time has been reached. They would respectfully ask that the general public appreciate this.


It is advised to arrive early to avoid the disappointment  

Gates open from  8 .00 am  – 8 .00 pm .

Admission will be €10 per adult per day with under 16’s and International Sheepdog Society Members gaining free entry.