Visitors flocked to Punchestown last weekend for the Quinns of Baltinglass All Ireland and International Sheep Shearing and Wool Handling Championships 2012. Top shearers from around the globe compete against the clock and under the watchful eye of the judges, displaying the ultimate in athleticism and accuracy.
Ireland’s best shearers including world-record holder Ivan Scott who sheared an amazing 744 sheep in eight hours, competed against the best international shearers in what proved to be an epic contest. More than 300 people entered both competitons and took to the stage with gusto.
Speaking at the launch, ISSA chairman Andrew Corrigan praised Tom Coyne and the committee at Hollywood Wool and County Fair for hosting this year’s championships.
“Over the years this event has gone from strength to strength. I wish to thank Tom Coyne and his committee for hosting this year’s championships,” he said. “On this the 60th year it is fitting that the competition returns to the home of the very first All Ireland Championships, Hollywood. Many people who witnessed that momentous event are here to enjoy this weekend. We acknowledge their massive contribution to ensuring this event’s survival and maturation into the wonderful event it is today.”
There was much more to shearing too, as Rathangan boys Jedward opened the competitions, much to the delight to the hundreds of children in attendance. Back from Eurovision, they too entertained the crowds, shearing their famous locks though was not an option though for the twins.
Among the other highlights including cookery classes by Catherin Fulvio, spinning wool from raw fleece demonstrations, a race track walk by the Kildare Hunt, music by Crystal Swing, Davitt Showband and the Willoughby Boys.
For children, who flocked to Jedward like sheep, there was monster hand puppets making, hip hop classes and the all-important funfair and bouncing castles. The trade stands and craft and food stalls also proved popular, along with the pygmy goat exhibition and the schools model sheep show.
The orgainsers, Hollywood Wool and County Fair, paid tribute to the many volunteers that helped make the event happen