Rare Breeds on Tour at the Ulster American Folk Park
Published: 23 April 2010
The Ulster American Folk Park will be filled with some unusual sounds and smells with the arrival of 20 breeds of rare native livestock from Ireland and England this Bank Holiday Weekend on May 2nd and 3rd.
Pigs, sheep and cattle which were common up to the time of our great grandparents’ childhoods will be on display in the perfect farming landscapes provided by the award-winning open-air museum.
From Ireland, the small and hardy dark Kerry, the Dexter and the Irish Moiled cattle are making a star appearance. This is a long way from the threatened extinction of some of these breeds – by the late 1970s, the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) reported only 30 Irish Moiled cows and two bulls left in existence. Today the herd is more than 350-strong thanks to the RBST’s work.
National Museums Northern Ireland’s Assistant Curator for Agriculture Liam Corry says: “The Ulster American Folk Park welcomes back the Sperrins and Lakelands branch of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust for a fourth time and welcomes its effort to stimulate interest in rare breeds west of the province.”
“There is no better place to enjoy looking at native rare breeds than the natural setting of the Ulster American Folk Park where history is brought to life.”
Included in the array of rare breeds on display will be the distinctive Tamworth and Middle White pigs. The Tamworth is an intensely ginger colour and the Middle White is peculiar with its characteristic squashed face sometimes referred to as “beautifully ugly”! Among the rare sheep breeds will be Leicester Longwools, Black Wensleydales and Whitefaced Woodlands.
RSBT Sperrins and Lakelands Secretary Gavin Goodman says he is thrilled to be able to bring back the hugely popular rare breeds to the Ulster American Folk Park.
“This event provides a wonderful opportunity to see at close hand the important role our farmyard animals played in shaping the culture and heritage of the country,” he says.
“Many of our native breeds now have a growing future in today’s farming and they are ideal for those who want to keep a few animals on a small holding.”
As well as a large selection of poultry, children will also be able to get up close and handle some of the animals in a special petting area. Experts will be on hand during the event days to answer questions and information on keeping animals will also be available.
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