We are currently trialling our new-look independent.co.uk website - please send any feedback to beta@independent.co.uk


Ireland needs shaggy sheep for 'shearing Olympics'

1,000 ewes are required for this year's Golden Shears World Championships

Can ewe help? Ireland requires more than 6,000 sheep for the 16th annual "shearing Olympics".

The Green Isle is putting out a call for shaggy sheep ahead of this year’s Golden Shears World Championships.

With just weeks to go before the event dubbed “the Olympics of sheep shearing” kicks off, organisers remain more than 1,000 sheep short.

They need ewes, aged 12 to 14 months, to ensure that every competitor is supplied with a similarly shaped sheep.  

Prices for such animals in Ireland are running high and farmers are under pressure to sell them before the 22 May start of the four-day competition in Gorey, south of Dublin

This year's event features competitors from 38 countries from China to Chile, including defending champion shearer Gavin Mutch of Scotland. Ireland previously hosted the 37-year-old contest in 1998.

Alongside the shearing competitions, visitors can also enjoy the Golden Shears Fringe Festival, which showcases various aspects of rural life.

Additional reporting by Associated Press