Hypothetical: Sheep Herding in Ireland

June 18, 2015

Question:

If, hypothetically, a young American man were interested in the humble endeavor of sheep herding in rural Ireland, but didn’t really have any pertinent experience, what’s the likelihood that he could find a kindly shepherd to apprentice under?

Answer:

I think the chances are reasonable, provided you don't want to be paid for said apprenticeship - sheep farmers tend not to have much money to pay staff. You may be able to negotiate board and lodgings though.

You'll need to find a farmer. I'd suggest three possible ways to begin.

First, contact the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers' Association (ICSA), who are on Twitter. Honestly I'd say if you are on Twitter that might be a good way to contact them - ask them to retweet and loads of farmers should see the request.

A second but slightly costlier method would be to put an ad in the Irish Farmers Journal classifieds. All farmers read the Farmers Journal and they do read the classifieds. I'd go with both a print and an online ad, since a significant portion of the target market may not be online.

Finally, try a Google search for 'sheepdog training Ireland' and you'll find the websites of sheep farmers who have a particular interest in training dogs to herd sheep. They'd all be well informed about what opportunities might be available to you, and would be good people to contact.

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