Ring of Gullion Partnership hosts visit from County Mayo School Group to Explore Shared Heritage of ‘Old Irish Goat’
St Mary’s Primary School, Mullaghbawn and Dromintee Primary School provided a warm south Armagh welcome this week to pupils and staff from Mulranny National School, County Mayo.
The two local primary schools are working in partnership with Mulranny National School and the Old Goat’s Society in Mulranny on researching the rare ‘Old Irish Goat’ breed – a lesser known historic connection between the South-Armagh and West-Mayo communities.
The ‘Old Irish Goat’, forged by the Goat Men of South Armagh in the late 1800s, is an icon of living cultural heritage and it is hoped that this project will help to highlight and improve its current critical conservation status and incorporate the breed into local heritage-based tourism.
Both local schools in partnership with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council through the Ring of Gullion Partnership, were successful in the application for funding from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht’s Co-operation with Northern Ireland Funding Scheme 2019.
Communication between the partners for this heritage-based project was first initiated during the Michael J. Murphy Winter School, 2017 when St Mary’s Primary School presented films based on historical places of interest within their local area. Speakers at the prestigious Winter School included Ray Werner, an expert on rare breeds, who spoke on behalf of the Old Irish Goat Society.
Pupils will pick up on work already begun in the local community by researching the ancient goats, to learn what distinguishes them from goats farmed today. They will look at areas locally where different herds are to be found, for example, on Slieve Gullion, Camlough and Croslieve mountains. They will also research how we can protect them from cross-breeding with modern varieties.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Charlie Casey said, “It is an honor to welcome the Mulranny National School to district. This is a fascinating heritage project and it is great to see these links being developed. Another benefit from this project is the collaboration of artists from the Ring of Gullion area and Mulranny to deliver art workshops to the pupils over the two-day visit. We look forward to nurturing this partnership over the coming years.”
To find out more information, visit www.ringofgullion.org.