It’s farming editor, Catherina Cunnane, in conversation with Ciarán Mc Loughlin (18), Trim, Co Meath in this week’s sheep farming segment. We discuss his herds of Border Leicester and Ryeland sheep, Ciarán yarn and wool prices and
“I come from a family where agriculture is a great tradition. Most of my earliest memories revolve around farming, but the most vivid memories would be of shearing, calving and lambing times and days of shows or sales.
I am a sixth year student at Dunshaughlin Community College and run a herd of Border Leicesters and Ryelands under the prefix ‘Royal’.
I breed Border Leicesters as they are very prolific, easy to lamb, produce superb offspring, both pedigree and commercial, with extra length, height, character, conformation and style.
You can cross rams with any ewe as maternal sire. I chose Ryelands as my breed in 2018 and never looked back.
They are easy to lamb with high lamb survivability compared to other breeds, make excellent dairy mothers, are very prolific and are a hardy breed.
It has high resistance to rot and scald and is a low input breed that commercially or pedigree-wise requires no more than a grass-based diet to have excellent condition and conformation.
You can see this, especially, when you use him as a terminal bull in other breeds.
Most of my herd is pedigree except for a few crosses to show the benefits of using Border Leicesters and Ryelands as sires.
I started Ciarán’s Yarns during my time in transition year when I was 16.
All my wool for my yarn comes from my organic pedigree flocks in the heart of County Meath.
I started Ciaráns Yarns because I wanted to showcase the incredible natural wool products I could produce from the fleeces of my rare breed flock, which had previously been underestimated.
I had this blistering moment in the summer of 2020 when I was told the harsh reality of the value of my premium wool after shearing.
Honestly, I was told that I would be lucky if the sale of my wool covered 20% of my shearing costs.
So I decided to keep my high quality fleeces produced by my sheep and find an alternative to my new problem.
After a lot of hard work and planning, it has now resulted in the creation of Ciarán’s Yarns.
Resellers and online store
Anyone can buy my yarn from yarn stores across the country online through my etsy.
My yarn is also available in designer knits such as Aoife Long from ‘Along’ and Faye Dinsmore Knitwear. The latter featured my thread in Brown Thomas.
My yarns have a price range depending on the volume desired and the type of yarn itself. All yarn is top quality and worth every penny.
I only use the best fleeces from my herd, which I select and sort by hand to make sure I’m using the best quality fibers.
We try to do our best on site. I am delighted to say that we support other off-site businesses in the production of my yarns.
Woolen products and wool as a whole have lost value and importance in everyday life in Ireland and around the world.
Additionally, people can find cheaper alternatives to this natural product which impacts the value of wool.
It is this under-appreciation of Irish wool and the misunderstanding of the use of Irish wool in products that has a negative impact on the price the sheep farmer receives.
I plan to develop my rare breed flocks and expand my flock to meet yarn demand and for my Ryelands and Border Leicesters purebred sheep whilst maintaining the highest standards for my stock and produce.
Also, I want to complete a postgraduate degree in the field of animals and science. I always hope to showcase Irish wool, starting with the yarns I produce on my farm.
Overall, I like balancing school and Ciaran’s sons. I have great support from everyone around me, from family and friends to my clients.
Honestly, I can’t wait to be on the other side of Leaving Certificate at the end of June. I will have more time to focus on Ciaran’s Yarns.
I envision careers and courses that incorporate my love for agriculture, business and ranching. However, I haven’t finalized anything.
Also, I would like to expand my product line over time to add variety to my products for all customers.
I have been honored and recognized for my work and recently won Meath Enterprise’s Top Startup Award.
To sum up, the journey I’ve had so far since my first light bulb moment has been hard work, exciting, and very enjoyable, all in a mix together.
I enjoy working with my cattle, new people, existing contacts, wool mills and everyone in between. All in all, I’m excited to provide quality woolen products to everyone.
Single point of sale
It’s all about making Ciaran’s Yarns different from other companies because it’s all driven by the ideas of a 16 year old to a now passionate 18 year old using his own organic rare breed wool to produce top quality woolen products for everyone. heart world of Meath. , while supporting other Irish businesses along the way.
I am fortunate to say that I have received great support from family and friends, everyone in the wool industry, returning and new customers, and other breeders and enthusiasts. of sheep and wool across the country and the world.
Follow this young farmer on Facebook and Instagram.
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