Saturday the 5th of November 2016 will be remembered as a night of great celebration in the minds of Irish Texel Sheep Society associates. With forty years of the National organisation to celebrate, the mood was joyful, the speeches were filled with humour and the dance-floor was busy until the early hours of the morning.
With a midland destination, The Bridge House hotel Tullamore was the location where Texel sheep breeders met for a night of deserved commemorating. Over one hundred members attended the night, Mr. John Shirley was the master of ceremony during the event, spot prizes were given out, the regional winners for sheep flock of the year were announced and Dr. Gerry More O’Ferrall was the guest of honour.
Photos lined the entrance of the dining room as the society members walked to their seats. Newspaper cut-outs and photos of past winners of National Texel Sheep titles were laminated and placed for all to view and admire. A table was also dedicated to the yearbooks that the society publish annually. Detailed accounts of all winners and events associated with the Texel Sheep Society were enclosed in each annual publication.
As guests nestled into their seats for the meal, they were met with a token of slate that had the sentence ‘Making headlines for forty years’ written across the front of it. This mug coaster was a keepsake for people to take home with them along with the banquet booklet that included interviews with Texel sheep members and interesting stories and photos that the society had gathered throughout its lifetime.
A delightful three course meal was enjoyed and devoured by all who attended the event. Ten lucky members of the society won spot prizes during the night and each of the triumphant winners had a plethora of valuable Animax sponsored prizes to choose from. The door prize of 2.5litres of Growvite sponsored by Univet was won By Johnny Payne Rathangan.
The Five flocks that are still active since the foundation of the Society were honoured by Dr. Gerry More O’Ferrall who spoke eloquently about the original days of the society. The founding flocks include; Derrinlerrig, Ml Murray Co. Roscommon, Ballybur John Donohoe Co. Kilkenny, Coolderry Donal Mee Co Roscommon & Lisgobbin Sean Brennan Co. Roscommon.
Mr. Padraic Niland from Co. Galway was given a notable token of recognition as the tea and coffee cups were being filled. His dedication to the Texel Sheep Society over the past forty years was noted and honoured. As Padraic was a founding member of the Texel Sheep Society, he and his wife were awarded with a gift of appreciation. Mr. Niland combined his two life passions; Sheep and hurling, as he gave a humorous and sentimental speech about his experience with the society since 1976. Giving each founding member of the society a starting position on a hurling team, Mr. Niland’s speech was one which only a character such as himself could deliver.
The Regional Flock of the Year winners were announced and awarded their deserved plaques. The South-East award went to Springbridge Flock, Tom Whelan. The South West award went to Annakisha Flock, A & P O’Keeffe. The Midlands award went to Castlekelly Flock, Jimmy Kelly. The North-East award went to Glassdrummond Flock, P Leonard. Darragh Cunniffe claimed the Western award with his Horseleap Flock and finally, A Donnelly brought home the North Connacht award with his Ballyglass Flock.
As the band set up their stand for the night, couples who knew how to jive filled the dancefloor. Before long, the music changed and anyone with or without a beat in their feet, also joined the dancefloor. The night ended after hours of laughter, dancing, and commemorating.