ON THE BRINK?Seán Carolan and RTÉ presenter Ella McSweeney with two of Mulranny’s Old Irish Goats, Ned and Jamie-Lee – some of the last remaining examples of the breed.
RTÉ to highlight extinction plight of Mulranny’s Old Irish Goats
Two of Mulranny’s Old Irish Goats, affectionately named Ned and Jamie-Lee, will feature on RTÉ’s ‘Ear To The Ground’ this Thursday, February 20, in a programme designed to raise awareness of Ireland’s rare breeds.
During the show, local man Seán Carolan, vice chairperson of the Old Irish Goat Society (OIGS), will discuss the plight of Ireland’s native breed of goat, its place in history and efforts to save the breed with RTÉ presenter Ella McSweeney.
Mayo – Mulranny in particular – could now be the last stronghold of the rare, distinctive and undeniably charming Old Irish Goat. The original and only landrace breed of goat in Ireland, its future hangs by a thread. It is thought that the Mulranny hills support a small group of genetically pure animals and therefore hold the key to the breed’s future.
Many people are only aware of the existence of these impressive native creatures thanks to the tireless work of the OIGS. The organisation was formed in 2006 by a small group of enthusiasts who realised that the breed was rapidly heading towards extinction, but that its gene pool could be preserved if assertive action were taken. Its main aim, therefore, is to help save these heritage animals, so perilously close to extinction, and to create awareness of their plight.
The idea is not only to preserve the breed in the wild, but to bring it back into domestication as an ideal smallholder’s goat. When kept domestically, the breed could yield up to 200 gallons of milk a year.
‘Ear To The Ground’ airs at 8.30pm on Thursday nights on RTÉ 1. For more on the Old Irish Goat and ongoing efforts to save it from extinction – and information on how you can help – visit www.oldirishgoatsociety.com.