Cairncastle Sheepdog Society ends after eight decades

A good pen at a Cairncastle Sheepdog Society trial.  Archive image.
A good pen at a Cairncastle Sheepdog Society trial. Archive image.
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Cairncastle Sheepdog Society will officially come to a conclusion after eight decades at a dinner to be held at Mattie’s Meeting House next Friday night (January 19).

The society held its last trial in 2015 despite an entry of more than 70 dogs.

Chairman and farmer Campbell Tweed explained the decision had been prompted by the loss of the competition field and the society’s ageing membership.

Mr. Tweed said that the sheepdog trials which had been held annually in Cairncastle in September had been a popular fixture with competitors travelling from across Northern Ireland and south of the border as well as a “good contingent” from Scotland.

“Since I was a youngster, it was one of the highlights of the year. In those days, when it was held on the second Tuesday in September, there was a combination of business people involved when Tuesday was half day closing in Larne town centre.

“It was always something to look forward to. In those days, the manager of the Northern Bank would have organised a function for local farmers, a dinner at the Drumnagreagh Hotel would be held before the trial. Jim Morrow would have written a poem mentioning some of the local guys.

“Cairncastle was always a popular trial. It was a good course and had a reputation for being fairly run and judged. It was one of the premier trials in the country.”

Mr. Tweed said that the society’s trophies will be donated to Larne Museum.

The society’s funds will be divided among five charities - Marie Curie; Kidney Research; Rural Support; Northern Ireland Air Ambulance and the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice.