Vibrant yellow daffodils are often the first sign of spring in Ireland. Reborn every year after their winter sleep they sweep hues of sunlight across gardens and roadsides throughout the land.
Budding trees, the song of birds returned after their winter travels and the lengthening days that push darkness back are all little joys that herald the beginning of the light half of the year. In fact the arrival of spring was celebrated in ancient Celtic times in the festival of Imbolc.
Among the loveliest spring sights is the appearance of new-born lambs, their pure white coats bright against the deep green of Ireland’s hills. In farms up and down the land it’s one of the busiest and most exciting times of the year.
Tucked between the Mweelrea Mountains and Sheeffry Hills in County Mayo on Ireland’s spectacular Wild Atlantic Way is the award-winning, family-owned Glen Keen Farm. It’s unique in Ireland, being one of the largest at 5,500 acres, and it’s located in an area designated by Europe as a special area of conservation for its natural beauty, unique habitats and wildlife.
At Glen Keen Farm, excitement is building as the lambing season goes into full swing. It’s timed to coincide with grass growth as the new grasses provide essential nutrients for the ewes’ milk, giving the suckling lambs the best start in life.
Showing that Northern Ireland’s giant spirit is indomitable even in these challenging times, Jamese McCloy of Glenshane Country Farm in County Londonderry is continuing to train his sheepdogs for the important months ahead. Like his father and grandfather before him, Jamese has been tending to sheep for decades. See here how he’s training his dog Tess using ducks in place of lambs!
The farm, located in the rolling Sperrin hills, has already welcomed lots of spring lambs who are getting to know their new surroundings and making their voices heard.
Spring is also when life kicks into action at the renowned Irish National Stud in County Kildare. Set in rolling countryside of Ireland’s Ancient East, this is the third-largest breeder of thoroughbreds in the world and most of its foals – around 250 of them – will be born in springtime.
Often visitors are lucky enough to see a new foal take its first steps. But while the Stud can’t welcome you to that joyful sight at the minute, you can still share in the delight of new life in this charming video of the perky young horses.