The Mayo Blackface Mountain Sheep, a Resilient breed
About the Mayo Blackface breed
The first Mayo Blackface arrived into Killary Harbour in 1850 on a ship sailed from the Scottish Isles of Lewis and Harris. The sheep were transported by Captain Boswell Houston who had leased some 40,000 acres of West Mayo land, bringing with him a group of shepherds who have left behind told tales of rams disappearing by night to mate with native sheep.
These newcomers would later go on to form the tough genetic makeup of the ewes that graze our hills today. A breed now nourished by a health of herbs and the spray of Atlantic sea air, the Mayo Blackface is seen as a sort of ‘ecological tool’ that helps to manage the rugged hills and ultimately improve the biodiversity of the areas in which they roam.
While we might be nestled in the hills of a place apart, staying up to date is only just a click away.
Become an Ólas Hill
Farms sheep farmer
At Ólas Hill Farms, we welcome farmers of all ages and genders, from every corner of the West of Ireland, who share our sense of pride and our passion for quality, creating healthy competition among our farmers.
Joining the Ólas Hill Farms collective
We have two branches within Ólas Hill Farms; one for those interested in premier breeding sales and the other for those producing lambs for Kildare Chilling. All our new members are nominated by a committee member.
community & connection
Our Ólas Hill Farmers’ year begins in autumn when the rams and ewes are let run together, continuing through to the busy lambing season in spring, before the lambs are reared and ready for market during the summer. While their workload is continuous, we always try to help our farmers make a little room for everyday life.