Tag Archives: Sheep


By Yvonne Blackwood

I have always known the Irish for their quality wool. Irish woollen sweaters, hats, and scarves have been known to last for a long time. In fact, I recall someone once stating that you only need one Irish sweater—it lasts forever. I was therefore expecting to see a few sheep in the countryside as I explored ‘The Emerald Isle’ a few years ago. I certainly did not expect the vast population that I witnessed.

After spotting herds and herds of sheep grazing in green grassy meadows everywhere we travelled, I asked our comical guide (an Irish friend from Toronto) the million dollar question, “How many sheep are here in Ireland?” After he cracked up laughing, and coughed a few times, he said, “Ireland has 4.3 million people, and it has 4.3 million sheep—one sheep for each person!” Then laughter erupted again.

There are many breeds of sheep in Ireland, and I saw a few as we traversed the country, heading for County Sligo. We arrived at St Columba’s Church of Ireland, in Drumcliffe. William Butler Yeats’s grandfather was once its pastor, and the cemetery there is the final resting place for Yeats. (I will cover this in a subsequent article).

Scottish Blackface Sheep
Scottish Blackface Sheep

The church property was separated from the neighbour’s by a low stone wall, and just beyond the wall a herd of sheep grazed contentedly. I had never seen this breed of sheep before. Little black faces peered out from under bodies covered with long, stringy wool; they hardly seemed real! They are known as Scottish Blackfaces, and are the most common breed of domestic sheep in the United Kingdom. They are known to be hardy and adaptable, and their long coarse wool shields them from moisture and harsh winds.

Read our part 1 article at…





By Yvonne Blackwood

One of the most historic places to visit in Turkey is Troy.  A city that existed over 4000 years ago, Troy’s present-day location is known as Hisarlik, near the province of Canakkale.

In 2014, I visited the archaeological site of Troy, the setting for Homer’s epic, The Iliada  place people once believed did not exist.

Original wall of Troy 1 &2 3000-2250 BC

It did exist, and there are good ruins to prove it. Archaeologists have excavated ruins which reveal that several cities—ten in total—were built in succession on the site.  As we left the site we came upon this beautiful creature—a sheep!


According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, there are  65.5 million sheep and goats in Turkey, making it the largest national herd in the Near East region. Currently, sheep and goats contribute 43 percent to the total, meat and 33 percent to the total milk produced in the country. Besides providing meat locally, Turkey earns foreign exchange from exporting live animals, their meat, and mohair.

There are several breeds of sheep in Turkey. The one in the picture appears to be a Jacob sheep based on its markings.