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Joe Joyce

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If you are wandering along the banks of lovely Lough Na Fooey - in the heart of Joyce 's Country - do not miss a visit to "Croeso" Border Collie breeding farm. Here Joe Joyce, a sheep and sheepdog breeder, trains his dogs for the hard tasks awaiting them up in the hills. During summer months, from June to August, the nice and friendly Joe organizes working dogs demonstrations in the fenced area just beside his house, from Tuesday to Saturday (at one o'clock and three o'clock in the afternoon).
After a brief review of this breed and its traits, Joe will talk about his dogs, introducing them one by one, explaining the way they work and their system to approach and to herd the flock; he will also reproduce the vocal and whistled commands that make the dogs properly carry out the shepherd's orders. The interesting explanations are then followed by a practical demonstration, thus enabling the visitors to appreciate the extraordinary intelligence and stamina of these really workaholic, tireless and totally hyperactive dogs, constantly running from one point to another along the steep sides of the hills, and whose only reward is a belly's scratching by the master after performing their job.
The sheep they work with are the famous Black Face of Connemara, but also the Jacobs, a Scottish breed with a double pair of horns and a great ability to jump over high obstacles, thus forcing the Border Collies to display their own acrobatic skills ... Joe will also give you an example of manual shearing, a task requiring strength and determination, sublimated by speed championships which take place in the area (the pub the Larches in Finny will give information about dates and times) . At the end of the demonstration, Joe will reply with humor and competence to all your curiosities.
The visitors can also meet Seamie, Sile and Paddy, three cute and cuddly donkeys on the farm; if you are lucky enough to happen there when there is a litter, Joe will give you the opportunity to hold in your arms a sweet, furry little bundle ... asking you to resist the temptation to put the puppy in your bag and bring it home as an adorable souvenir!
All in all, you will spend an hour of pure entertainment in an amazingly beautiful scenery, enjoying the view of the lake and the surrounding hills dotted with white sheep, among the bleating of the ewes and the barking of dogs that watch the shepherd 's flocks; having recycled yourself in such a pleasant way, you'll bring back to your country the memory of a wonderful day, so peculiar and different from the usual tourist excursions: a full immersion into good, old times.

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