Dog trials show off the rural landscape and old traditions

By Mary Dennehy

GLENASMOLE farmer Donie Anderson and his trusty sheepdog Jess will be among more than 50 teams competing in the annual Bohernabreena Dog Trials this Sunday, September 1.

Dogs and their owners from across Ireland will descend on the Tallaght hills for the trials, which were originally rooted in the Old Bawn area of Tallaght before moving to the Postal Club on the Kiltipper Road.

Donie Anderson 1

Farmer Donie and Jess competing at a previous dog trials competition in Bohernbareena.

Over the years the trials began to die out until Donie revived the event in 2002 and brought it to Bohernabreena – ensuring the continuation of this age-old tradition.

The trials in Bohernabreena is the only such event in the capital, and not only preserves a long-standing tradition, but highlights Tallaght’s rural community, landscape and heritage.

Living in Glenasmole, sheep farmer Donie has been working with sheep dogs all his life.

His trusty dog Jess, who is 11 this October, is well known around the Tallaght area, especially for her ability to herd geese and hens.

Recently Donie’s dedication to carrying on the tradition of sheep farming and sheepdog training was recognised by the government, which included the tradition in the recently launched National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Having grown up in a farming family, Donie learned how to train sheepdogs using methods that were passed down over generations, and in July his work as a sheep farmer and sheepdog trainer was one of 30 customs, practices and traditions that were added to the inventory.

Donie has extended an open invitation to the community to drop by and watch the dog trials on Sunday, September 1, between 9am and 6pm.

The event will be staged in the field behind St Anne’s Church in Bohernabreena.

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