About Us

About the Cladoir Sheep Preservation Committee

Our Mission Statement

The Cladóir Sheep Preservation Committee has been formed and tasked itself with the preservation and development of the remaining Cladóir Sheep as their own distinct breed.

The long-term preservation of the Cladóir Sheep, by regenerating the breed through a breeding programme and eventually having these sheep formally recognised as Cladoir Sheep.

Aims of the Committee

Determine, on the basis of genetic testing and by means of an appropriate comparative analysis with other breeds, if the sheep identified as having Cladoir genetics have sufficient distinctive DNA to indicate the presence of a previously unrecognised breed.

Assuming that sufficient genetics allows for Cladoir to be recognised as a breed, to devise a breeding programme and management plan on the basis of ongoing DNA testing.

Regardless of whether or not the DNA analysis points to the Cladoir being a distinctive breed, it is the aim of the committee to record the methodologies involved in coming to the conclusions, having recourse to the findings of the geneticists involved in testing.

Devising a breed standard and Flock Book Rules if there is a genetic basis for breed recognition following which the Preservation Committee will endeavour to become a Breed Society representing the breeders in line with the structures to be found in other breed societies.

Objectives of the Committee

Phase One

Phase Two

Our Targets

The goal is to develop a consistent national flock of sheep that has the characteristics of the old Cladoir breed

Join the Cladoir Sheep Preservation Committee

Committee Members

A photo of Sean Cadden

Sean Cadden


William Cormacan

William has a small farm near Portumna, where he maintains a flock of 60 ewes, and keeps some dry cattle. He has worked with the National Parks and Wildlife Service for more than 20 years, and through this has had involvement with other heritage breeds, including Connemara Pony, Moiled Cattle, Galway Sheep, Tamworth Pig and Old Irish Goat. William is actively involved in the breeding programme for the Cladoir sheep.
Photo of William Cormacan

Suzanna Crampton 

Suzanna farms a small acreage in Ireland, nestled in County Kilkenny’s Nore river valley. With species-rich grasslands, mature free-standing trees and an orchard which together create a biodiverse haven for wildlife. Nature feeds the soil that feeds the plants that feed her sheep. Such farming practices also allow farmland biodiversity, so often lost, to thrive. It’s about farming and nature sharing the same space, not adjacent to each other. She works with others to better understand how to approach benefits of soil health, dung beetles and pollinators.
She sells her 100% Irish wool yarn and Blankets under the Zwartbles Ireland brand.

Tom Keane

Tom has been farming indigenous livestock on his farm in Limerick for over twenty years. He was a founding board member of The Droimeann Cattle Co-Operative Society as part of a team of people who managed to devise a breeding programme and management plan, which allied to the results of DNA testing, led to the breed gaining official recognition as an indigenous breed with a Herd Book. As General Manager of that society for a number of years he fulfilled a variety of administrative roles. He also has a pedigree flock of Galway sheep. Since 2017 he has occupied a variety of positions on the board of The Irish Rare Breeds Society (IRBS), being the last secretary for that society before registering the name change to The Irish Native Rare Breed Society (INRBS) with the CRO. In 2019 he was part of a Steering Group tasked with addressing governance issues with the IRBS which culminated in the societies’ incorporation as a company prior to the name change being registered.

Richard McKitterick

Richard has worked within the Parks Department of his local Council for 17years. For 10 of those years he has been the Supervisor in charge of the day to day running of Tannaghmore Rare Breeds Animal Farm. Based outside Lurgan in Co Armagh Northern Ireland the farm is owned by Armagh City Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council. Currently Irelands only Rare Breeds Survival Trust Approved Conservation Farm Park the farm is open to the public and offers educational tours. Richard has been involved in conservation grazing and breeding programmes with a number of breeds over the years including Irish Moiled , Dexter, Kerry and Shetland cattle Oxford Sandy and Black, Gloucester Old Spot pigs, Galway and Jacob sheep Bagot goats Connemara Pony and a large range of heritage poultry and waterfowl breeds.


Tom King - In Memorium

Tom King 1948-2023

Tom King was born in Westport in 1948, he was educated locally, qualified as a solicitor and practiced for several years in Nenagh, Westport, and Castlebar. During that time he bought Rosehill Farm with over one hundred acres and a ruined castle in Carraholly near Westport. A few years later he renovated part of the castle and lived there. 

Tom had many interests. He ran for election on a number of occasions and at one time he took a successful case to the Supreme Court to make it easier for independent candidates to contest Dail elections. He was never short of ideas, in later years with his family he established a very successful boat tour business out of Westport. He was good company and he enjoyed the banter in Christy’s Harvest coffee shop in Westport. Tom was a committed Catholic and a strong supporter of the Pro-Life cause. He never missed the annual Knock Novena.

Tom was an unconventional farmer, extra output was never his aim, and his sheep flock could be called “easy care”. He also kept a few donkeys. He heard of the Cladoir breed about twenty years ago and made inquiries in South Connemara and after several days of searching he bought his first Cladoir-like sheep in 2001, he always regarded the Cladoiri as his most valuable stock.

Tom was also a good salesman, in late autumn 2019 in failing health he contacted William Cormacan, manager for the National Parks and Wildlife Service in the west, and convinced him that he had a unique breed of sheep. William bought twenty-eight of Toms’ sheep for Connemara National Park. In 2020 Tom located similar sheep in the Seanafeistin area of Connemara and these were added to the flock in the National Park. It was a proud moment for Tom when he heard the sheep he sold to the Connemara National Park had DNA of a unique ancient breed, the Cladoir. Tom was very pleased to receive a Cladoir emblem from Minister of State Malcolm Noonan in recognition of his persistence with the breed. That emblem was brought to the altar as a symbol of Tom’s life during his funeral Mass in Westport.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilís

He is survived by his wife Siobhán and his sons James, Tony, and Tom Jr.

With Thanks

The Cladoir Sheep Preservation Committee would like to thank multiple people and organisations, including The National Parks and Wildlife Service and especially to Malcolm Noonan Minister of State who launched the programme in Connemara National Park in June 2021. Tom King of Westport, Kathleen and the late Michael O Toole Leenane. Noirin McHugh, Alan Bohan and Áine O’Brien Teagasc, Sheep Ireland, Weatherbys Scientific Ireland, Dooley Wools. The staff of Connemara National Park, led by William Cormacan and Martin Coyne. The generous financial support of the Genetic Resources section of Dept. of Agriculture Fisheries and Food is acknowledged. The Irish Native Rare Breeds Society have always given their full support and act as Treasurer to the group.