Why is Lamb such a glorious food? Sheep have an important economic and environmental role in ‘less favoured areas’ providing employment and income, food from otherwise unusable land and acting as a positive environmental impact - fertilising and improving soil structure through their faeces and wool, keeping down brush and weeds and thus maintaining plant, insect and animal biodiversity.  Traditional sheep farming is therefore highly sustainable and for this reason from Ireland to Greece the hilly areas of Europe are dotted with sheep.  There are currently 85 million sheep on 830,000 farms across the EU – more than in Australia and New Zealand.  Despite this, Europe is a net importer of sheep providing only 85% of its needs. The largest producers of Lamb in Europe are the UK, Spain, France, Romania, Ireland and Italy. Ireland is the largest net exporter of sheep meat. This points to incredible potential for this sector. (Statistics from  In 2018 Ireland’s sheep meat sector was valued at €315m up 15% on 2017 (

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WOOL Aran Jumper

The Aran knit jumper (Irish: Geansaí Árann) has undeniably given weight to the beauty and history of these enchanting islands and even for Ireland as a whole. The world over has fallen in love with the Aran Sweater and it’s easy to see why. {Photo Credit: Irish Times, Colin Burke Knitwear Designer | Hand-crochet coat with rib and wave stitch, handknitted asymmetric Aran jumper with hand-crochet trim in ivory Donegal yarn.}

“Aran jumpers have long been a highly recognisable symbol abroad of the romanticism of Irish rural life and Irish folk art. The jumpers became particularly popular from the 1950s onwards when they began to be exported in their thousands from Ireland to shops in America, Europe and Japan.”

Clodagh Doyle, curator at the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life

The idea of every stitch having a story is said to have began from a combination of a book written in 1967 by Kiewe ‘The Sacred History of Knitting’, which was more of a fictional story than an actual historical document and J.M. Synge’s play ‘Riders to the Sea’, in which the body of a dead islander is identified by the hand-knitted stitches on one of his garments. (also a fictional story)

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