Absolutely adorable... one of the Bonniconlon Valais Blacknose flock.

Fun family open day at Mayo Valais Blacknose farm

A FAMILY open day is taking place on a Mayo farm which is home to the world's cutest sheep.

Patrick and Melissa Walsh from Bonniconlon Valais Blacknose flock are throwing open their gates for a charity farm open day on Easter Saturday, April 8.

The event is in aid of Embrace FARM, an organisation very close to their hearts, which supports farming families who have suffered the loss of a loved one in a farming accident.

The plan is to bring together the local agri community for a fun-filled family event focused on farm safety and boasting many different farm animals on display.

There will be children's entertainment, an Easter egg hunt, pony rides, music, a jiving competition, barbecue, a mega raffle, auction and lots more.

You can even win a wonderful Valais Blacknose lamb in the bumper raffle, with lots of other great prizes on offer too.

Among the organisations supporting the event on the day are An Garda Síochána, Teagasc, local agri consultants, vehicle licence experts, and more.

In the run up to the event Patrick and Melissa have also organised a visit to Saint Dymphna's School in Ballina to introduce the youngsters to some of their adorable lambs.

Aaron Greavy, with older brother Martin and sister Laura, from Bonniconlon, winning the young handlers championship at Ballina Show in 2022 with a Valais Blacknose sheep.

Here's what's happening on the day:

* Traditional music from local youth musicians from 11 a.m.

* Music from Louise Langan from 12.30 p.m.

* Pat Boyle from 2 p.m. 'til finish

* Easter egg hunt all day

* Kids games to include inflatable football, mini tractor rides, potato picking, tug of war, face painting, plus more

* Shore Farm Pony Therapy rides

* Valais Blacknose selfie station

* Farm animals on display, including cows, sheep, pygmy goats, hens, ducks, etc.

* Attymass Country Shop

* Barbecue, refreshments, crepes, ice cream, etc.

* Safety awareness organisations such as Embrace FARM, An Garda Síochána, fire brigade, Teagasc, agri consultants, and HSE with www.westbewell.ie

* Jiving competition starting at 2 p.m., adult and under 18s prizes, with covered marquee and dance floor

* Main prize draw (www.idonate.ie/raffle/BVBopenday): first prize a pedigree registered Valais Blacknose ewe lamb, 2nd bespoke 3D landscape garden design, 3rd overnight stay and meal for two at Ocean Sands Hotel, Enniscrone, plus lots more prizes.

* On the day raffle with vouchers for hair salons, fuel, Toymaster, Easter egg hampers plus more.

* Charity auction with lots to include Charolais, Limousin and Shorthorn AI straws, a ewe and lambs, sheepdog pup, hens and chicks, animal feed, stone, lime, wood turning piece, three-course Sunday lunch at Ballina Manor Hotel, plus more lots on the day.


Embrace FARM was set up in 2012 by Norma and Brian Rohan following the fatal loss of Brian’s father, Liam, in a farm accident on the family farm. The family felt there was no support for people in similar situations.

Embrace FARM has since grown to support almost 400 farm families through its peer-to-peer support services and its new Encircle EIPAGRI Programme which offers free emotional support (counselling) and practical guidance to farm families (agri/legal/financial services). They support families affected by all types of sudden death and loss on the farm.

An annual remembrance service is also held to commemorate all the lives lost and injured in farm accidents in Ireland each year.

The farming community is the most compassionate and generous in looking after its own times of crises and none more so prominent than the sudden loss of life when it happens close to home.

A baby Valais Blacknose on the farm.