CURRAGHMORE SHEEP DIP
The Curraghmore Sheep Dip is a farming structure that dates back to the 19th century and was used to treat sheep for parasites and diseases.
A sheep dip is a device or a process that involves immersing sheep in a liquid solution that contains chemicals or natural substances that can kill or repel parasites, such as ticks, lice, mites, flies and worms. Sheep dipping can also prevent or cure diseases, such as scab, foot rot and fleece rot.
Sheep dipping was a common practice in Ireland and other countries where sheep farming was prevalent, especially before the advent of modern pesticides and veterinary medicines. Sheep dipping was usually done once or twice a year, depending on the season and the type of parasites.
The Curraghmore Sheep Dip is located on the shore of Lough Corrib, near the village of Headford in County Galway. It consists of a stone-built enclosure that forms a rectangular basin with two openings at each end. The basin is connected to the lake by a channel that allows water to flow in and out. The water level in the basin can be controlled by a sluice gate.
The sheep dip was designed to allow farmers to drive their sheep through the basin, which would be filled with water mixed with purifiers, such as lime, tobacco or arsenic. The sheep would enter from one end, swim across the basin and exit from the other end. The process would cleanse the sheep of parasites and preserve their wool.
The Curraghmore Sheep Dip is believed to date back to 1875, although it may have been built earlier. It is one of the few surviving examples of this type of sheep dip in Ireland and possibly in Europe. It is also a rare example of an industrial structure that uses natural water sources and gravity to operate.
The Curraghmore Sheep Dip is an important part of Galway’s industrial heritage and farming history. It reflects the ingenuity and skill of the local people who built it and used it for decades. It also shows the importance of sheep farming in the region and the challenges that farmers faced to protect their livestock and livelihoods.
The Curraghmore Sheep Dip is now abandoned and no longer in use, but it still stands as a testament to the past. It is protected by the National Monuments Service as a historic monument. As the sheep dip is located on private land, it is not accesible to the public unless with the owner’s permission.
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