Connemara Hill lamb

From Cookipedia

Connemara Hill lamb

Connemara Hill lamb

Connemara Hill lamb (Uain Sléibhe Chonamara) is produced in Co. Galway and has PGI protection for the area west of the Corrib Basin including the islands of Inishmaan, Inisheer and Inishmore and represents an area in the west of Ireland known as Connemara.

References to consumption of Connemara Hill lamb can be traced to the early 19th century, when the Black Face breed were introduced from Scotland. The breed has since evolved into a distinctive strain and has adapted to survive the rugged conditions of Connemara. It is particularly suited to the terrain of the area given its ability to forage better than other breeds. In order to ensure full traceability from farm to slaughter all lambs are affixed with a special ear tag and carcass swing tag. They graze on

The lambs, which are bred, born and reared in the designated geographical region are light in body-weight and bone and the carcass is lean, rose red in colour and has a solid deep texture. The lambs are born in the spring generally from April onwards (later than other Irish lamb) and are suckled by the ewe throughout their lives. They are left free to graze on mountain grass, heathers and herbs in their hilly habitat and are generally slaughtered at 14 weeks, although some are slaughtered at 10 weeks. It is available in Irish shops from August to November. As there is no approved slaughterhouse in the designated geographical area, the lambs are transported to an approved slaughterhouse located in an adjoining county.

The taste, flavour and colour of Connemara Hill lamb are directly linked to the local flora on which the lambs are grazed. The rugged terrain means that the lambs are more agile than their lowland counterparts hence they are smaller, weighing about 10 kg compared to 25 kg for lowland lambs.