By John Carney
A MIXTURE of sheep dung and poteen left a German comedian with a bad taste in his mouth at this year’s Lady of the Lake Festival in Irvinestown.
Last Wednesday a large crowd turned out at Castle Irvine Estate, Necarne, for the Fair Day where the World Sheep Dung Spitting contest took centre stage.
The event had an international flavour on this occasion. After reading about the festival’s first sheep dung spitting competition in 2015, in the book Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, a German TV show about unusual events around the world was on hand to film this year’s shenanigans.
The show’s presenter, German comedian Oliver Polak, took part to become the competition’s first German entrant.
In the build-up to the showpiece, local characters Molly and Johnny put on a poteen-making exhibition. This involved Johnny, who looked like he’d already had a few nips, playing the mouth organ while Mary brewed the poteen in a barrel.
This was followed by a cattle auction where auctioneer Liam Leonard got so carried away he almost fell off the plastic chair he was standing on into a newly raked-up haystack.
Then he nearly started a stampede when his loudspeaker started making siren noises after he pressed the wrong button on it.
Finally, it was time for the sheep dung spitting, and rakes were put down to keep the red ceremonial carpet in place before it could be stuck down properly with black gaffer tape.
After the first few contestants, however, it was soon clear that the tape measure was too short and a second one had to be used as well to calculate the full distance. This caused problems for official tape measurer Paddy McCann, who took so long to get one measurement that someone shouted: “You’re not building a house, Paddy!”
All the while, Mr Polak stood back and watched the first competitors in action.
One contestant, Kevin Leonard, asked the German comedian if he ever played the bagpipes or the trumpet as it would help, only for him to swallow the sheep dung himself on his attempt.
The 2022 Lady of the Lake, Chloe McKevlin, also had a go despite Mr Polak telling her: “I’m not going to kiss you after this.”
Soon it was the German entertainer’s turn. “I’ve come all the way from Germany to eat sheep s**t,” he said while shaking his head.
He blew the nasty nugget high into the air and eventually finished in third place as local man Jimmy Grainger spat his way to the crappy crown.
Afterward, Mr Polak celebrated with a glass of poteen made by Molly and Johnny.
“Is this sheep’s piss? It tastes worse than the sheep dung,” he said.
Organisers later denied allegations that the dung was pieces of Toffee Crisp, and that it had actually been aged for eight days to get the right texture.
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