The job description has existed for centuries and the work has changed relatively little in that time, but today Limavady man Steven McGonigal is Ireland’s only professional warrener.
Next week he will be demonstrating his work - and handing out some career guidance – with a fascinating main arena display at the largest ever Irish Game Fair at Shanes Castle, Antrim, this weekend, June 23 and 24.
Modern-day warrener Steven will step into the past to educate, inform and entertain the show crowds, donning the costume and character of one of the ‘Norfolk Warreners’ of old. The ‘Norfolk Warreners’ were famous, last century, for creating and managing one of the most productive rabbit warrens in the country and their methods and style are still honoured today.
Working with his trained lurchers and ferrets and using traditional long nets to demonstrate how those warreners went about their business, Steven will showcase a suite of rural skills which have changed little over the years. Today however the emphasis today is less on raising rabbit as a food source and more on controlling rabbit populations and minimising the damage rabbits can do.
Steven will be staging his display of the warreners’ arts and skills in the main arena at the show, with showings right across the weekend.
The Irish Game Fair is supported by TourismNI and Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.