Alpaca Picnic at Stormont


The Northern Ireland Alpaca Group (NIAG) has enjoyed a great day out at their first annual Alpaca Picnic.


Alpacas from herds across Northern Ireland were joined by hundreds of visitors in the stunning surroundings of Stormont Estate last Sunday, 27 August.


Originally from South America, particularly Peru, Chile and Bolivia, alpacas are closely related to the llama. While llamas have been bred to be big and strong, allowing them to carry heavy loads, alpacas are prized for the fine and luxurious fleece.


Alpaca breeders across Northern Ireland produce a range of goods using locally grown alpaca fleece. Some spin the fleece and knit garments, such as jumpers, hats, scarves and gloves. Some use the fleece in the production of felted products. One herd makes a range of luxury bedding products, filled with the fleece.


While they are still very rare here, alpacas have been kept and bred in Northern Ireland for the past couple of decades. It is estimated there are about 200 alpacas living in Northern Ireland today, mostly in small herds of ten or fewer.


The group, which is a regional sub-group of the British Alpaca Society (BAS), provides an opportunity for alpaca breeders, owners and enthusiasts from across Northern Ireland to come together and share their love of all things alpaca.


NIAG Chair, Lee Kane from Causeway Alpacas, Ballycastle, said the day was about showcasing the small, but growing, alpaca community in Northern Ireland.


“It’s great to see the interest our animals receive. Many people do not know that there are alpacas living happily in all parts of Northern Ireland. Many are kept as pets, while other are used to guard sheep and hens.


“Of course, it’s the fleece that makes the alpaca so special. Softer, yet stronger, than cashmere, it’s easy to see why the fleece has been prized by people all over the world for centuries.”


As well as providing a social space for alpaca keepers, the group aims to champion the welfare of alpacas kept in Northern Ireland.


Lee continues:


“We love our animals and go to great lengths to make sure they are happy and healthy at all times. And we are passionate about helping each other to do the same.


“Sadly, we hear too many stories of people buying alpacas from disreputable breeders, without even a basic understanding of how to care for their new animals.


“We strongly advise anyone interested in keeping alpacas to do lots of research and to speak to as many breeders as they can before making the leap and getting their first animals. For more information visit the NIAG website –




Alpaca Picnic at Stormont

Fancy a day out with a difference?


Dust off the picnic basket, pack up some food, drinks and a blanket, and come join the NIAG Members, and their animals, at our first annual ALPACA PICNIC!


When – Sunday 27 August 2017

Time – 2pm – 4pm

Where – Stormont Estate (by the Lord Carson Statue)


There is no charge for entry, but guest are reminded to bring their own refreshments.


There will be lots of alpaca there to meet and have a photo with, and examples of how farms in Northern Ireland are turning the fine, luxurious alpaca fleece into a range of different products.


The event will also give anyone who is interested in keeping alpacas a great opportunity to meet breeders from across Northern Ireland and to learn more about these wonderful animals.


If you have any questions just send us an email –

NIAG Annual Show – Entry Now Open!

The NIAG Annual Alpaca Halter Show will be held on Saturday 10 June at Gosford Forest Park, as part of the Armagh County Agricultural Show.


Entry for the show is now open, to both NIAG members and non-members. For more information click here.


The 2017 Annual General Meeting of the Northern Ireland Alpaca Group will be held as follows:


Date – Saturday 29 April

Time – 3pm

Venue – Premier Inn, Lisburn


The Group would like to extend a special invitation to all alpaca owners, breeders and enthusiasts from across Northern Ireland to join us at the AGM.