A local couple, Lesley and Aaron Faulkner from Ballymac Alpacas, Banbridge travelled to Stormont recently with their alpaca Julius for the Northern Ireland Alpaca Group Alpaca Picnic.
They joined Alpacas from herds across Northern Ireland in the stunning surroundings of Stormont Estate last Sunday, August 27.
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.
It is estimated there are about 200 alpacas living in Northern Ireland today, mostly in small herds of ten or fewer.