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Home Farming News Behind the Hammer: Ciaran Laverty
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Behind the Hammer: Ciaran Laverty

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Ciaran Laverty has always expressed a major interest in livestock marts for as long as he can remember.

Ciaran regularly attended marts including Ballycastle and Ballymoney during his early childhood years and secured his first position as a drover in numerous marts at the shy age of thirteen. One particular encounter during his mid-teens shaped the future of the Loughgiel, North Antrim native.

“There was a calf sale on in Ballycastle and I could very easily hear the auctioneer selling. I asked the teacher to leave the room to go to the ‘bathroom’. I went down the corridor and open the window to hear the auctioneer.” Ciaran Laverty told Catherina Cunnane of That’s Farming.

“That is when I truly realised that I wanted to become an auctioneer,” Ciaran explained.

Taking a Stand in the Auctioneering Circles

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Ciaran continued to relish the idea of becoming an auctioneer, manning the rostrum for the many years that followed.  

“After the auctioneer, Daniel McAlister had finished selling after every sale, I used to sneak up into the rostrum and turn on the microphone and started selling away. Daniel heard me a couple of times and told me to try it.” Ciaran explained.

Sure enough, as promised, the following week, 17-year-old Ciaran was found at the helm of the sale, selling pens of store lambs, under the watchful eye of Daniel.

With his eyes fixed securely on the auctioneering profession, Ciaran continued his role as a drover in numerous livestock marts, while running the family’s sheep enterprise, until he was granted with an opportunity on a second occasion to man the stand.

“One sale, I was around the ring and you could hear the auctioneer, his throat making it difficult for him. The clerk shouted down to me and said that they were going to need me.”

“I decided that I was going to jump into the deep end and I hopped up on the rostrum. I conducted the sale of 46 rams and it all just took from there.”

Ciaran continued to follow his dream and climbed up the ranks to where he finds himself today; officiating as the auctioneer for major sheep and cattle sales throughout Northern Ireland.

Livestock Auctioneering

Mr. Laverty, a full-time livestock auctioneer works for three co-operatives at present and sells cattle and sheep at least five days a week. 

Ciaran is to be found conducting sales at Swatragh Livestock Mart, South Armagh Farm Enterprises and Hilltown Livestock Mart, while he also does an occasional spot of auctioneering at Armoy Livestock Mart and Kilrea Mart, Co. Derry when required.

“The most satisfying thing is a good sale’s day and seeing the buyers and sellers happy. It is difficult to get everyone happy. You get to meet different farmers.” Ciaran said.

“I remember reading an article a number of years ago and there was an interview with an experienced auctioneer. It said that the main objective of an auctioneer is selling an animal and getting the best price possible for the seller, without robbing the buyer.” Ciaran explained.

“The motto that I have when I am going to conduct a sale is ‘Don’t stress, do your best and forget the rest.” He added.


As someone who continues to lead the way in the livestock auctioneering circles, Ciaran proves himself as an ideal candidate to give advice to those who want to follow in his footsteps.

“I have noticed that several livestock auctioneers have engaged in a spell of dealing before they made the switch. It gives them a sense of direction and is beneficial when it comes to selling.” Ciaran explained.

“Watch all the action at the marts, the buyers, the sellers and the auctioneers. If you get an opportunity to get up and sell an animal, give it a go. Nobody gets it right the first time or all the time.” Ciaran added.  

Future Outlook

Ciaran has no intentions to step away from his role controlling all actions around the ring anytime soon and is hopeful that his children may follow in his footsteps.

“My daughter has her own toy livestock mart and you can hear her selling day. My son he is twenty-months and you can hear him aswell. If they want to go on and try it, I am happy to help them.” Ciaran explained.

If you are a Livestock Auctioneer and you want to share your story, get in touch! Email catherinacunnane@gmail.com and you may just be featured on ‘Behind the Hammer’!

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