The Wild Atlantic Way is getting some serious publicity at the moment, and rightly so – the west coast of Ireland, now with a new fancy facelift of a title, is a truly stunning part of the world that is seldom travelled.
The rugged coastline, with its sheer cliffs ravished by booming, white-crested waves, are common sights depicting the wild Irish coastline.
However, the real Ireland is all about cows.
Yep, they’re everywhere. Cows and sheep. Yet, you rarely see mention of the creatures when an article features Ireland. It’s a shame; cows are charming in their own way and entirely photogenic.
These beautiful cows pictured above were grazing in the same fields I played in as a child.
I spent many a summer on my grandparents dairy farm in Donegal, often helping* my stereotypically becapped Granda gather and herd the cattle into the barn before milking, following his every move and hand signal as he motioned and yelped in the process.
When the cattle were safely ensconced in the byre – only hand-tied to the water trough, old school style – I’d jump at the chance to shovel their droppings from the ravines running along the back of their feet, lobbing great big piles of dung onto the hay in the corner, mixing it up with the relish kids have of making mud pies.
When we were left to run amok on the farm, my cousins (all four of them boys) and I would sneak out to the back fields and jump in the half-hardened cow pats in our wellies, or poke holes in them with sticks, looking for dung beetles. Small joys!
So if you ever make it to Ireland, don’t forget to pay attention to the cows, they’re as much part of Ireland’s landscape as that wonderful wild coastline.
*not really… they’d often escape past me and run off down the road!
Have you been to Ireland? What’s the one thing you associate with the island?