As anÂ aficionadoÂ of livestock, I naturally took great interest in the local IonaÂ sheep. They have massive, deep-pile coats – the kind into which you just want to dig your fingers – and seem to roam unrestrained, though the greatest concentration of the wooly beasts are to be found at theÂ northernÂ tip of the island, where the turf – and the view – are more agreeable. There they also doÂ somethingÂ really curious: they burrow into cutouts between the grass and the sand, asÂ thoughÂ seeking shelter fromÂ theÂ wind. The sight of it only serves to reinforce the anomaly of today’sÂ calm skies andÂ bright sunshine. It must be aÂ wildly inhospitableÂ environment when even the sheep are seen ducking for cover.
I am a sucker for the livestock when I’m in Ireland.Â Nothing makes me happier than to be out on a hike and chance upon a field of horses, cows, or my favorite woolly friends:Â the sheep.Â There were no sheep in proximity on this particular visit but after walking the length of Doughmore Beach I came upon a windswept field of cows abutting the ocean.Â The pair in the foreground were just insideÂ a field-stone wall; they looked like they were trying to catch a break from all the wind.
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