This is the seventh in a series of posts on our trip to Ireland in July. You can view the initial post here! The sixth: High Tea in Galway. The fifth: Irish Soda Bread with Recipe, The fourth: Scones (with recipe. The third: Irish Fry, The second: O’Keeffe Butcher Shop, Donerail and first: Whippy Cones.
When I was in Ireland in the Cork area, I visited a place called the Donkey Sanctuary. There I learned something a little sad, but also very hopeful.
Donkeys were used in Ireland for farming before they had tractors. When farmers had access to tractors, donkeys became an unnecessary part of life and were often abandoned or mistreated. Since they aren’t native to Ireland, their bodies aren’t suited for the soft ground; when unmaintained their hooves grow into “Persian slipper” shapes, making it hard for them to walk.
The Donkey Sanctuary is an organization that saves donkeys from abuse all around the country. They have a few other locations around Europe as well. They’ve saved thousands of donkeys and either take care of them there or find good homes to adopt them out to. It was a beautiful, well kept sanctuary with so many donkeys! It was heartwarming to see the love and care the volunteers and workers put into keeping the sanctuary up and running.
We took lots of photos, pet the donkeys, donated some euros, and bought a few souvenirs to support the cause. The donkeys had a lot of pep. I’d never seen so many of them at once! Many of them enjoyed carrying their bowls around during feeding time.
It was interesting to learn this tiny piece of Irish history, even though it had a lot of sadness in it. But, as always, knowing there are people out there making a difference in the donkeys lives is wonderful.