Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Gabriel the Sheep Farmer

One of the excursions I was most looking forward to on this trip, and it didn't disappoint, was a trip to a working sheep farm. Thursday afternoon, right after golfing, we took a drive around Slea Head, which is a promontory in the westernmost part of the Dingle Penninsula, and is the westernmost part of Europe.
As we were walking up the hill for a sheep dog demonstration, this little sheep (above) came bounding down the hill, bleating for all he was worth. Gabriel the sheep farmer said that his mother had abandoned him at birth so he had raised him. When he saw Gabriel, he was as excited as a child seeing his parent. It was so cute. His name is Henry :)
The little goat was jealous of all the attention Henry was getting, so every time we tried to get a picture of Henry, he kept getting in the way!
I got some video of the sheep dog demonstration. It was amazing how he controls the dogs with a series of whistles and how they control the sheep.
You see the dog stationed there at the right and there was another one at the left. Those sheep would not move from the corner of that pen for anything.
Gabriel must be a gifted dog trainer. He said he bought the dog for 70 euro and he's now worth over 2000.
He does all the sheering himself and I was surprised at how little money he makes from each fleece. Wool is so expensive, I would've expected it would be worth more. Maybe the process of cleaning, spinning and dying it is the costly part... He said the lambs are worth more for meat than the wool is.
Here is the view looking down to Dingle Bay from the sheep pens.
On the property is an old house that his grandparents used to live in, made of stone with a thatched roof.
This is our guide Bēbhinn, she said this house is much like the one she grew up in on Clare Island. Her father still lives there but it's more modernized now.
A famine pot, used during the potato famine in the 1840's.

We saw many of these Beehive Huts all over the west of Ireland, called Beehive huts because of the shape, not anything to do with bees.

This is really one of the most interesting and fascinating parts of the trip for me. I loved it! I bought a book that was written by Gabriel and his brother. I'm looking forward to reading it.

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