Ireland Travel Stories – Post Five – Achill Island & Sheep

Today is a moving day. We try to stay in one spot for at least a couple of nights so that we can explore a place. It also makes for easier sleeping (mostly) when you don’t have to change beds every night. We’re planning to drive to Achill Island from Clifden in Connemara. It’s a couple of hours but I imagine it’s going to take us a lot longer. I’m going to want to stop and take pictures all over the place. Chris is happy to take our time. We are not in a rush.  I really enjoyed our first Airbnb and hope we are not disappointed by the second one. Our host from the first, has told us Achill Island is one of her favorite places to go on holiday. She recommends a place to eat on the island that evening. We say goodbye and get going.

The scenery, once again, is magnificent. There’s lots of water. There are mountains.

There are also sheep. The sheep are all over the place! They’re on the road; they’re sleeping beside the road. They are wandering around fenceless areas in the middle of nowhere – no house or person in sight. I’m wondering who on earth all these sheep belong to. Shouldn’t there be a shepherd nearby, a fence or at least a sheepdog?

A lot of the sheep are spray painted – red, blue, purple. It seems weird.  I can’t understand why. It’s a bit difficult to find a sheep that’s not spray painted so that I can take a photo. The spray paint is messing with my idea of what a sheep in a grassy pasture should look like.

We keep driving and stopping. I’m enjoying the countryside. It sort of reminds us of the Cape where I grew up.

Much later, once we’ve arrived at Achill Island, met our host and checked out our accommodation we finally find out about the sheep.

“There is a lot of common ground,” says our host. “The sheep can graze wherever they like.” The sheep certainly take them up on grazing wherever! We notice sheep all over a golf course on the way in. I wonder how anyone can actually play golf with all the sheep roaming about. Our host continues, “There is one farmer on the island who has the most sheep. He doesn’t have to spray paint his sheep. Everyone else has a different kind of marking. The spray paint helps people know who owns the sheep.” We are curious, “Are there a lot of sheep fatalities on the road?” Our host says that there is a hefty fine if anyone hits a sheep with their car. Chris asks if the person at least gets to keep the meat. Our host laughs. “No, you pay the fine and you don’t get the meat.”

Our Airbnb once again has a gorgeous view. Right in front is the pasture where the sheep return at night, then the bay and the mountains. I feel like we’ve found another place that just fills a person up.

Be forewarned, this trip was not all rainbows and jellybeans. We have one more great day before … to be continued.

I’m more than half way towards my goal of posting 8 times in a month! This is in order to complete a project for Toastmasters – Level 4 in the Innovative Planning Pathway. 8 times in a month felt like a really tall order. It is starting to feel easy and fun.

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