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Overseas and Off-Campus Programs Blog

Irish Sheep

January 30, 2019
  • This is a sheep. Not the sheep that I saw, but still a sheep. 

Author Name

Kendall Arlasky

Author Program

Ireland: Social Sciences

Program Semester and Year

Spring 2019

Student Major


A Bush on the Move

This weekend we took a little trip or maybe as the Irish would describe it a long journey to the west coast of the island. This was a lot of firsts for me in one weekend. It was the first time I had ever been to Galway, the first time I had stayed in a hostel, and the first time I saw a real-life authentic Irish sheep.


Although this weekend was full of unimaginable landscapes and some authentic cultural experiences I cannot for the life of me stop thinking about those sheep. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I added not one, but two new wool pieces to my collection effectively rendering me one step closer to morphing into a sheep myself. However, I would like to think that it’s just my general interest in wildlife and the fact that now I’m missing the comfort of my own woolly dogs. Therefore, I am resorting to obsessing over anything under 4 foot 11.


I had my first encounter with the native and economically significant animals when we visited Inishmore. This island was small and our tour guide seemed especially proud of the island homes, taking specific pleasure in pointing out the homes with unique features like a thatched roof or a basement. My first taste of a sheep came in the form of a goat perched on the fence of one of these quaint cottages. Our driver stopped so we could take pictures, needless to say, I was thrilled. Later when we faced a downpour during a hike my wool hat provided me with some much-needed warmth and cover from the rain. It also left a distinct smell that was neither pleasant nor unpleasant but rather somewhere in between.


This did not satisfy but I was hopeful and up to this point my viewing of sheep had been in passing out of our bus window. Inishmore provided a brief but closer glimpse into the flock. My best viewing came on Sunday when we took a brief hiatus from our long trek home to visit the Cliffs of Moher. When we arrived at the site we were given the opportunity to go either left or right to view the cliffs. First, we went right and were faced with much of the same viewpoint that we had seen during the weekend, worse than that it was absolutely teeming with tourists. So we backtracked and walked the opposite direction. After making some risky maneuvers we stumbled across a field where sheep were grazing. They were quite far away and I snapped some crappy pictures with my iPhone. Luckily, on the walk back to the visitors center, a lone sheep decided to walk closer to the fence to investigate a paper cup that some stupid non-environmentally conscious visitor had carelessly thrown into the enclosure. The sheep was very interested in the contents of the cup itself and hobbled over. It was the sweetest thing and looked like a bush on the move. We snapped a lot of pictures and I could hear the distant sounds of the flock bleating. The creature itself was curious about the people but became even more entranced when it encountered a dog. The face-off was short lived and the owner had enough sense to move the dog from the fence after the sheep bleated a little more threateningly.


Overall the experience was wonderful I really think this might be the closest I will get to a sheep this semester and I am content.

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