Sheepdog Demo and Industrial School Graveyard

The Alcock and Brown hotel is an older institution. There are GFI outlets, rather than fully grounded. One plus is that there is an outlet with enough space underneath to accommodate my laptop adapter. I’ll have to remember – if I travel again, I should bring both straight-in and angle plugs, or perhaps bite the bullet and bring a regular cord.

After breakfast, we had a bumpy ride to a sheep farm, where Tom Nee demonstrated one of his sheep dogs, Prince. There are simple commands which Prince could apparently hear from several hundred yards away. Come by = left; Away = right; Walk on = straight; stand = slow down; STAND! = stop; look = look around (something wrong). The dog had incredible energy, and was eager to work. With whistle commands, the dog can be directed from a mile away.

Tom told us that a fully trained dog may go for €20000. Performance is inherited mainly through the mother. A working dog must have must have stamina, strength, and intelligence. Competitions are just a social event among farmers. A champion competition dog may be worthless in the field due to lack of stamina.

Wool no longer pays due to competition from synthetics, so sheep are raised for meat. The wool must still be sheared annually, and is sold for insulation or fuel.

The farm was in an absolutely beautiful area.
Coffee and Tea with Tom at his hospitality shack. The farm is on a Special Conservation Area, so what he can do is strictly limited. He’s allowed 600 sheep on his 1000 acres. He can’t even put up fences to keep sheep off the road. He lost 16 to vehicle accidents last year. There is no compensation to him for lost animals, but neither can he be held liable for any damage from an accident.
A short bus ride away was the Kylemore Abbey, with a large Walled Garden.
I’d never seen a Monkeypuzzle tree so well-tended.
This Robin was flitting about for bugs under a bush. Robins here are small, the size of sparrows.
On the way home, we stopped at Letterfrack to visit the Industrial School Graveyard. Industrial Schools were for delinquents and others at the margin of society, like orphans, or children whose parents were deemed unsuitable (a single father was often considered unsuitable).
Brian is doing his Ph.D. on institutional trauma. Like the Mother and Baby homes, Institutional Trade Schools were run by the Catholic church, and funded by the government. More students meant more money. Unfortunately, there was abuse, particularly sexual abuse of boys. Shame kept victims silent. Boys did receive education, though. Girls did not, except on the one day a year when the “cruel man” (inspector) came by, on which they all sat in chairs with books. The fact that a school has its own graveyard adjacent speaks in itself. The last of these institutions closed in 2002. Note the small shoes left on the gate.
The undisturbed moss and leaves around the site give witness that there are few visitors today.
Each grave now has a marble heart added on top. This must have been a recent thing, as there were older grave markers right in the ground. There were little shrines on three sides of the cemetery where people had left things. It seemed improper to me to cross into the green to take a better picture. The earliest grave I saw was from 1891, and the latest, 1955.
Standard OAT dinner, where we get choice of a glass of wine, pint of beer, or a soft drink, then a starter (appetizer), main, and choice of dessert. This picture is not the main, but the starter. Merrianne is having Smoked Chicken Salad.
The other table of six all had mussels, except for Jerry, who had roast sirloin of beef.
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