Least anyone think I place all Irish people on a pedestal of gracious hospitality and congeniality I offer the following story. And, by way of background, it seems on every journey to Ireland we wander into the subject of happy cows as those we encounter in the stone walled grassy fields appear so very content, peaceful, and friendly. Our cow conversations generally include speculation that the happy cows are responsible for the delicious cheese and butter over here. But I digress.
Saint Féchín wandered Ireland in the early 7th century establishing several churches and monasteries here. His name is pronounced feh-kin. However it wasn’t the saint being invoked by the angry farmer we encountered on our visit to Heapstown Cairn, a national monument and cairn of unique character. Most megalithic sites are on farmlands where access is graciously allowed – just make sure you close the gates so the cows don’t wander off. Not in this case.
The farmer had placed his own padlock on the public access turnstile so we just wandered through the open gate and into the field. As the small herd of cows seemed uncharacteristically skittish we approached with care. It was then we saw the farmer racing across the field in a small red car. The cows immediately took off for the shelter of a nearby stand of trees leaving us to fend for ourselves. Window rolled down, the farmer’s yelling was barely discernible beyond the fecking punctuation. But his message was clear and we left with a clear understanding of why these cows were skittish and not at all happy. It was a moving experience but not a Féchín one. I wonder if his cows are the source of sour cream.
Judith – firstname.lastname@example.org