I love sheep. I am head over heels, stop-the-car-right-now wild for Irish sheep. With an estimated 3.4 million sheep in Ireland, my squealing like a three year old behaviour during our time in Irish countryside became a non stop event.
My husband and brother in law, bless their patient driving souls, began to wear ear plugs so as not to succumb to hearing loss from the frequent Irish sheep sightings and the consistent “SHEEPIES!” from the back seat.
Armed with a camera around my neck and smart phone in hand, I allowed the car to almost stop prior to flinging myself toward a herd of the bleating beauties.
Sheep in Ireland come in all colours. Although it may surprise you that I am prone to exaggeration, Irish sheep truly cover the rainbow.
Set against backdrops of rolling green hills and mountains, farmers often paint their sheep. This simple and vibrant way of identifying sheep allows multiple owners to share pastures which are sometimes enclosed by stone walls or wire fences.
Having witnessed a tourist being shocked by an Irish electrical fence I can say that one should be cautious upon approaching said sheep. Having nearly been electrocuted myself as a child in rural Canada I have a great respect for any fence, even when the much loved sheep are involved.
Besides pure identification of the sheep in Ireland, during mating season, rams spread some colour of their own. With a bag of dye tied around their neck they leave their mark on the upper back of any ewe they mount.
The farmer then moves the newly painted ewes away from the ram into another field. Talk about marking one’s territory.
Approximately five months later the lambs are born. Thankfully for my road trip travel mates we were not in Ireland for lambing season. I suspect I would have been banished from the car and left in a pasture to find my own way about Ireland.
No matter how much you love Irish sheep hang on to your phone
So it was on a day when visiting a ring fort that the smiling faces of the painted sheep caught my eye. With a non-locking gate at my disposal I walked toward the woolly wonders.
Now you might say this was trespassing, I’d like to think of it as visiting. With camera around my neck and smart phone in hand I happily chatted up my Irish sheep companions.
At last when thinking I might be pushing my luck with the farmers of Ireland I stood up and promptly slipped on a deposit of sheep manure.
In a juggling-gone-bad act, my smart phone twisted and turned as if in slow motion. With one last desperate attempt to save my phone came my frantic swipe. Changing position the phone landed squarely in the sheep excrement, charger end first.
I believe my sheep friends smiled watching the sad scene. Picking up the not so smart phone, now covered in a unique Irish souvenir, things looked rather grim to say the least.
With a frenzy of tissues, wet wipes and some requests to the patron saint of those who drop phones in sheep doo-doo, the phone blinked itself alive. Nothing short of an Irish miracle.
If you are wondering if this stopped me from looking for more painted Irish sheep the answer is no. How can you resist these charmers in their coloured wool? My phone still suffers from charging irritability. Who can blame it really?
Have you ever dropped your phone in a less than optimal location? Can you outdo a pile of sheep manure?