It is one of the most enduring and endearing images of Irishness: children standing beside a donkey laden with creels of turf on a bog in Connemara. The Irish donkey, that great symbol of Irishness, is fast disappearing from the Irish countryside.
There were approximately 128,000 donkeys in Ireland at the end of the Second World War in 1945; today, it is estimated by The Irish Donkey Society (IDS ) that there are fewer than 5,000 breeding females in Ireland. Any animal species of less than 5,000 females is regarded as in danger of extinction.
Come along to the Athlone Agri-Show on Sunday June 30 at Gaffey’s Farm, Moydrum, Athlone, and see a bit of ‘Auld’ Ireland in Ring 8 at 2pm.There will be four donkey classes, with prize money of €40 for first, €30 for second, and €20 for third in each class.
The IDS is calling on all donkey owners in the Midlands to get their ‘ass’ in shape, washed, combed, and hooves trimmed and present to the judge, Amanda Wallace, on Sunday June 30.
Entries should be made to Gillian Kinahan, Equine Secretary, Clonaltra Stables, Castledaly, Moate. For further information call (086 ) 8521575, email [email protected], or see www.athloneshow.ie Entries close on Friday June 20 for entry into the show catalogue. The cost is €12 per entry per class, and no late entries are accepted.
You can join the IDS at the ringside on the day for €20 individual and €25 annual family membership and help the IDS to improve the status and welfare of the Irish donkey.
There will also be donkey classes at shows in Mullingar on Sunday July 14; Oldcastle, Co Meath on Sunday July 21; and Ballinasloe on Saturday September 28.