My dad kept telling people about my childlike glee my first morning in Ireland. I looked out the window in Donegal, out to the mountains dotted with sheep. ‘There are sheep outside my window,’ I told him. It was pretty awesome. They we’re commercial sheep, free to roam around their owner’s land, but not really free. The spray paint on their backs indicated their owner. The same went for the cows; different breeds, but all had the recognizable tag in their ears. Still it was refreshing to see them. Ireland is very vegetarian-friendly, but that still includes the use of animal products like wool, milk, eggs, butter, and cheese. Considering the demand for meat and dairy in Ireland, despite the numbers I saw dotting the landscape, I doubt that no intensive confinement occurs. In Dublin, sadly, I even spotted a horse-drawn carriage and horse racing is also quite popular.
One day, I hope that everyone has a childlike awe when they see a cow; that it’s beautiful, not a milk machine. In the meantime, how humans treat animals isn’t representative of the animals. They are moving, feeling, and thinking. Below are some of my favorite pictures of the animals and birds of Ireland.