Paddy Barrett and his family have a long tradition of helping animals and donkeys in particular.
Paddy's grandfather was a police officer in the Metropolitan police who returned to Ireland on his retirement. He kept donkeys on the site at Knockardbane from 1926 and this has now become our main Donkey Sanctuary site which is open to the public.
Paddy's father was a welfare officer in the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) from 1964 to 1981 and worked tirelessly to help donkeys and animals throughout Ireland.
Paddy himself worked as an Inspector for the ISPCA from February 1982 to July 1987, whilst at the same time running a rescue centre for donkeys in Ireland.
On 1st August 1987 Paddy's rescue centre for donkeys linked up with The Donkey Sanctuary.
Paddy and his family worked relentlessly to help and improve conditions for donkeys and mules throughout Ireland.
In September 2014 Paddy retired from his work at The Donkey Sanctuary after 27 wonderful years of service. Since he opened the gates in 1987, thousands of donkeys have been given sanctuary and protection and that is something to be very proud of. He will be dearly missed by all and we wish him every health and happiness for the future.
Since the sanctuary was opened in 1987, over 4,900 donkeys have been taken into our care and provided with loving homes. We continue to rescue and care for abandoned, abused and neglected donkeys from every corner of Ireland.
During the last 29 years, we have made a profound difference to the lives of donkeys and people all around the country. This is down to the drive and belief of our wonderful Founder and all of our supporters for your devotion and continued support.
We are open 365 days a year from 9am until 5pm. Admission and parking are free. We consider that, being a charity dependent on the support of the public, visitors should be able to see our work free of charge.
To transform the quality of life for donkeys, mules and people worldwide through greater understanding, collaboration and support, and by promoting lasting, mutually life-enhancing relationships.
A world where donkeys and mules live free from suffering, and their contribution to humanity is fully valued.
Compassion, collaboration and creativity are The Donkey Sanctuary values. They are the key to our journey as they represent what we stand for and what we measure ourselves against.
The Donkey Sanctuary is above all else compassionate. We never turn away from a donkey in need. Donkeys and the people who rely on them for their livelihoods or to help them cope with physical, mental and emotional challenges, lie at the heart of everything we do. We act as a global driving force for caring, both for suffering donkeys and mules, and for all those people whose lives they touch - generating understanding, compassion and support all over the world.
The Donkey Sanctuary is collaborative in all its activities, working through a worldwide network of partner organisations, communities and individuals. We work inclusively with people frequently marginalised within their own countries and communities, whether due to poverty, ignorance, race, gender or disabilities. We treat every interaction as a two-way opportunity to learn and to teach. We know that it is only together that we can help donkey owners and carers become donkey welfare ambassadors wherever they live and work.
The Donkey Sanctuary’s goals are ambitious, but its resources are finite – which means that we must exercise creativity to meet the ambitious goals we set ourselves. Whether this be in adapting locally available materials for donkey-friendly harness across projects that span four different continents, in developing donkey assisted therapy activities tailored to the unique challenges of a child with additional needs, or reaching donkey owning communities in the midst of man-made or natural disasters - creative thinking underpins everything we do.
• The Donkey Sanctuary is an international animal welfare charity and aims to protect donkeys and mules and promote their welfare worldwide.
• 29 project countries including the United Kingdom, Cyprus, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Mexico and Spain.
• 14,500 donkeys and mules provided with a sanctuary for life over the last 40 years.
• 5,072 donkeys and mules currently in care at Sanctuaries and foster homes in the UK, Ireland and mainland Europe.
• 28 overseas mobile teams and 4 overseas clinics working to alleviate the suffering of sick or injured donkeys.
• 400,000 overseas treatments given to working donkeys each year.
• Centre of excellence on the care and welfare of donkeys and mules.
• 500 donkeys rescued in 2015, 388 rescued in 2014 in Ireland.
• Over 400 donkeys rehomed around Ireland to loving homes.