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Lucky Charm and Timothy move around

I have been working at The Donkey Sanctuary for a long time, twenty years plus, mainly at Knockardbane Farm where it all started from a leaking caravan and a few staff.

I can honestly say there never has been one day the same, every day comes with something different- be it happy or sad stories and endings. I recently got the task at short notice to arrange to move two of our donkeys across the water to their new home.

Lucky Charm and Timothy settling in

Fabulous supporters and visitors from all over the world

We are very fortunate that we have such a stunning farm and facility here that can care for hundreds of donkeys that need special attention. The staff and volunteers adore the donkeys and mules here in Liscarroll and we are delighted that we can extend our love of donkeys to the public by inviting everyone in to the Sanctuary to meet the donkeys first hand.

Donkey enthusiasts visiting the Sanctuary

Rosettes and red faces at the RDS Horse Show

'"He's a lovely donkey'' is not a phrase one expects to hear at the vetting gate of the Royal Dublin Society during horse show week. A reply of ''he's an even lovelier mule'' raised a few eyebrows swiftly followed by a raft of mule/hinny related questions from the vets. This seems to set the tone for the rest of the day as myself and the mule maestro Eugene Butler displayed Sanctuary mules Bohea Lad and Kendon on a showery Sunday at the prestigious venue.

Cathy with mule Kendon

Mules parade in front of President of Ireland

The Irish Donkey Society (IDS) will stage a spectacular display of donkeys and donkey farming equipment and carriages at work and at play in Ring 1 of the RDS showgrounds on the final day of the Dublin Horse Show on Sunday 24th July from 3.40pm to 4.10pm this year.

The RDS Horse Show is being held 2 weeks earlier than normal this year because of the Olympics in Rio, Brazil in August. The parade of donkey carriages will be in front of the President of Ireland and his special guests.

Mule Kendon and Eugene Butler in the RDS

Specialized veterinary training

A very successful, well attended North West Veterinary Clinical Society meeting was held recently at one of The Donkey Sanctuary's holding bases in Strabane Co Tyrone. Twenty two vets from practices throughout Co Tyrone, Derry, Donegal and Fermanagh attended the evening which was led by Karen Rickards, Principal Veterinary Surgeon for The Donkey Sanctuary.

Karen leading the training

Mule misconception

What comes to people’s minds when they hear the word mule: stubborn, aggressive or even dangerous? Mules can be perceived as all of these things but it is in fact our perception and how we work with and respect these animals for what they are. When treated with kindness, patience and understanding they learn to trust and obey. If they are treated with force they are most likely not going to obey as they can sense danger. This is where people’s perception of mules as being aggressive comes into play. But it is a defence mechanism for them, to protect themselves.

Robin helping to sweep the yard!

Under the stars

We are always telling people that donkeys are sociable animals which need company. This was certainly the case for a donkey called Planet. He is a fine healthy young donkey who lived in a big field in Co Roscommon. He lived “under the stars” as he had no shed or stable but he coped with that.

Planet at time of rescue

Education is the most powerful tool we can use to change the world

Education is without doubt a key part of the answer to improving the lives of donkeys and mules in Ireland and running donkey care courses in new venues throughout Leinster is something high on the priority list. We have held successful courses in Wexford and Dublin in established guardian homes and at My Lovely Horse welfare organisation in Kildare. Courses have been well attended and the feedback has been positive and encouraging.

Donkey care course


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