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Billy ‘Goatscaping’ at Templebreedy a ‘ruminant’ success

November 10th, 2020 11:45 AM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Cllr Buckley with Oscar in the graveyard. (Photo: Siobhan Russell)

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HAVING happily chewed their way around the overgrowth in St Matthew’s graveyard at Templebreedy Church cemetery in Crosshaven,  four contented male goats – Oscar, Harris, Keane and Breedy – recently bid a fond farewell to what was their temporary home for several months.

The goats were brought in by the volunteer committee behind ‘Templebreedy Save our Steeple’ earlier this year in order to help clear the overgrowth at St Matthew’s graveyard.

The ‘goatscaping’ idea surpassed all expectations and even helped to uncover areas not seen for years.

Local Fianna Fáil councillor and a member of the volunteer committee, Cllr Audrey Buckley had been looking for an eco-friendly way of clearing the overgrowth. Last year, she discovered a community in the UK which had the same problems and had let a herd of goats loose.

Having received permission from Cork County Council, these four eager goats arrived to their new temporary home in the graveyard last  May, where they were fenced in and moved around every eight to 10 days.

‘It took us a while to find someone who would let us borrow their goats, but it was worth it in the end when Norah de Barra answered our call,’ said  Cllr Audrey Buckley.

‘We were sad to see them leave, but they were getting frisky as September is their rutting season and they were eager to head back to their does (female goats) on Hungry Hill. We want to thank all the volunteers and the community for keeping a watch over them and helped moved them every week.’

Cllr Buckley said using the goats certainly paid off. She said they are hopefully starting works there next week as the committe has received €40,000 from the Heritage Council for St Matthew’s Church and the goats idea certainly worked, as they got national attention after the story appeared in The Southern Star.

The money secured will go towards helping consolidate the steeple at St Matthew’s Church built in 1788 and a conservation engineer is expected to start work soon.

The group is also planning to set up a GoFundMe page in the immediate future and recently recorded and photographed over 400 headstones in the graveyard as part of its project.

And it looks like the goats might return next year to help chew their way through more overgrowth in the graveyard.

For more, see ‘Templebreedy Save Our Steeple’ on Facebook.

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