Goats causing quite the ‘Buzz’ at Bantry House and gardens

June 8th, 2022 7:00 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

William (Billy) Walsh, whose goats are helping out with the foilage in Bantry House gardens with Sam Shelswell-White. (Photo: Karlis Dzjamko)

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EIGHT male goats – Spike, Buzz, Nibbles, Chimera, Hydra, Hercules, Meduza and Sona –  have spent the past 10 days chewing through overgrowth in the glorious surroundings of Bantry House.

Owners of the historic home, Brigitte and Sam Shelswell-White brought in ‘Billy’s Rent a Goat’ from Enniskeane to help them clear the overgrown walled garden.

The re-purposed goats have already proved successful in clearing growth from other locations across the county, including Coláiste Chriost Rí in Cork city last year.

Owner William Walsh, who set up the business last year, said the goats have proven to be very good at their job.

‘These male goats have been re-purposed for educational and land management and they did an excellent job  in Bantry House clearing the layers of briars and rosebushes,’ said Willie.

‘Once they ate down most of the growth, I went in then with my slash hook to clear the growth and they are an ideal chemical and machinery-free solution to dealing with overgrowth.’ Willie said he is the shepherd of his goats and their welfare is of the utmost importance to him.

‘I need to make sure they have proper shelter and have water available, as well as doing a survey of a site initially to make sure there is nothing poisonous there.’

Willie has also taken his goats to schools across the country, educating both pupils and staff about sustainability and the ethics of re-purposing the goats.

Two years ago, goats were brought in from West Cork to help clear the overgrowth at St Matthew’s graveyard at Templebreedy Church in Crosshaven, and once they cleared it, sheep were then brought in cut down the grass.

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