A load of Bull

It was a calm still evening on Inish Mor in the Aran Islands off the coast of Galway. I had just sat down on the sea wall to contemplate the sunset when I noticed in the distance what I took to be a young boy leading his cow home for milking. The fact that he had something like an electric cattle prod in his hand did not immediately register as I am cursed with night blindness at a distance. So, I continued sitting peacefully gazing into the Irish Sea until my ears were alerted to the unpleasant yell of 'Mind the Bull'. I looked up startled to see the animal I had taken for a friendly milk cow, bearing down on me at a rate of knots, snorting and pawing the ground as though I were a matador wearing a red cape. I looked down in horror at the rocky shores of Galway Bay some ten feet below the sea wall and across at the once picturesque now dauntingly high stone walls guarding the perimeter of the adjacent farm. I took a chance with being able to vault over the stone wall rather than dive into the sea. Just as the bull trumpeted towards me I took a leap worthy of any Olympian and landed head first into a blackberry bush. I stood up agonisingly pulling thorns from my skin to find the young man in charge of the bull looking at me with the same angry expression as his charge. 'Why didn't ye turn him?' He walked off in disgust!!
Later at the pub, downing a welcome Guiness, I discovered that when a bull charges at you it is customary to simply raise both arms straight out at right angles from ones body and supposedly this will stop him in his tracks. Even had I known this valuable piece of country lore at the time I do not believe that I could have summoned the courage to look the fearsome beast in the eye whilst waving my arms at him knowingly.
All I can say is that I am glad I did not land in the blackberry bushes of my childhood, for I remember them to be full of snakes, or so my mother had told me. It is just as well that these blackberry bushes were in Ireland, the land which St Patrick had completely cleared of snakes!! Thank God for St Patrick.

Posted By Donna Spillane on 7th December 2004

Updated : 29th March 2007 | Words : 405 | Views : 1866 | Comments : 1

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1 Comment


Best story yet! Thanks for the information, I'll remember that when I return to the Aran Islands someday.

Posted By julie on Thursday 29th March 2007 @ 12:56:49


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