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The Wild Goat (Gabhar Fia) -- : 
The  wild or feral goat is closely related to the sheep. There are not many goats around Tramore.
The goat’s coat is  usually  black and white and sometimes brown and black.  The male goats are usually called rams. Goats were of  great value to   small  Irish farmer in the last Century and as late as 1926, there is on record that 241,247 goats were exported from Ireland to England. As this trade died away, some animals were released and became feral or wild. During World War 2, the numbers of goats fell, as their meat was sold to England. The goat lives in mountain areas but in many parts of the world people keep goats as domestic animals, like cats or dogs. They supply milk and meat and skins. The goat’s milk is very good for you. Some people have to use goat’s milk instead of cow’s milk, because they have an allergy to cow’s milk. It is not very easy to get goats milk, as you cannot buy it in most shops. It is now available in our local supermarket. I have never tasted it but I would say that it is not nice. Their milk is also turned into cheese, as well. I have never tasted goat’s cheese.

Goats skin is often used to make a special type of instrument (like a small drum turned sideways), called a bodhrán, which is held in the hand and played with a piece of bone or the back of your hand. Goats can live very happily on small amounts of food. A male goat is called a Billy goat, a female is called a nanny goat and a baby goat is called a kid. There are many such herds of wild goats all over Ireland. There are usually thirty or forty in each herd. Irish goats are usually black, white or both. You can tell what age a Billy goat is by counting the rings on his horns. They usually live about twelve to fifteen years and in this time his horns can grow to nearly forty inches long, which is nearly 100 cm. 

The female or nanny has short pointy horns, which only grow a small bit every year. The young goats are born in February or March. In Kerry every year they have a special festival to honour the goat. It is called “Puck Fair”. It is held in a town called Killorglin. A week before the festival starts, young men from the village go up the nearby mountains and search for the biggest goat they can find. He is then captured and paraded through the town on the back of a lorry.

If you go to Passage East, which is a small fishing village near Tramore, you can see all the goats on the cliffs over looking the village. I often go to visit my aunt there, and we go to look at the goats.                                          

John O’Grady