Cow lost at sea washed ashore…100km away

A Co. Cork suckler farmer, who lost one of his cows two and a half weeks ago, got a shock this week when he got a phone call from a knackery – 100km away.

Kinsale-based farmer James O’Regan explained how, through a terrible stroke of bad luck, a cow he had been grazing close to the coast on land near his house went missing after presumably falling off the edge of a cliff.

Speaking to AgriLand, James said: “I had my cows outside on a bit of rented grazing land from a neighbour because I was short on feed, so I wouldn’t usually be in there.

I had fenced the cliff, which is literally right next door to myself. I took up the bottom fence, the one by the cliff, to bring it over to my own field – just so I could move them.

James said that on the day in question, for about 20 minutes, the fence was lowered as he moved them – which was when the cow must have fallen into the sea, though he was not aware of it at the time.

“It was the next day that I copped it, so I came back down to check them in my own place, and copped that she was missing,” he said.

“I reported it to the local Guards in Kinsale then, just in case she’d wash up on a beach or something nearby. I heard nothing back then for two and a half weeks.”

On Tuesday night, James got a phone call from a knackery in Waterford to say that the missing animal was found on a beach in Annestown, not far from Tramore town – which is more than 100km from Kinsale.

James noted that the knacker he spoke to said the council brought her up to him; and they had contacted the DVO (District Veterinary Office) to track down the owner through the cow’s ear tags.

Regarding the location where the cow is presumed to have fallen, James said that, while it was not a very high cliff, there was only one section of the coast bank where she could have went.

“I walked it and searched it a couple of times looking for signs on the rocks; I was looking for where they’d have broken, where she’d have fallen in – but I couldn’t see a thing there.

There was no sign of her falling in, even skin or hair left on the rocks. I’d say she just went clean into it.

“There was just one part where there’d be a direct drop; the rest of it – if she’d fallen in either place she’d have landed on rocks.

“It’s probably only about 8ft or 10ft high, it wasn’t a terribly high cliff or anything. I had them in my sight all the time, I could see them when I was putting up the fence on my own side – but obviously I didn’t see her fall in.

“It happened fast to lose her in that quick a time-frame.

Image source: James O’Regan

“It’s a serious distance for her to drift, going past Cork harbour; there’d be currents coming out of the River Lee and that would have shoved her out into the open sea as well.”

Describing the incident as a “shocker”, James said: “It’s not even the cost of losing her; I was more saddened by the poor cow, by the end she got.

“I’m hoping however she died, whether she hit her head on rocks or she drowned, I’m hoping it was fast for her,” he concluded.