Sheep have been employed for a unique task in a cemetery in Crosshaven in Co. Cork, as they have been tasked with eating the overgrown grass around ancient headstones.

This practice is known as ‘goatscaping’ and it involves using sheep or goats to eat away at the overgrown grass around delicate headstones.

The work is being undertaken by volunteers who are part of the Templebreedy Save our Steeple campaign.

Image source: Templebreedy Save our Steeple

One of the most recent graves to be discovered was that of a two-year-old girl who passed away in October 1872.

“Maria Kate Russel, Aged 2 yrs, 5 months and 15 days. Her father, Crp. George Russel, Royal Engineers, Camden Fort Meagher, was present when she passed.”

Image source: Templebreedy Save our Steeple

The group said that they had managed to get in contact with the grand nephew of the girl.

“He had been trying to find information on her and had planned to come over from the UK last year but had to cancel due to Covid.

“He is thrilled and plans to visit as soon as he can. He is so thankful to all involved.”

Conservation of the Co. Cork church

The church at Templebreedy, Co. Cork dates back as far as 1788 and a conservation project to save the church has been in operation for quite some time.

Image source: Templebreedy Save our Steeple

The group plans to continue to use the sheep to uncover further historic graves in the cemetery.