It was an ordinary day in in Kilkenny, and the light faded as Niall and I herded the cows into the parlour in order to take care of the afternoon’s milking. Niall got the cows from the paddock with the four-wheeler and led the way to give notice to the incoming cars of the bovine avalanche that came behind him; I stayed in the back to prevent any of the curiouser cows to abandon the pack. The milking session was the same as always: we milked the cows ten by ten to the sound of the only classical-music radio station to be found in Kilkenny.

As the sun set, we got closer to milking all of them, and once done we attempted to take the cows back to the paddock. Up the lane we went, and we turned left after we reached the public road. Niall continued with the routine without noticing anything out of the ordinary. I had the privilege of having all the cows ahead of me, and I was able to observe them. Everything seemed fine, until it wasn’t. I saw many cows, certainly guided by one of the curiouser specimens, turning left into a gate that Niall insists stay closed at all times. The gate is the entrance to the High Cross, but it wasn’t the cross that attracted the cows: it was new grass. I was fairly inexperienced with cows before arriving in Ireland, and I thought it impossible that a cow could jump from sheer excitement. Back and forth they went, reaching every corner in hectic fashion, and they were dangerously close to damaging the tombstones belonging to Niall’s family.

The High Cross is open to the public, and it was a handful of absent-minded tourists that left the gate open. The tourists were still there, and they watched with excitement as Niall and I tried to calm the cows down and get them to move out of the area, which took longer than expected; none of the tourists decided to help us in this sticky situation. We were in need of a non-curious cow to lead the way out of the cross’s grounds, and it happened after a quarter of an hour or so. Cows like following a leader, and whoever is in front decides the route. The cows calmed down instantly after reaching familiar grounds and we secured them in a paddock.

That night many a laugh was had when we shared the news with the rest of the family at supper, in part due to the fact that the property was largely left in its previous state, save the treaded grass.

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