Kevin O'Hara | 'The Donkey Man': A glimpse of the Old World


To mark the 40th anniversary of my travels around the coast of Ireland with my faithful donkey, Missie, The Eagle has kindly allowed me to share a few photographs taken during that whimsical journey.

Back in 1979, when I traveled the 1800-mile trek along the entire jagged coast of Ireland, the country was on the cusp of change, as the mighty European Union was poised to cross the Irish Sea. In short order, its advances would radically change the folkways and traditions of Ireland.

"You're seeing the curtain fall on old Eirinn," remarked one wizened sage at a crossroad, watching me click away with my Nikon. "Indeed, the old ways are vanishing before our eyes. Soon there'll be no more donkeys and carts, no more postmen on bicycles, and no more robust families saving hay with pitchforks. Aye, you're a lucky man to be traveling these quiet boreens before the EU turns them into busy highways."

Today, I look fondly at these images, for they never fail to transport me back to that wondrous sojourn where I met nothing but kindness on those ancient roads.

Yes, lucky me to have caught a glimpse of the Old World passing.

Kevin O'Hara is the author of "Last of the Donkey Pilgrims," about his journey with his donkey in Ireland. To view more photos, visit his website at



If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions