One of the two border collies working at Dualla House farm in Tipperary, Ireland leaps the fence while Jim and Betsy Cooke of Virginia watch


We love our visits to grand and gracious Dualla House just outside of Cashel, Tipperary, Ireland because it means we get to see working sheep dogs herding the thousand or so sheep which graze on green pastures around the grand Georgian farmhouse where we sleep. Mairead and Martin Power are the most accommodating of hosts. So, when Betsy and Jim Cooke expressed interest in seeing how their two border collies worked, Martin Power (at the still spry age of 91) gladly put on his Wellingtons and climbed over the fence which keeps the sheep off the long, narrow road leading to their farm from the main road far below. Within seconds, and with the slightest of words, one of the dogs was racing at top speed down the hill along the fenceline. Hundreds of sheep ran to the left, where the second dog corralled them in short order into a tight group. The entire process only took a half a minute, and the three hundred or so silent sheep were in a group, ready to be shown either the way to the shearing shed, or the barn where they would bear their lambs, or wherever Martin wanted them to be.

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Jim Cooke and Martin Power discuss the mechanics of sheep movement