'GOATSCAPING' has now turned into 'sheepscaping' at an old Cork graveyard as their environmentally friendly approach to cleaning up the cemetery continues.
Last year, the Templebreedy Save our Steeple committee pioneered an eco-friendly initiative renting goats to eat overgrowth around headstones and boulders within St Matthews graveyard, rather than using strimmers and mowers.
Speaking to, local councillor Audrey Buckley explained that the inspiration behind the innovative idea came from a trip to Wales.
"This idea was first realised after a trip to Swansea and the Gower, seeing the sheep roaming around the Gower, doing a fantastic job of the area to aide walkers and the many tourist pathways.
"After some research, I read that in the UK and USA there are businesses that rent out sheep and goats to clear areas and older delicate graveyards.
"With this in mind, the Templebreedy Save Our Steeple committee decided that after Phase 1 of consolidation of the church/steeple we would have a phase 2 of helping the graveyard as many headstones had not been seen by anyone," she said.
Now the graveyard has some new temporary residents for the summer months to help keep it clean and tidy.
"The goats did such a good job last year, they ate all the ivy all the brush but they don’t really like the grass so that’s why we’ve brought in the sheep," Ms Buckley said.
"The goats unearthed a lot of history, a lot of headstones and then we paid a company, heritage.ie, to come in and help us to register all the headstones. We found over 400 headstones."
Two sheep and two lambs have been rented from a local woman and community members have continued to help with the project.
"We couldn’t do this if it wasn’t for the great community effort.
"Cork County Council have been super too. They’ve helped us with the harris fencing (to keep the sheep inside the graveyard) and they’ve been on board with the project since the start," Ms Buckley said.
Locals visiting the graveyard are asked to keep their dogs on the lead.