The Circles of Skibbereen

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“So, Get this Mollie, McGuinty snuck another letter by the dartboard without telling anybody. I just happened to see him doing it. Let’s go over, and I’ll read it to you.”

“McGuinty’s a hard guy to figure, but he does things his way. We just need to remember that, so, yes, let’s go over and read Skibootch’s latest letter. He was on his way to Skibbereen, right?

“Yeah, and here’s what he says:”

Remember when I said I might go to Skibbereen because it rhymed with green. Well, I took my well thought suggestion and followed the arrow on the signpost. So, as I’m walking down the road, I come upon a beautiful green pasture full of cows that look like Oreo cookies. I’m enclosing a picture so you can see for yourself.  It’s a picture of a bull named “Blarney.” Blarney was checking me out as I was approaching a corner of the pasture nearest the road. He came up to the edge of the field and actually started talking to me.

He was a very friendly fellow and didn’t threaten me in any way. He, like a lot of people around here, seemed to want to just talk and be friendly. So, anyway he asks me where I’m going and I tell him I’m on my way to Skibbereen to look for Galway cows and to check out whether it is as green as its name sounds.

That seemed to strike him as rather asinine, but he kept talking to me anyway and he asked me if I had any other reasons for going there. So, I told him about the farm me and Seanna bought in Galway, and that I was looking for Galway Cows, because I had heard they were from Galway in Ireland, I wanted to get a look at them since I might want to raise them on my farm. So, he asks me, why would I want to raise that particular breed?

So, I told him I wanted to do the Irish thing and learn how to complete the circle of life. Do it as farmers in a land where farming was an important way of life. He looks at me for a moment, and says: “You know what? You don’t have the right cows. We’re not Galway Cows anyway, we’re Galloway Cows.

We originated in Scotland and a few of us were sent here, but we’re not from Galway. Furthermore, were not good milk cows. They raise us mainly for our meat. You’re lucky you came by here so I could set you right. Skibbereen ain’t any more green than any other part of Ireland, and Galloway cows don’t come from Galway. You must be good at getting things wrong. What’s your name, anyway?”

So, I told him; Skibootch, and he says: “No wonder you’re such a thickhead. You know what Skibootch means in Irish? Look around this field. What do you see?” So, I told him what I saw looked like big round brown pies. He said: “We call that Skibootch, and you don’t eat those pies, you make fertilizer out of them. As I said; us Galloway cows are noted for beef and Skibootch, not milk. The beef is for eating, and the Skibootch is for refreshing the fields so it can grow more grass to feed us.

That whole process is what was called by those who came before, a circle, and it just keeps going around and around. And, like a carousel, after it goes around a few times, it lets off its old passengers and takes on new ones. It goes on and on and on, just like life.

When you get to your farm in Galway, buy and take care of some good milk cows and get a bull like me to protect them and give them calves. That way you can do your very own circle.  You’ve heard of the Rings of Kerry. They are not the Circles of Skibbereen, but, they are on the same signpost, as was the road to Skibbereen, just the opposite direction.. OK, so, going this way you had the good fortune to meet up with me, Blarney. The same Blarney who can read your mind, talk to you, and put you on the road to finding circles, not rings. And, to find how to turn bullshit into electricity, as well.

By the way, I notice you’re wearing a cap that says “Guinness.” Is that really you? Are you tying up all your identity with being a “Guinness?  Don’t you have any other hats? You know like a school cap, or a team cap, or even an overseas cap. Something that can place you in some kind of identity where you can be useful? Think about it, or better yet, go to the Black Dog Saloon in Cork where they have a whole lot of mirrors where the little people live and let them tell you about the circle of life, and how to find your right caps. They will have lots to tell you.

I have to go now and take care of my cows, but let me leave you with this thought: Go back to Cork and start listening. Stop your constant talking, you might even learn something!’ You know, Skibootch, learning about the real world doesn’t come from a lot of talk and sitting in lounge chairs watching celebrities. It comes from quietly having a beer around a table in a friendly saloon where everyone is heard, honored, and appreciated.

So, with that he ups and wanders off to where the cows are. I’m still trying to figure out, not only how is it he talks, but what the hell he is saying. I guess I’ll have to think on it, and maybe I can come up with some answers. I might even go back to Cork. I’ll send you another letter if and when, I do.

Say hello to Mick and Father O’Doul,


“So, that’s it Mollie. I can’t wait until his next letter…”

Blarney – The Galloway Bull
The Belted Galloway is a breed of cattle from Galloway in the west side of southern Scotland that lives on the upland pastures of Ireland, and the United States. The exact origin of the breed is unclear although it is often said that the white belt around the belly may be as a result of cross breeding. Belted Galloways are mostly raised for their quality marbled beef but can be milked.