Donkey Sanctuary, Co Cork
The world’s largest donkey and mule charity centre operates out of County Cork. It was originally a small rescue centre operated by a local man name Paddy. In the 1980s, it joined forces with the Donkey Sanctuary in the UK, and it has grown into one of the most important centres of its kind in the world.
Donkeys have been beasts of burden in Ireland for ages. However, they no longer serve a central role in rural society, which leads to their neglect. Many were orphaned or abandoned; others suffer from congenital diseases and need constant care. The Donkey Centre responds by providing veterinary care, food and plenty of land to roam on.
The centre also works on international projects. Experts from the centre conduct research into tropical diseases – both those that have landed on the shores of Ireland and others that have not. They also offer mobile clinics, free clinical treatment and a wealth of information and advice to people around the world who are raising or otherwise caring for donkeys.
The public is invited to lend a hand with the Donkey Sanctuary’s projects in any way that they can. The centre is open every day of the week, and admission is free. Those who would like to make a donation are encouraged to – but there are no set prices, membership fees or anything else of this nature. It’s a completely free attraction.
Visitors also have the opportunity to adopt a donkey from the sanctuary. This helps to offset the cost of the charity. Those who adopt a donkey receive a twice-yearly report on the health of their adopted animal, along with an adoption certificate and a drawing.