There were very few donkeys in Northern Ireland until they were introduced by tinkers (traveling menders of pots and pans), sword sharpeners and ladies of easy virtue who used them when they followed Oliver Cromwell's army in the 1600s.
Northern Ireland and Ireland itself owe much of its development to the donkey. Yet it is the horse that has much of the limelight. In many towns you will see statues and plaques devoted to famous racehorses or showjumpers, yet there is no commemoration or recognition of the donkey, who has contributed equally as much to their development.
As well as working in the cities, donkeys carried the peat from the bogs and drew the carts loaded with potatoes or with flax to be woven into Irish linen. They also used to cart seaweed in creels (wicker baskets), deliver milk to the creamery, and provide a means of transport for the farmer on market day.
In fact the donkey considered to be a symbol of good luck on many farms.
It is true to say that most people in Ireland have a soft spot for donkeys in their hearts and today's donkeys help to evoke memories of the rural community of years gone by.