Updated: Jan 5
After our annual New Year’s Day walk, we are happy to put our feet up and relax by the fire – I wanted to write a review of our year on behalf of my family and share it with you all. Have a happy new year!!!!!! – Robert
To our wonderful followers,
2019 is done and dusted. And what a year it’s been! There have many highs and some lows, but it was our four-legged friends who pulled us through…
For many years now, donkeys have been a hobby and passion for the family. 2019 was the year we finally took the plunge and started Kinedale Donkeys as an official business! It has been a labour of love, decades in the making and we would like to thank each and every one of you for your incredible support. It has been such a pleasure to share our donkeys with you and for everyone to see just why we love them.
2019 has been a very rewarding year. We have welcomed three new additions to our herd! Two of our own foals, Aslan and Mumford, were born in the summer and it has been one of the biggest highlights of the year to watch them play together. You got to meet them at our popular event ‘Donkeyfest’ – keep an eye on our Facebook page for Donkeyfest 2020! Our other addition is Pongo (Cúchulainn) a lovely three-year-old, who although has only known us a short time we have bonded so quickly with him. We’re excited to work with him more as he matures.
JANUARY – NEW BEGININGS We started the year off right with our now annual New Year’s Day Cloughey beach walk.
FEBRUARY – READY FOR HIS OSCAR Denis the donkey is ready for his close up! Taking place at Hanna’s Close, Denis starred in a local student’s short film.
MARCH – CALM BEFORE THE STORM March was light on events, but much preparation was taking place for our busy summer ahead!
APRIL – DRIP DRIP DROP We had our busiest Palm Sunday ever! We provided donkeys to TEN churches this year.
MAY – OUR CROWN JEWEL Our favourite event, the Balmoral Show! This was our biggest and best year we’ve ever had, with 22 donkeys from all over the island taking part. (We have a great video of this display in our gallery)
JUNE – FROM KINEDALE TO CAIRNRYN Our first trip across the water to the Highland Show was a great success and more importantly we had fun! Scottish hospitality may be a little too good… some sore heads after all that whiskey! No time to recover once we returned in Northern Ireland it was straight to Saintfield Show. Saintfield is a show very close to our hearts and despite the worst rain in months we still made it out and showed our donkeys. Saintfield proved to be the largest Young Handler’s Donkey class in Northern Ireland! On the same day, Richard took a donkey to Churchview Farm Open Weekend. This month seen the donkeys don sombreros for a Mexican themed staff party, this was a first for Kinedale. Wedding in Gransha – we drove the flower girls and page boys in donkey and carriage.
Bangor hosted a vintage seaside event, with the donkeys of Kinedale providing nostalgia of the once bustling coastal town and carriage rides. County Offlay Show with the Irish Donkey Society, felt like a longer drive than going to the Highland! Denis attended a garden party in aid of Northern Irish Air Ambulance, as Guest of Honour.
AUGUST – THROUGH THE KEYHOLE August always starts with the Dublin Horse Show! Watched by many including Olympic showjumpers atop their steeds. For the first time ever, we opened our home to everyone. We get asked all the time if people can come see our donkeys, so we decided to hold an open day, aptly named ‘Donkeyfest!’ Fortune smiled on us and the weather was glorious and we can’t wait to turn this into an annual event.
SEPTEMBER – THE RESIDENT PRESIDENT Although we do nursing homes year round, September was a very busy month! President Peanut particularly enjoyed doing the nursing homes – especially if the telly was on! This month saw more additions to Kinedale, for once not donkeys! We welcomed two Galway sheep into our flock. We participated in a Walk, Ride and Drive at Mount Dalton in County Westmeath
OCTOBER – CALM BEFORE THE STORM This month was spent finalising all our Christmas bookings. I think we’ll need a bigger calendar next year!
NOVEMBER – NEVER TOO EARLY FOR CHRISTMAS Robert was invited to do a talk on donkeys for the 7:30 club at our local parish which was thoroughly enjoyed by all attendees! The beginning of the festive season! To kick of the advent in style, Magheradroll Parish hosted us for a live nativity scene. This entailed two donkeys, two sheep, two goats and one cow to recreate the scene of the birth of Jesus, to really bring to live the true meaning of Christmas. The local schools and the church choir sang some beautiful music that the animals really enjoyed.
DECEMBER – TOO BUSY TO BREATHE The busiest month by far. We had daily runs to St Mary’s Chapel on Chapel Lane to provide them with animals for their ‘Living Crib’, another live nativity scene! It has garnered thousands of visitors over the festive period, taking a break from their shopping and taking a quiet moment to enjoy the animals. The donkey in particular has an important role in the birth of Jesus, and it is touching to see how many people are moved by their presence. We had Christmas parties galore to attend, church services and many other things. Peanut even made it into the Belfast Telegraph for walking through Belfast to attend the Linen Hall Library carol service.
We wouldn’t change the past year for the world, but we are looking forward to a small break before planning the rest of the year for you. Truly overwhelmed by the support and special thanks must be given to; The Truesdale Family.
Lots of love, Kinedale Donkeys xxx