A memorial to a goat culled during a foot and mouth disease outbreak guards a series of fantastical caves.
Hard to miss, this bronze statue of an understandably grumpy-looking goat is a tribute to Johann, the last creature culled in the area during the foot and mouth outbreak of the early 2000s. His regular grazing area was here alongside the harbor, and he was popular with locals and tourists alike.
In 2001, a foot and mouth disease outbreak nearly brought Northern Ireland to a standstill. Animal exports ground to a halt, and livestock suspected of having the disease were killed.
Belfast-born artist Deborah Brown created this tribute to Cushendun’s beloved goat after the creature was culled. A local farmer occasionally ties one of his current flock to the statue while it eats the surrounding grass.
“Johann” isn’t the only site to see here. Carry on past the statue, and you’ll soon find a sublime site. Formed some 400 million years ago, the landscape has a few short tunnels to explore. If the weather is good, you can see the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland, which is only 15 miles away, from the path.
Game of Thrones fans will recognize the caves from “Garden of Bones” (episode four of season two), as it was here that Melisandre gave birth to the “shadow baby.” The show returned to film here in season eight.
Know Before You Go
Be careful and respectful when exploring the caves, and always be polite to goats! After a quick explore, go into nearby Mary McBride’s Bar. It’s home to door eight on the Journey of the Doors, and they allow novices to try and pour a perfect pint of Guinness too.
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