A Co Laois farmer and his family have had a good start to their week, after 11 of their Hereford-cross calves were recovered on Monday after going missing, presumed stolen, for more than 24 hours.

George Clarke, from Ballaghmore went out to herd his stock on Sunday morning with his wife, Lorraine.

They began by taking meal out to their 10-week old calves, but on arriving in the field, found 11 of their 20 Hereford-cross calves missing. Presuming the calves had broken out through a fence and wandered, the Clarkes began searching their own land, and then neighbours' land.

After three hours of searching, they decided to put up a post on the local community alert Facebook page.


Before long, calls from neighbours and passers-by highlighted two sightings of the calves going up the road near the farm between 6.30am and 6.45am on Sunday morning, being followed by a vehicle. A third sighting by a truck driver passing on the R445 between Roscrea and Borris-in-Ossory prompted George to phone the local Gardaí.

Power of social media

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, George Clarke praised the Gardaí from Portlaoise Garda Station, saying they “pulled out all the stops”, working through the night in search of the calves.

Clarke received a phone call on Monday morning from a neighbour that the calves had been returned to a pen close to his farm.

He highlighted the power of social media in the good outcome of the story.

“The shares and comments by everyone, local and further afield, made the calves too hot to handle. The community alert and other pages were a great help in getting the calves back home.

“We’re just thrilled to get them back, because if I’m honest, I didn’t think we would,” Clarke concluded.