'I always knew in my heart I would return to Donegal'
Patrick Boyle fell in love with the Swaledale breed of sheep when he was driving in Yorkshire and had to pull over to allow a flock of the bushy-tailed ones to cross the road.
That encounter was back in 1994 and his fascination for the breed has remained undiminished ever since.
"I immediately jumped out of the car when I saw them on the road and had a two-hour chat with the farmer about the sheep, especially their long bushy tails," the 61-year-old explains.
"And he told me that in snowy weather and during the birth cycle the breed retains vital vitamins in these tails which can last for three weeks longer than in other breeds of sheep, and that can be vital during a hard winter."
Patrick was also fascinated by the fact that the sheep could survive in the dales of Yorkshire and thought that they would be ideal for the hills of Donegal.
He now runs a flock of some 40 Swaledales on his rented hill farm near Fintown and is "the chairman, vice-chairman and secretary - a one-man show" of the breed's society in Ireland.
Patrick can often be heard spreading the word about his beloved breed along the west coast and over in Wicklow at sheep sales and seminars.
A bachelor - "no rings but still looking" - he took a roundabout route back to sheep farming in his native county, but he always knew he would eventually drop anchor there.