The donkey is an integral part of the Irish landscape and tradition. This new, enlarged edition of a book originally published in 1969 traces the evolution of the species from its origins in Africa and central Asia to its arrival in Ireland in the early mediaeval period, and the multiple uses to which it was put in transport and agriculture. The life of the donkey is described with tender insight drawn from the author's own experiences, from breeding to welfare, whether as pets or beasts of burden. Its afterlife in literature, folklore and mythology is evoked by James Stephens, Rev. J.P. Mahaffy, R.L. Stevenson, G.K. Chesterton, Patricia Lynch, Patrick Kavanagh and others. The ass in the Bible, its cousin the mule and its relatives abroad also find a place, ranging from Somalia, Kenya, Iran and Andalusia to Kentucky and New Orleans, concluding with the legendary donkey of the 1915-16 Gallipoli Campaign. Photographs by the author and by Bill Doyle, with a select bibliography, make up this popular history of one of Ireland's most beloved animals.