So central to the economy of Britain and Ireland was the cow in early times that it was considered a unit of currency. In Ireland, for instance, a slave-woman was worth three cows. Lords were called ‘bo-aire’ or cow-lord. Until the last two hundred years, drovers’ roads were the main routes across country and , anciently, the two halves of the Celtic year were determined by the movement of cattle: Beltaine marking their coming into summer pasture and Samhain being the time when winter-slaughter of cattle was undertaken, to lay down stocks of meat against the long cold time and to conserve the strength of the herd. The cow was considered to be under the special protection of Saint Brigit, who was invoked to keep the beasts in good health and to promote their milk-yield and fertility. The bleached hide of cows made the vellum upon which the very stories in this present book were originally recorded by clerics. The cow is also under the protection of Saint Colomba who would, however, not allow any on Iona because ‘where a cow is, there a woman is also, and where a woman is, trouble follows.’

The cow appears frequently in Celtic mythology as a provider of nourishment for entire communities, like the magic cows of Manannan, one speckled, one dun, with twisted horns, who were always in milk. The chthonic cow is depicted as red with white ears, and there are otherworld cows which emerge from under the waters of a lake and numerous cows connected with otherworld beings, with magic and supernatural powers. The WELSH TRIADS refer to sacred otherworld cows and to the Three Prominent Cows of the Island of Britain.Feminine symbol of both Moon and the Earth. Egyptian Moon Goddesses
connected with the cow were Isis, Hathor, Neith, amongst others.