"I could see directly into the island, and I saw a cow. I put two and two together, and realized that that was the missing cow," he says.
"What we think must have happened is that while the cows were drinking from the lake, some of the other cattle pushed her in. She obviously kept swimming in whatever direction she did until she came to the little island."
Carolan alerted his neighbor and volunteered to take his boat out to the island for a better look and to bring hay for the animal to eat. When he arrived to the island, Carolan found the castaway cow looking thin and weary having eaten virtually all the edible plants left on the island - but it turns out she'd been eating for two.
To his surprise, Carolan discovered the cow was in the company of a spry young calf. During her months being stranded, she'd given birth and was dutifully sharing the island's few nutrients with him by way of her life-giving sustaining milk.
"The calf is very, very healthy, jumping around like a young deer there," says Carolan. "But he was wide-eyed, you know, having never seen a human."