I googled “life of Reilly” and found this poem, The Tale of Willy Reilly published in 1856, a story well-known in Ireland and probably also to Irish emigrants. Willy Reilly wooed and won a Protestant heiress, Coleen Bawn, the daughter of a Protestant persecutor. Reilly was imprisoned but released because of her testimony. It’s “a tale, founded upon fact” (apparently) and gave rise to many a bawdy song in Ireland - all now sadly gone. Willy Reilly and his Coleen married and emigrated to the States where they lived well enough to bring up several sons. Could this be my Riley?
Before you all start shouting about the obvious, I know the sense of “life of Reilly” in the poem doesn’t match the ease and indolence suggested by the modern phrase, but it’s interesting speculation. Or maybe you don’t think it is. I may stand corrected on this.
Nothing more, however, about Dr Techie’s cow. Trawling through Connecticut livestock magazines to find reports of errant bovines isn’t my preferred way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon.