Revival of the Irish Wolfhound

The Irish wolfhound is a persistent symbol of ancient Celtic nobility and integrity. By the middle of the 19th century the original Irish wolfhound had all but disappeared, along with its foe the Irish wolf, and no one really had a clear idea of what it had looked like in its heyday.

Around this time, however, it became the beneficiary of an obsession on the part of an Englishman named Captain George Augustus Graham. Having taken it into his head to resurrect the breed, Graham devoted his life and his considerable resources to the project, and can claim to be the founder of the modern Irish wolfhound.

‘Hounds of the Heroes’
(William J. Dammarell)

Huge hound
Great hound
Gray hound and gaunt
Royally imperial
You tower above taunt.

Comrade of chieftan
Grim dog of war
Your frame has been heralded And hailed from afar.
From Rome of the Caesars
From Spain’s classic bard
You’ve won kingly praises And knightly award.

The elk of old Erin
You brought to his knees
At the roar of your challenge The timber wolf flees.

Yet noble descendant
Of fierce fighting sire
You are playing tonight
With my child by the fire.

Photo: Aella Grace, an Irish wolfhound, with its owner, Rebecca Smyth from Ballymena, at Newgrange. Photo credit: Alan Betson

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