Gentle giants return to Bunratty Castle

Two Irish wolfhounds made Bunratty Castle and Folk Park their new home, receiving a warm welcome from Bean an Tí Magella Wilson. Photo: Eamon Ward.

IRISH wolfhounds have made their return to Bunratty Castle.

Among the largest of all breeds of dog, Irish wolfhounds have previously been regular guests at Bunratty Castle from the early days of its banquets in the 1960s.

The dogs would roam the great hall and dining areas, as would have been the custom in medieval times at the historic and much-loved County Clare castle.

Now, two new wolfhounds have taken up permanent residence at the castle.

12-week-old Rían (meaning King) and 1-year-old Míde, named after the 5th province of Ireland in Celtic times, will make Bunratty their home, replacing  Meabh and Saoirse, the two previous resident wolfhounds at the castle.

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Breeder James Hussey, of Cúdáráth Irish Wolfhounds, delivered the dogs to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park where they were welcomed by farm manager Niall Moloney.

Aodhagan Behan, Operations Manager at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, said: “Bunratty Castle is the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland, and no 15th century Castle is complete without these iconic and noble dogs.”

“These noble creatures were regular guests at the Bunratty Castle from the early days of the medieval banquets in the 1960s and therefore it is only fitting that they make a welcome return to this iconic fortress in the same year that the castle’s world famous medieval banquets celebrate 60 years in operation,” he added.

Niall Moloney, farm manager at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, explained that Irish wolfhounds have long been known for their gentle nature, describing them as friendly and intelligent.

The farm manager says the wolfhounds inhabited Ireland long before the arrival of Christianity and the written word.

“For many visitors, especially children, the sight of wolfhounds wandering throughout the site is the highlight of their visit. We are grateful to Cúdáráth Irish Wolfhounds for their support and we look forward to hosting Rían and Míde for many years to come,” he concluded.