Irish Wolfhound Times
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Irish Miscellany Magazine (Boston, USA) 1858.
National Emblems - Irish Wolfdog

National Emblems
Irish Wolfhound Times illustration Miscellany Magazine (Boston, USA) 1858.  National Emblems - Irish Wolfdog

Our readers will perceive that our engraving is much larger than the original, and while we have improved in artistic execution, we have faithfully preserved the historical correctness of the original. Our artists are young Irish gentlemen of great promise who feel that love of art which transcends all mere mechanical executions; they are inspired in their efforts in our behalf, with that love of old memories and old familiar scenes which they will not fail to impress upon their artistic labors. The following letter (extract) which explains the meaning of the emblems accompanies the original engraving


Sir -- Your woodcut is, to my apprehension as full of meaning to an Irishman as any emblematic device I have seen. It represents perculiar marks or tokens of Ireland, which are dear to my soul. I am bold to say the Round Tower, and the Wolf Dog, belong exclusively to our country; not so I allow the Oak or the Shamrock, or the Harp; and, we may add the Crown but Irish Oaks, and Shamrocks, and Harps as well as Irish dogs are known all the world over; and small please to me, if I try to say a little about them!

The round tower to the right, is a prodigious puzzler to antiquarians. Quires of paper as tall as a tower have been covered with as much ink as might form a Liffey, in accounting for their origin and use. They have been assigned to the obscene rites of Paganism-- to the mystic arcaena of Druidism-- said to be temples of the fire worshippers--standing of the pillar worshippers -- Chrisian belfries -- military towers of the Danish invaders -- defensive retreats for the native clergy, from the sudden inroads of the ruthless Norman. But all these clever and erodite conjectures are shosrtly, as I understand, to be completely overthrown, and the real nature of these Round Towers clearly explained for the first time in a prize essay presented to the Royal Irish Academy, by an accomplished antiquarian of our city. Sixty five of these extraordinary constructions have been discovered in our island, of these, the highest and most perfect are at Dromsiskin, Fertagh, Kilmacdugh, Kildare, and Kells -- There are generally the marks of five or six stories in each tower; the doors are from thirteen to twenty feet from the ground, and so low that none can enter except by stooping. The one nearest to Dublin is at Clondalkin four miles from town -- though formerly there was one in a court of Shipstreet. The most interesting one, both in the anqituarian and the love of mountain scenery, is the one at the Seven Churches of Glendalogh, within a days drive of Dublin.

National Emblems Irish Wolfdog
Irish Wolfhound Times illustration Miscellany Magazine (Boston, USA) 1858. National Emblems - Irish Wolfdog

The next of our national peculiarities, is that Wolfdog, which, with paws most contemplatively crossed is looking abroad, and as it were scouting with his keen round eye, fgr the game that, alas poor Lamb! is no longer to be found on hill or currah. Ireland, though it does indeed contain many a ravenous greedy creature, is yet no longer infested with wolves., _Formerly it was not so. So late as the year 1662, Sir John Ponsonby had to bring into Parliament a bill to encourage the killing of wolves. Their coverts were the bogs, the mountains, and those shrubby tracts then so abundant in the island, and which remained after the ancient woods were cut down; affording shelter, not only for the wolf, but the rapparee. The last wolf seen in Ireland was killed in Kerry in 1710. But if our country was thus once famous for wolves, he was equally noted for its peculiar enemy,——the Irish Wolf Dog, uniting all the speed of the greyiound with the strength of the mastiff, and depending on its eye, its foot, and its wind, would hunt down the game, which __the canis vellris, or scent hound, had larted for it. These Irish Dogs were exhibited in the furth century, at the Cirecnsiun games at Rome ; they were an article of export from our isle in the middle ages ; they are mentioned in the Welsh laws of Iowel Dha, as belonging exclusively to the Cambrian princes and nobility ; and a great fine is noted, as to be imposed on those who should injure them. They were employed to hunt the red deer, and the pIatceros or moose deer, as well as the wolf ;--but the employment being gone, the breed, though not extinct, has eased to be common ; it is rarely to be seen, though have marked a certain, grave solemn gentleman, parading through town with a couple of these grim creatures stalking after him, while both he and his dogs looked as if they belonged to an age long gone

Now, the hound is couchant beside a goodly plant. The draughtsman seemed determined that the Shamrock should be as gigantic as the dog. And why should not our favorite plant have a goodly apppearance?

Letter signed by Terence O'toole

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