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St. Patrick’s Day And The Animal Life Of Ireland

By Chris Taylor Friday, March 17, 2017

Today is St. Patrick’s day and because of that I thought it would be fitting to take a look at the animals of Ireland. Before we do that, let’s take a look at St. Patrick. Magonius Sucatus Patricius was a British man kidnapped by Irish raiders when he was 16 years old. He was in captivity when he converted to Christianity. He escaped from his captors and 15 years later he came back to spread the gospel in Ireland.

He is largely credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. He created the Celtic Cross and in the end was regarded as an all around great guy. Well how did the legend of St. Patrick become to be one of driving snakes off of the island? Well it has been theorized that this was a metaphor for doing away with pagan or “snake” religions.

Now that we have who out of the way, what animals are actually indigenous to Ireland? Well of course there’s the Irish Setter which up to 150 years ago was white and red, not solid red. Then of course there are Galway sheep and the Glen of Imaal Terrier. The Irish Hare and the Connemara Pony which is one of the largest ponies in the world.

As far as predators go there are no wolves or bears and no mountain lions so in that respect the things that we seek to avoid in the American Wilderness are quite different in Ireland. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t any peril there though. Cattle contribute to one of the leading causes of death in Ireland. Getting trampled by an agitated bovine will make you forget the fact that it probably doesn’t have horns.

Other animals can be challenging as there are a lot of feral cats; a mad cat or dog can be an issue. If you are on the beach and the wind is coming inland, a Portuguese Man O’ War might be in the tide. Don’t splash the water from a dock if you see a seal in the water. your hand might look like a bass or something and they have teeth. There is also one larger cat on the island pumas and what not.

Beyond basic bees and wasps Ireland is also home to the dreaded False Widow Spider. While it isn’t a killer, its bite can cause the need for a limb amputation. Mind you we are talking about a spider the size of a domestic house mouse.

You know what, that’s what St. Patrick could come back and drive out, the False Widow Spider! Corned Beef sandwich anyone? See you next week!

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