Bring on the shamrocks and leprechauns, we’re feeling lucky and seeing green this St. Patrick’s Day. But what better way to do as the Irish do, than to celebrate the Emerald Isle’s wildlife? Meet some of Ireland’s most tough and tireless, cute and cuddly native creatures.
1. Irish Setter
This canine is known for its friendly, playful, and curious nature, making it a good family dog. Irish Setters were originally bred for hunting and are known for their solid red coats. However, some have also been know to have a red and white coloring, which was often more preferred because it was easier to spot in the fields.
2. Galway Sheep
As their name says, this sheep comes from the western part of Galway and is Ireland’s only native sheep breed. The Galway naturally lack horns, making them a good breed for farmers.
3. Irish Hare
Irish hares are herbivores that eat mostly grass, heather, and bilberry. Like all rabbits, this subspecies of the Mountain Hare eats their food twice to get the most out of their low quality diet. The Irish hare is only found in Ireland and lives in open grasslands, moorlands, salt-marshes, and bogs.
4. Connemara Pony
The Connemara pony is named after the Connemara area, a place known for its cliffs and rugged terrain. However, the pony is notable for its genuine bond with humans. Many can remember a voice or a specific person for years, even after being separated. They are usually used for English style riding but can make for good trail and endurance riding.
5. Irish Moiled
The Irish moiled is the only remaining domestic livestock native to Northern Ireland. They are hornless, red in color, and have a distinct white line on their back and sides of their stomach. This cattle breed is medium in size and known for its excellent temperament.
6. Kerry Blue Terrier
The Kerry Blue Terrier is smart, independent, and fit for an active lifestyle. Originally, this breed was used for hunting, herding, and other work chores. Puppies are born with a black coat that matures in color over the years, becoming a blue-gray.
7. Irish Stoat
The Irish stoat belongs to the mustelid family and, up until the 18th century, was mistakenly thought to be a weasel. However, some defining differences are the stoat’s black tip on their tails and longer life span. Weasels live around three years while stoats live for up to ten. The Irish stoat is its own sub-species of stoat, with a whiter stomach and can only be found around Ireland.
8. Kerry Bog Pony
Originating in Ireland, the Kerry Bog Pony is considered a small but sturdy breed. During the 1800s, population numbers dropped due to war, famine, and bad working conditions. However, in 1994, a Mr. John Mulvihill gathered a small herd and helped repopulate the breed.
For more amazing animals, check out natgeowild.com.