So What is the National Dog of Ireland?
I should point out that I am not really a “dog” person. I am a “cat” person. The current FitzjamesCat is Keano (13) a black male (well he was a male).
But we now have a resident black labrador/collie. FitzjamesDog is Smokey who is 7 years old.
FitzjamesCat and FitzjamesDog rarely see each other and do not particuarly like each other.
While I have usually little time for Dogs…too much hard work. I am tempted to be a dog owner. So I am trying to think of a breed that my reflects my personality and political outlook.
So we are talking about an Irish Wolfhound, Irish Setter, Irish Terrier, Glen of Imaal Terrier or Kerry Blue (Irish Blue).
The Wolfhound is NOT the National Dog. I was at the funeral of a leading IRSP (Irish Republican Socialist Party) member about twelve years ago. At St Peters Cathedral and Milltown Cemetry in Belfast, one of the leading mourners was his Irish Wolfhound.
I wondered if the leading politician in the congregation, Tony Gregory TD was thinking that the Wolfhound is not exactly a Socialist kinda dog. It is the dog of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy…and only a millionaire could afford one. A Wolfhound has the advantage of being very unlikely to bite children. And the disadvantage of be-friending home invaders.
I like the look of the Irish Setter. Elegant…handsome even. As indeed am I. I do live near Lough Neagh and no doubt a Setter would like that. But deep down I distrust people (and dogs!) who know how to swim.
Irish Terrier…well I like that but the Terrier is at heart a working dog. And no real member of the FitzjamesHorse family has ever done an honest days work in his/her life. And I am not going to be judged by a Dog!
Glen of Imaal Terrier…I amm not convinced its an Irish breed. Elizabethan mercenaries brought its forerunner to Wicklow. The Glen of Imaal Terrier is actually a West Briton. I would not feed a mongrel like them. But at least a visit to the vet would ensure they dont breed.
Which leaves the Kerry Blue.
“It takes a fightin’ man to own a fightin’ dog”.
But the Kerry Blue has a bad reputation.
The bark is worse than the bite maybe?
And it has a political pedigree.
Michael Collins had a prize-winning Kerry Blue called “Convict 224”.
But is the Kerry Blue a “republican” dog or is it literally a “Blue Shirt”?
A delicate political choice but I opt for the Kerry Blue.
The only FitzjamesHorse family member who was a dog owner was Uncle Jackie.
The dog was called Pluto. A clever dog he could find his way from his house in the Lower Falls to my Grannys House at Beechmount…a distance of about a mile.
Actually a very clever dog…because he went by bus.
His name was officially “Pluto” but my Granny called him “Leather Arse”…which my father thought was a very bad example to my pre-school self.
But I am with Michael Collins and my Granny…a Kerry Blue called Leather Arse.
And a big shout out to “Apollo” the other FJH labrador, living with #2 Son and Daughter-in-Law.