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BBC NI doc Wolfland and the Irish wolf


Schomberg

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Anyone else see this?
BBC iPlayer - Wolfland: Episode 1

Done in Irish but still pretty good. A lot of stuff I didn't know, like f.ex the correlation with European warrior wolf hordes in early Irish society. Thought they could have done it more as a nature documentary though. Still none the wiser as to where the main concentration of wolves existed, how local populations protected live stock from them etc. The wolfhound, for instance, who bred that animal? The man from the RIA was interesting showing dog and wolf skulls found in caves arund Ireland in the early 20th century. Did learn the last wolf was killed somewhere near Carlow in the late 18th century.

Anyway towards the end they touched on the idea of reintroducing the wolf into Ireland, like they did in Germany and some other places but due to the size of the island, our wide open spaces for farming it doesn't seem suitable for a large predator like the wolf. Wolves rarely attack humans, or at least healthy wolves (i.e. ones not infected with rabies) but no doubt they'd be opportunistic attacks on sheep and cattle which would have the phones of Liveline red hot within weeks with furious farmers in Co. meath. Still though, the idea is appealing and there's a lot of countries with "dangerous" animals living in close proximity with humans and agriculture. Not much happening the barren west...
 

LamportsEdge

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I had heard somewhere, perhaps urban legend, that the last wolf was hunted down and killed in Ireland as late as 1912..?

Can anyone confirm? I would have thought it very difficult given the longstanding view of some farmers that all possible predators should be wiped out- even rare eagles.

This is not intended as a pop at farmers, many of whom are actually much broader minded than the narrow band of those who feel everything should be swept away for commercial farming, by the way. The thing is we have very little space and where wolves would thrive would be in hills, mountains, forest of which we now have relatively little.

I would like to think we could have wolves again but would fear for the reaction among hill-farmers.

The Pyrenees and the Rocky Mountain states have enough room for national parks big enough to allow the wolf space to live but we do not, unfortunately.
 

Schomberg

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I had heard somewhere, perhaps urban legend, that the last wolf was hunted down and killed in Ireland as late as 1912..?

Can anyone confirm?
I think that was down to an article in The Spectator Magazine tht suggested there was still remote pockets of wolves left roaming the countryside in the west. There isn't any evidence for it though.

The funny thing in the doc was that until the early 20th century in rural parts of Ireland, during funerals they would still put the coffin down on the ground at intervals because they believed they could fool wolves who they figured were digging up the dead to feast on them. So even 200 years after the last wolf was killed in Ireland, people still clung to those superstitions.
 

Seanie Lemass

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The last wolf was killed in 1786 on Mount Leinster. Sad to think that was the last of them. Imagine being the last survivor of your kind? There is a stuffed wolf in the National Museum which I always thought was the one killed. Must pay a visit again.


Surprisingly perhaps, Irish wolves survived their Scottish cousins by a century although there is a great story that a wolf was seen in Scotland in 1888.

http://lastwolf.net/9.html
 
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Schomberg

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The last wolf was killed in 1786 on Mount Leinster. Sad to think that was the last of them. Imagine being the last survivor of your kind?
Indeed, it's pretty shocking to think how quickly they were wiped out. The man from the RIA suggested there was a problem with rabies in the wolf population during the 17th century which would have hastened the fear and subsequent cull of the wolf population due to a lot of attacks on humans. That and the price of wolf skins which seem to have become a bit of a fashion item.
 

eoghanacht

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Typical fvking Orange man.

Done in Irish but still pretty good

It was on RTE before the BBC showed it but you couldn't bring yerself to watch it on good aul Raidió Teilifís Éireann.

:lol:


Fascinating stuff, hard to believe there were an estimated 20k wolves in Ireland in the 16th /17th until the cruel saxon came and murdered them all :lol:

Only joking fascinating stuff.

They were known to the natives as Mac an Tír.

Highly recommend you watch this.
 

Riadach

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How long could a nature documentary on an extinct animal have lasted?
 

eoghanacht

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Indeed, it's pretty shocking to think how quickly they were wiped out. The man from the RIA suggested there was a problem with rabies in the wolf population during the 17th century which would have hastened the fear and subsequent cull of the wolf population due to a lot of attacks on humans. That and the price of wolf skins which seem to have become a bit of a fashion item.

Were you watching the same programme as I was?

He mentioned rabies in passing but he also said that a healthy wolf would never attack a healthy human. With the arrival of the new settlers the wolfs habitat was encroached upon and wolves came into conflict with the settlers.

The wolves were there first not bothering anyone.
 

eoghanacht

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How long could a nature documentary on an extinct animal have lasted?
Two half hour shows Riadach most of it's contents you'd probably be more familiar with the story but you might still enjoy it.

For instance you got the same price for the head of an Irishman as you did for the carcass of a adult male wolf.
 

Seanie Lemass

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Were you watching the same programme as I was?

He mentioned rabies in passing but he also said that a healthy wolf would never attack a healthy human. With the arrival of the new settlers the wolfs habitat was encroached upon and wolves came into conflict with the settlers.

The wolves were there first not bothering anyone.

Starving and rabid wolves will attack humans but in general they avoid contact and will hide on people which is why it is often difficult to know, as in Ifor's example from Poland, exactly where they are unless they are hunting and killing farm animals.
 

Riadach

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Two half hour shows Riadach most of it's contents you'd probably be more familiar with the story but you might still enjoy it.

For instance you got the same price for the head of an Irishman as you did for the carcass of a adult male wolf.
No, I mean Schomberg's suggestion that it should have been done as a nature documentary. I've seen the first part of the series, may have neglected to record the second though.
 

eoghanacht

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Starving and rabid wolves will attack humans but in general they avoid contact and will hide on people which is why it is often difficult to know, as in Ifor's example from Poland, exactly where they are unless they are hunting and killing farm animals.
That doesn't contradict anything I said, Schom was trying to paint this as the wolves just decided one day to launch a genocide against the natives and the settlers which is wrong.

Conflict arose when the settlers began clearing the wolves habitat for farming.
 

eoghanacht

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Also for anyone interested there is a new programme on UTV at 8 'Ulster Unearted'.
 

Jacobite

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I think I recall once reading an article that one of the last wolves in Ireland was supposed to have been hunted down in an area near the Cave Hill above Belfast in Co Antrim. Anyone ever hear this story?
 

Riadach

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diaspora-mick

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Fascinating stuff, hard to believe there were an estimated 20k wolves in Ireland in the 16th /17th until the cruel saxon came and murdered them all :lol:
Many a true word spoken in jest ...

"Although the Irish hunted wolves, it is evident from the documentary data that they did not see the need to exterminate the wolves. They perceived them as a natural part of the landscape, although wolves were still a threat, and were usually associated with evil .... It is also claimed that the Irish kept them as pets or familiars ....
The newly arrived English settlers in Ireland were probably horrified at finding that there was a significant wolf population in Ireland in the 1600s, in fact, one of the nicknames used for Ireland at this time was wolf-land.
Along with the rebel Irish the settlers viewed the wolves as vermin and a significant threat to the English society they were trying to recreate in Ireland, and should be exterminated as quickly as possible."


http://www.ucd.ie/gsi/pdf/33-2/lupus.pdf
 

b.a. baracus

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Their demise was undoubtedly hastened by the bounties paid for wolf skins by our then overlords. The bounties were very generous for the time.
 

brindin

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I think I recall once reading an article that one of the last wolves in Ireland was supposed to have been hunted down in an area near the Cave Hill above Belfast in Co Antrim. Anyone ever hear this story?
I lived for a while in Legoniel, in north Belfast, near enough to the Cave Hill. The street was called Wolfhill Ave, as one of the last wolves in Ireland was said to have been killed in that area.
 
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