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The great wolfdogs of Ireland, Irish Wolfhounds as they are known, have participated in the Greenwich St. Patrick's Day parade. History of the breed originates in antiquity. The Celts brought them to Greece in 273 B.C. and they were sent to Rome to fight in the circus in 391 A.D. In 1336, Edward III of England brought them from Ireland to kill the wolves that were preying on farm animals. The Coat of Arms of the early Irish Kings was made up of the harp, the shamrock and the Irish Wolfhound. Under the later was the caption “gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked.”
In the 19th century, wolves had been eliminated in Ireland and the breed almost became extinct. It owes its survival to the late Captain G. A. Graham who spent most of his time and much of his fortune in judiciously using the best of breeding stock to revive the breed. On the Gettysburg battlefield there is a statue of an Irish Wolfhound watching over the graves of men of the 63rd, 69th and 88th New York Infantry (The Irish Brigade) who died there.
Greenwich Hibernian Association
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