New Book Tracks the Wolf – Ireland’s Last Great Predator

Oct 26 2011 Posted: 15:09 IST

Two decades of gathering information on wolves by NUI Galway lecturer Kieran Hickey has resulted in a fascinating new book, Wolves in Ireland

In this book, Kieran Hickey examines a vast array of sources relating to wolves in Ireland. The author considers archaeological remains, name evidence (place and person, both in Irish and in English) and folklore. He also provides an account of wolf attacks on livestock, and more rarely people, and describes how the extermination of wolves took place. The last wolf was killed, most likely in 1786. 

According to NUI Galway’s Kieran Hickey: “An iconic symbol of the untamed and wild, the wolf, as Ireland’s last great predator, has always provoked, fear, excitement and wonder. This book explores all aspects of the wolf in Ireland including the archaeological name and folklore evidence, the historical records, its demise and its possible re-introduction.”

The causes of extermination are discussed in detail, including legislation, the role of bounties and professional wolf hunters and deforestation. The book closes by assessing whether the Irish wolf could have been a unique sub-species and considers the controversial possibility of re-introduction.

Kieran Hickey is a lecturer in Geography at NUI Galway and author of Deluge: Ireland’s weather disasters, 2009–2010. He is also a regular media commentator on climate and geography. 

The author will be signing copies of Wolves in Ireland at the book launch in Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop, Middle Street, Galway at 6pm on Thursday, 27 October.

Wolves in Ireland is published by Open Air, an imprint of Four Courts Press, and is available in book stores across the country.



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