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The following poem was written by Michael Ellis to his “three magnificent and much loved Irish Wolfhounds...Beric, Warwick and Gandalf.

 

AILBE, THE HOUND OF RENOWN

By Michael Ellis

Today I just slumber in the warm sun,                                 Wag my tail and go for a run,                                              And people say, “Is it a dog or a horse?”                               As I stand by my master, obedient of course!

Oh...look into my eyes, can you not see,                       Through the mist of time to Inisfree?                                       In my blood flows the strength to pull a wolf down,           Know you not of ‘Ailbe’, the Hound of Renown?

Owned by Mesroida, the King of Leinster,                         And coveted by the Kings of Connacht and Ulster!                A King’s ransom to buy just one of my breed,                      To own the Hound of such strength and speed!

Six thousand milch cows and a chariot of war,                    And two fine horses to pull it, what’s more,                         The same to be given after a year,                                   Never has there been a sale so dear!

Now Mesroida could not sell the same dog twice,              Only one would have the chance to pay the price.           Would it be the King of Ulster or that of Connacht,            Who would meet the cost of the dog he sought?

Mesroida told both sides that they could each have the beast,   And as the rival factions came face to face at the feast,             Tempers were lost and red blood did spill,                                While laughing Mesroida watched from o’top of a hill.

At the height of the battle, admidst the mayhem,                        The hound sprange to assist the Ulstermen.                               Clash of steel upon steel rang out like a bell,                               The growls of the dog were like the Hound of Hell!

He seized the axe-arm of the Connacht Prince.                           The crush of his teeth made the nobleman wince,                      Clarion call of Retreat sounded clear through the mist,               The Hound and the Ulstermen were too strong to resist.

Horses and chariots raced away o’er the heath,                        While the dog held the Prince in a grip of death!                        The Prince cried for help with all of his might,                            As the Connacht army withdrew in full flight.

A charioteer, with one sweep of his sword,                               Severed the dog’s head with ne’er a word,                               Yet such was the power in the clamp of its teeth,                      That the head gripped the arm from Ballagmoon to Westmeath!

Away cross the river, the spume flying fast,                               With his war-blade he prised the jaws open at last.                    It splashed in the water and with one accord,                            It was known from then after as ‘Hound’s Head Ford’.

Or spoken as ‘Ath Cind Chon’.                                                 Ailbe the Hound of Heroes lives on!                                          My breed has spread from Athens to Rome,                             From the wild Black Sea to green Erin, my home.

I’ve vanquished huge Mastiffs in the Bloody Roman Games,      Protected a child from a ferocious wolf’s aims,                          And you ask me if I am a horse or a dog,                                 I am neither, you fool, can you not see through the fog?             I’m the Great Hound of Ireland, the noblest of breed,               Renowned for my loyalty, love, beauty and speed.

(Inspired by on olde Irish Legend.)

For Your Eyes Only

Irish Wolfhound eyes.....there is something about them that draws a person in.  You will see many paintings and drawings by various artists that often highlight just the eyes.  Thanks to Colleen Ellis, a wolfhound owner herself you can see for yourself.  Just click on the above link ‘For Your Eyes Only’ and sit back and enjoy!

The grave of this famous dog (Gelert) is in a North Wales village called Beddgelert (literally, the Grave of Gelert). Here is Gelert's story in poetry, followed by George Borrow 1854 account in his wonderful "Wild Wales".

Wild Wales

 by George Borrow

Llywelyn during his contests with the English had encamped with a few followers in the valley, and one day departed with his men on an expedition, leaving his infant son in a cradle in his tent, under the care of his hound Gelert, after giving the child its fill of goat's milk. Whilst he was absent a wolf from the neighbouring mountains, in quest of prey, found its way into the tent, and was about to devour the child, when the watchful dog interfered, and after a desperate conflict, in which the tent was torn down, succeeded in destroying the monster. Llywelyn returning at evening found the tent on the ground, and the dog, covered with blood, sitting beside it. Imagining that the blood with which Gelert was besmeared was that of his own son devoured by the animal to whose care he had confided him, Llywelyn in a paroxysm of natural indignation forthwith transfixed the faithful creature with his spear. Scarcely, however, had he done so when his ears were startled by the cry of a child from beneath the fallen tent, and hastily removing the canvas he found the child in its cradle, quite uninjured, and the body of an enormous wolf, frightfully torn and mangled, lying near. His breast was now filled with conflicting emotions, joy for the preservation of his son, and grief for the fate of his dog, to whom he forthwith hastened. The poor animal was not quite dead, but presently expired, in the act of licking his master's hand. Llywelyn mourned over him as over a brother, buried him with funeral honours in the valley, and erected a tomb over him as over a hero. From that time the valley was called Beth Gelert.<BR>

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Here is another lovely poem by Michael Ellis that I have been able to add to my collection with the kind permission of Colleen Ellis.  Thank you again Colleen!

A GIFT FROM THE GODS

By

Michael Ellis

Towards the red setting sun, across the blue sea,                   Lies an Emerald Isle called Inisfree                                               By the grey wind-torn crags and green grassy sods                Is the very last bastion of the old, ancient Gods

Through mists of time at the height of the feast                     The Gods gave the Warlords a wondrous beast                        So tall and proud stood this noble hound                                   That the revellers silenced and uttered no sound

Then the fairies and elves crept out to behold                         The Gift from the Gods, more precious than gold.                  In one magic moment, a new breed was born,                         Then Jack-O-the-green came and blew on his horn

From behind a bush, by a small waterfall,                                  Came a tiny white horse, just six inches tall                              Trotted out to the Hound and you know what is more?       Gave homage to his glory by kissing his paw.

You say “tis not true”, don’t believe what I say?                      Yet the great Irish Wolfhounds are still here today!              And the picture of Warwick in the Forest is plain                    When the tiny white horse came and did it again!

 

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The Irish Wolfhound

In the sea a green gem sits.
Home of hero and of myths
Castles high and stones of old.
By fireside the tales are told.
Of armoured bound and brazen kings.
Of rebles and of freedom sings.
Of all the stories shared around
Greatest of all is of the hound.
The truest treasure in the land.
Stand beside and licks the hand .
Hunts all boar ,wolf and deer.
And has never known of fear.
Strong in head and deep of chest.
Impressive at both stand and rest.
Solid in bone and tail so strong .
Neck is tall and back is long .
Dark brown eyes and ear of rose.
Commanding when he strikes a pose.
Strong of paw and scissor bite.
Built to always win the fight .
Though by the fire he peaceful rest .
Forget not the foe he must best.
Across the land he must run .
In the snow and rain and sun.
The wolf he must always catch .
While still with the strength to dispatch
So listen when the bard do sings
Of the friends of old Celtic kings
In the land of towers round
You will find the Irish hound
.

By Tracey Carroll

 

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