FEB 2020

Native Irish Animals

Ireland has many native species of animals, majestic in their own ways. Here are some that you may spot on your Essential Tour of Ireland

Lucy at Milltown House

This is Lucy, a beautiful Barn Owl who lives at Milltown House  🦉 Barn Owls are easy to recognise, with their honey colour on top and very white underneath, heart-shaped face and long legs. They also mate for life unlike other owls. They usually like to live near woodlands and ditches. Their screech was an inspiration for the Banshee in Irish folklore 😲

The Banshee is a fairy woman, dressed in white, who sings or wails about an impending or far away death. Her wailing would be the first warning the household had of the death. Many say that the banshee laments only the descendants of the pure Milesian stock of Ireland, that is the Gaels who sailed to Ireland from Spain after spending hundreds of years travelling the earth. They are erroneously said to include those with O’ and Mac in their surnames and some accounts state that each family has its own banshee.

A curious seal off the coast of the Wild Atlantic Way


The Wild Atlantic Way is rich in small coves and inlets where seals seem to outnumber people. The best way to see Irish seals in their natural habitat is by kayaking, island hopping although it’s best not to get too close 😃 especially when pups are around. They can be playful and curious, rather like marine dogs 

The most common folk-tale was that seals were fairies or mer-folk in an animal disguise, with an intelligence that matched that of humans. They were given many attributes, including that of changing into almost mortal guise to lure humans to their land beneath the sea.

Red deer in Killarney National Park

Red deer

Red deer are Ireland’s largest land mammal and the second largest deer species in Europe after the elk. They are a magnificent sight and can be found in Killarney National Park and in the Phoenix Park in Dublin. They roam freely on the now uninhabited island of Inishvickillane which was bought in 1974 by the then Prime Minister of Ireland Charles Haughey. The red deer were introduced in 1980 when a stag and doe were brought from Killarney National Park by helicopter.

The best times to check them out are in the late Spring for calving and in the Autumn for the Annual “Deer Rut”. If you are patient or lucky you will be able to see great battles between rival Stags and guaranteed to hear the ghost-like sounds around the Lakes of Killarney and the National park.


You are guaranteed to see plenty of sheep on your tour of Ireland. They are speckled across the green landscape like fluffy clouds. Ireland has 3.73 million sheep and 4.83 million people. The sheep are catching up quickly and we may soon be outnumbered 🐑 😂 But is there anything cuter than a baby lamb? On your Essential Ireland Tour you will get to hold a baby lamb and feed one too, if you're lucky 😉

Chief Tour Guide Stephen feeding a baby lamb on the Wild Atlantic Way

Irish Wolfhounds

The Irish Wolfhound is a magnificent dog noted for personal quirks and individualism and most are very gentle with children. it's not uncommon for visitors to Milltown House to see children clambering all over the three Irish Wolfhounds in residence Saoirse, Seamus and Ogie. They guard the house and show loyalty, affection, patience and devotion to the visitors. Their size regularly surprises and amazes 😮🐺

Stephen with Saoirse, Ogie and Seamus

See some amazing native Irish animals on your 2020 Essential Tour of Ireland - some in the wild and some up close and personal just for you 😃

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