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Hound of Culann

About the Hounds

Many Celtic myths and legends include mentions of hounds. The most famous involves the Celtic hero Cú Chulainn who killed a blacksmith’s Celtic hound in self-defense. When Culann, the blacksmith asked who would now guard his shop the young Cú Chulainn offered to take the dog’s place thus gaining himself the title of ‘The hound of Culann’. The offer was turned down but the nickname stuck. Other famous Irish hounds were Bran and Sceolan who belonged to the warrior, Fionn mac Cumhaill. Their mother was Tuiren, aunt of Fionn Mac Cumhaill, who had been transformed into a hound by the Sidhe or fairies. In Welsh mythology, Gwyn ap Nudd was the ruler of Annwn, the Underworld, who lead a pack of supernatural hounds while escorting souls to the otherworld and were called the Cŵn Annwn or Hounds of Annwn.

In the ancient Irish illuminated manuscript known as the Book of Kells, Irish wolfhounds are seen drawn and embellished on the bottom of text pages, it is said the hounds guard the words and keep them from falling from the pages. Hounds such as the Irish Wolfhound guarded the grounds of the high kings of Ireland, and to this today are seen as a symbols of guidance and protection.