What is the National Animal of Ireland?

A national animal, similar to other state symbols, has a symbolic meaning and it also represents the country. When coming to this, Ireland isn’t any exception. However, as there wasn’t any partition until 1922 a lot of national symbols represented Ireland period prior to the division took place. With many species going extinct and unclear decision on the national symbols many people still don’t know what is the national animal of Ireland?  

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Current National Animal of Ireland 

The red deer serves as a great national symbol and the national animal of Ireland. Although the red deer’s color is red during the summers their skin goes through a certain change during winters and it also becomes greyish brown in color.

Through their huge antlers, the stags easily get identified. The woodland hinds red deer (females) are able to breed 16 months.

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Their mating season is known as the rut, and it occurs during mid-September while continuing till late October. Normally Hinds provides birth to calves from late May till June. Sometimes twins get born, but it can be extremely rare. In a rut, stags can go aggressive and violent, and produce throaty and distinctive roar noise. Typically the gestation time is about 233 days. 

Irish red deer
Irish red deer

The deer grows and reaches a height of more than 130 cm and it can weigh more than 190kg. The female weighs around 70-120kg. Red deer has an average lifespan which is about 18 years.

Red deers mostly live in savannas, grasslands, and open fields. They can communicate through smell and hearing. Their vocal communication can also include snorting, growling, and grunting. In short, deer getting recognized as the national animal of Ireland would be a new nation’s pride. 

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The Red Deer 

  • Commonly known as: Red Deer 
  • Animal Type: Mammal 
  • Species: Cervus elaphus 
  • Weight: Male: 190 kg, Female: 120 kg 
  • Size (H): Female: 100 to 120 cm, Male: 105 – 135 cm till shoulder 
  • Life Span: Around 15 to 18 years 
  • Color: Red 
  • Top Speed: 70km/h (43.5mph) 
  • Diet: Graze and Herbivore 
  • Habitat: Tree cover region, Woodland 
  • Skin Type: Hair 
  • Favorite Food: Tree Shrubs and Grass 
  • Main Prey: Wolves, Lynx, Bear 

Ireland’s National Bird 

Northern lapwing
Northern lapwing

In 1990, the Wildlife conservancy of Ireland decided and declared the bird northern lapwing as the Republic of Ireland’s National Bird, while Eurasian oystercatcher acted like the national bird for Northern Ireland. The decision was put up in the year 1961 unofficially albeit.

Various birds were put forward as suitable candidates for the national bird position. All these birds involve different species like the Eurasian curlew, common swift, Bohemian waxwing, northern pintail, peregrine falcon, etc. 

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National Dog Breed of Ireland

The Republic of Ireland also has a dog as a national animal with the dog breed of Irish wolfhound holding the position. Although the Irish wolfhound is the National dog breed many people have supported the idea, with the proposal for a substitute as the Kerry blue terrier. 

National Fish 

Northern pike
Northern pike

Ireland is home to diverse forms of aquatic life, and Ireland’s National fish is the famous Northern pike. The freshwater fish pike has been known as the national fish of the Republic of Ireland. These fishes are also known as coarse fishes. The category also has likes of carp, perch, and bream. 

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National Mammal 

While the Red Deer has been known to be the National mammal animal of the Republic of Ireland it is not quite clear as the famous Irish Hare is also treated and thought of as Ireland’s National animal. It must be clear the real idea for the national animal wasn’t the Irish hare.

Initially, Irish elk isn’t what has been defined as a national animal, the iconic mammal was found in entire Northern Europe. As the mammal is no longer found in the country, the next possible option for the spot of the national animal of Ireland was the antelope red deer.

A few people also consider red deer as the national animal. It also comes under the extinct species as the animal population is minimized to a point where a deer conservation project came into existence for the protection of the species.  


While mountain hare was agreed as the national animal in Ireland the red deer was later declared as the national animal. The animal was quite unique to Ireland and wasn’t found in other places. Despite the position of importance, the subspecies got a gradual decline.

The total number of Irish mountain hares is drastically lessening making it a topic of concern for many Irish citizens who love them.