The first Irish Wolfhound was acquired in 1965, from Ms Noreen Twyman (Nendrum Irish Wolfhounds). This was a 10 week old puppy named Ardgour of Nendrum (GB Ch Sanctuary Brave Knight x Ir Ch Corrie of Nendrum), one of a litter of 13, several of which were to become well-known and influential in the breed; Am Ch Annalea of Nendrum (BOB – IWCA 1969), Am Ch Ardmore of Nendrum, Eaglescrag Alice of Nendrum (behind so many of the great Eaglescrags of the 1970’s) and our own Ir Ch Ardgour of Nendrum (BOB IWCI 1969).
A good 35 inch, deep-bodied, sound with a wonderful head, Ardgour (“Bran”) quickly made his mark in the ring, winning his class at Crufts in 1967, BOB under Gen Alfred de Quoy at Bray Ch Show in the same year and BOB & Best Movement at the IW Club of Ireland Club Show 1969. Bran was a great beginning to our career in Wolfhounds and all our subsequent breeding goes back to him.
In 1970, Ballykelly Mary came from Miss Sheelagh Seale, and was bred to Ardgour, which gave us our first litter in 1971. From this combination issued Gulliagh Falcarragh, a strong red-brindle bitch. She was eventually bred to our Ir & GB Ch Carrokeel Coillte Merlin (Crufts CC 1979, BOB 1980), producing Gulliagh Ballykelly Cait. Taken to Eaglescrag Lysander, she produced Ir & GB Ch Gulliagh Galleon. Galleon proved to be a great stud dog. Bred to a Merlin daughter, Culvercroft Alanna, we got Ir & GB Ch Culvercroft Benjamin of Gulliagh (Crufts BOB 1991, An Ch 1988, 1989, 1990) and he also sired, by another Merlin daughter, GB Ch Hydebeck Ballycarrie, GB & Ir Ch Hydebeck Reginald Snuffson (Top winning IW in the UK for 3 years) and Ir Ch Hydebeck Nessa of Gulliagh.
In 1988, we had acquired Whysper of Lainston, a spectacularly moving white bitch with the blackest pigmentation. Bred with Galleon, she produced Gulliagh Harvey, who sired Ir Ch Gulliagh Isolde out of Nessa. Then, in 1991, Ir Ch Gulliagh Nadia was born; she was by Benjamin out of Isolde. Nadia had exceptional type, markedly in head and overall houndy profile. Taken to the outstanding sire, GB Ch Shadow of Kilmara, who, though masculine, carried matching qualities, Nadia produced the 2 sisters, Ir & GB Ch’s Gulliagh Simone and Serendipity. They had exciting show careers while regularly competing against each other; both gained the dual GB/Ir title, and won many Brace competitions. A third sister, Am Ch Gulliagh Sionna went to Mrs Glynis Littlewood (Rosslare) in the United States, where, besides gaining her championship, she was remarkable in retaining the Best Head Cup after three consecutive wins at the Potomac Valley Irish Wolfhound Club Specialty.
By the end of the 1990’s, we were looking for new blood and good type, a combination that did not appear to be available in the British Isles and Europe. But, while judging at the Canadian Irish Wolfhound Specialty in Canada, Timothy had given Winner’s Dog to a young male, Stoneybrook Konjur (ultimately, Am & Can Ch, BOB IWCA), who had exceptional construction combined with size and strength. So, in 2000, we imported his frozen semen, the first to do so in the breed in the British Isles, and successfully produced a litter of 9 from Simone. Four have become Champions, in France, Ch Gulliagh Zephyr (dit Zurian), and within our own kennel, Ir Ch’s Gulliagh Zest, Zamora and Zapata. (the first IW kennel in Ireland to achieve 3 champions owner-bred and -shown) Zest has added the Irish Annual Championship 2003, as well as the FCI International Championship. Next, we went overseas again, to the Netherlands, to Am Ch Maximilian Fionnmaë, and produced a litter of four from Serendipity, keeping the beautiful sisters, Gulliagh Narnia and Nedine and their brother, Niadh.
In February 2003, Zest bred to Nedine produced our Ir Ch Gulliagh Sequoia, who has had a most exceptional show career to date, winning classes at major British and Irish shows including the LKA and Crufts, also gaining a Res. CC. But unfortunately, he damaged and lost the last third of his tail, which has some what limited his showing career.
In 2004, we took him to the Netherlands to the biennial Congress of the Federation of European IW Clubs (EIWC), where he was shown on both days and was the only hound to win his class on each day. In early 2004, we had two litters. Gulliagh Narnia x Am Ch Rossslare’s Sandor, from which we have Gulliagh Jardis, and Ir Ch Gulliagh Zamora x Gulliagh Niadh, which has given us Gulliagh Molly Malone.
In the summer of 2005, we used AI again, this time Ir Ch Gulliagh Zamora x Am Ch Rosslare's Sandor. From that litter, we kept Gulliagh Ginny, Hagrid and Albus. Both Albus and Hagrid have been winning in Ireland and the UK, Albus at just two years of age already has 2 RCCs and in September 2007, he won the CC and RBIS at the IWC of Northern Ireland show, which had the highest entry of any IW specialty ever held in the island of Ireland. The following year, he won BIS at the same show, giving him his GB title, as well as gaining his Irish title.
A year later, in summer 2006, we repeated Zest and Nedine's combination, so giving Sequoia little brothers and sisters. Out of that litter, we have kept Gulliagh Ardtully, Corrig and Barraduff. Ardtully became an Irish Champion, while Corrig emulated, and then in a span of 1 year, in 6 British shows, won 3 RCCs (including IWC and IWCNI) and 3CCs (including Cruft's and IWCNI).
Cúknocklong Henry Higgins (Hal) joined us in 2009, the son of Sequoia and Jill Pole, who we bred and whose owner Padraic O'Neill made into an Irish Champion. He himself has been made up in Ireland, presently stands on 1 CC, and has won Champion Stakes in Ireland and the UK.
In 2010, Aramis was born, the son of World Winner F Ch Chambord Du Grand Chien Cúlann and our Ginny. Aramis is now an Irish Champion and has a number group wins.
That brings us to the present day on our long and happy journey with Irish Wolfhounds. We now have our elder son, Ian, as a partner in the Gulliagh name, which we hope, will continue the road into the far future.
Lastly, we should not forget our other breeds, the occasional Whippet, the Yorkshire Terriers (successfully bred and shown by Marion until 1995, which included the well-known Ir Ch Gulliagh Festival) and currently the Miniature Wire-Haired Dachshunds. In 2004, we collected Candy vom Gesselner Feld from Dieter & Heike Honsalek, leading breeders of Miniature Dachshunds in Germany. Then we imported Nice One from Vitoraz from Jan Busta in the Czech Republic, who became a multi-group winner. Conforming largely to the German Standard, which emphasises hunting ability, we hope to keep the functional element to the fore.
We live on a farm near Dublin Airport, where we usually keep up to 10 Irish Wolfhounds. There is plenty of space for them to gallop, which we regard as one of the essentials of ownership of this great breed. Visitors are very welcome, provided they give appropriate notice by telephone or email.