4x18 relief carved Celtic hound tile
In ancient Ireland the 'great Irish hound' known today as the Irish wolf hound was held in such high esteem battles were fought over them and the laws of the day permitted only Kings and nobles to own them. Often adorned in collars and chains of precious metals, Wolf hounds were frequently given as presents to people of importance. Though mainly kept for guarding property and herds as well as hunting, there are many stories of the bravery and ferocity of these colossal hounds in battle. The greatest Chief of the Fianna, who's soldiers fought on foot side by side with their dogs, was reputed to own over 400 hounds. Today Irish wolf hounds have a much different reputation being often refered to as 'Gentle Giants.'