Cabragh Wetlands – An Madra Uisce nó Dobharchú – the otter –

Many years ago, in a column similar to this, Brother Daithí Fitzgerald left me aghast as he described the anticipated arrival of men and otter hounds on the banks of the Clodagh river to hunt, capture and kill the most talismatic of all Irish mammals, the otter.

This most elusive mammal was more common here than in most countries in western Europe. Unfortunately, the fur of the otter was highly prized as it is thick, waterproof and extremely hardwearing and so it has been hunted and trapped in Ireland for a very long time.

In 1408, John, son of Dermod, was charged with two otter skins for his rent for the year . In 1430, a passage on the Irish trade with Chester mentions otter skins as one of the products traded while the skin is mentioned as used for muffs, waistcoats, etc.

There are extensive customs records for those

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