The original Celtic Tiger, the Eurasian lynx is a large cat that once roamed Ireland. The European lynx was long thought to have never reached our shores as it was mainly absent from our fossil records. In 1934 a mandible of a young lynx turned up amongst the animal remains excavated from a cave in County Waterford. It was then confirmed that the lynx was in fact a native Irish big cat.

The Irish climate is not ideal for preserving animal remains. If an animal died in the open, the wet climate assists decomposition very well. Wolf and Bear bones are common because they slept and frequently died in caves, Lynx remains however are not so easily found as they live out in the open.

Little is known about the Irish lynx but it is fair to assume that the Lynx was reasonably abundant in the Irish countryside, probably preying on Irish mountain hares. Lynx are big enough and well capable of hunting red deer. Suitable prey would have been abundant.

Lynx survived in the UK until Roman times however there is no written record of them there. They are a very secretive cat so it is difficult to say exactly when the lynx went extinct in Ireland. It is quite possible that they could have survived until early modern times.

Lynx have now returned to our County Donegal forest for the first time in thousands of years.


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