The natural world

Using Linked Resources to stimulate ideas, hold a Spectrum Debate on the statement ‘The Wolf Should Be Reintroduced into Ireland’. At the outset students should position themselves along a line between two opposing viewpoints; as arguments are introduced and discussed, they are free to move in either direction.

Arguments in favour of the proposal might include:

  • the wolf belongs here; it is part of our heritage
  • wolves would be beneficial for the natural ecosystem
  • wolves pose little threat to people as they are solitary animals
  • ‘wolf-watching’ would attract tourists

Arguments against the proposal might include:

  • wolves are a danger to livestock and people
  • the habitat in which wolves thrive does not exist in Ireland anymore as a result of changes such as deforestation


A kenning is a compound word or short phrase that acts as a metaphor. Describing a wolf as mac tíre ‘son of the land’ is an example of a kenning.

In Modern Irish, the names of several creatures are kennings, for example:

ceann cait means literally ‘head of a cat’ but is a term for a long-eared owl

muc mhara means literally ‘pig of the sea’ but refers to a porpoise

bás dorcha means literally ‘dark death’ but can mean ‘a bat’

In Old Irish, aershníthid, literally ‘air-spinner’, was a name for a spider


Do members of the class know other kennings in English, Irish or another language? Invent some new kennings for animals, birds or other creatures.


Learning about linocut

Look at the linocut image of the wolf which accompanies this section. Learn about linocut and create your own illustration of a wolf howling at the moon.