Ireland Graveyards, 2010

Sherwood Harrington

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Fury, Portumna Castle


Fury (1786 - 1797)

Portumna Castle's ground floor includes this glass-case display of a small dog's skeleton.

The interpretive sign by the remains quote the family's inscription on the dog's gravestone:

This Stone is erected to the Memory
of a much lamented Animal
Who with a beauteous form possessed
Those Qualities which are esteemed
most valuable in the Human Species:
Fidelity and Gratitude.
And Dying April 20th 1797 aged 11 Years
was Interred near this Place.
Alas! poor Fury.
She was a Dog, Take her for All in All
Eye shall not look upon her like again.

That sign concludes, under a photo of the excavation of Fury's bones:

"Local tradition has it that Fury was asleep on the grass underneath one of the windows of the castle when a young lady of the house, while watching Fury below, fell from the window. The young lady landed on the dog breaking its back which resulted in the dog's death. The dog, which saved her life, broke the young lady's fall and in gratitude the family first placed this plaque on Fury's grave.

"As the photographs here show, the excavations that were undertaken in 1998 revealed Fury's grave. The presence of nails in each corner of the gravesite indicates that she was buried in a coffin. The type and size of the skeleton leads us to believe that the dog was a Whippet and the position of the spine would seem to suggest that it died of a broken back."