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The Iron Dog From Clare (A Ballad)

by Anne Wafer

Come all you greyhound fanciers
And followers of the hare,
I’ll tell you of a wond’rous hound,
The Iron Dog From Clare,
Parts of him were broken
And parts of him weren’t there,
But he beat two famous champions
Did the Iron Dog From Clare.

His hock he broke in one place,
His tail he broke in two,
His tendons were all swollen up
And his toes were rather few.
He took no heed of injuries,
All over Clare he won.
He went to Tipperary just
To show them how to run.

To Clonmel he was heading
But his owner said, “It’s plain,
He’s getting slow, he must be hurt
He’ll never run again.”
A vet came down from Dublin,
He said, “This dog’s a freak.
I’ll bring him to my surgery
And I’ll cure him in a week.”

He blistered him and twisted him
And cut out parts galore.
He gave him some Australian pills
To stop him getting sore.
He cut all his tendons,
From his stifle took a chip.
He grafted on the tail of a pom
And put in a plastic hip.

He said, “He’ll surely win now
But if you think he can’t
I’ll send him off to England for
A heart and lung transplant.”
This dog came home to County Clare,
He was as good as new.
He killed two cats and fourteen rats
And after hares he flew.

We’re waiting for next season,
We’ll bet on him to win.
We know he is an iron hound
And never will give in.
When other dogs are doting
He’ll still be on the go,
With false teeth and a hearing aid
He’ll make the pups look slow.

And if he should retire to stud
We won’t forget his name,
He’ll breed his pups by test-tube and
They’ll bring their dad more fame.
And when he’s dead, for ever more,
We’ll see a ghostly hare
Being hunted by the phantom of
The Iron Dog from Clare.


Taken from ‘Sticks and Stones’ (1989), pages 9-10.

Anne Wafer