Animals in Celtic Designs

The flight of birds is considered a bridge between the worlds (this world, earth, and water). Birds are also viewed as symbols of message bearers.

The bull symbolizes strong will.

Common Tiger Butterfly on Yellow Flower in Phuket Thailand
The butterfly spans many cultures as a symbol of transformation, inspiration, and rebirth.

The cat represents the guardian of the otherworld.

The dog symbolizes loyalty and the strong bond of companionship felt between human and animal. Also to be considered good luck, the symbol of the dog was commonly found in Celtic art and decor.

The dolphin became a symbol of frienship, good luck, and intelligence. The appearance of the dolphins off the coast of Ireland urged the Celts to contemplate the sea, which was an unknown universe.

The dragon is a guardian of treasures. The Celtic dragon is also traditionally associated with military matters. It stands for armed forces and sometimes even becomes a hero.

The Celtic symbolism of the goose deals witho ur own migratory and transitory nature. The goose is also a strong symbol of hearth and home, returning to the same place each spring, so the symbol was displaced to encourage the safe return of the Celtic warrior.

Griffins (Part eagle and part lion) are the guardians and protectors of life. They remain loyal to their protection in the afterlife.

The salmon are associated with wisdom and prophesy.

Snakes are seen in Celtic symbolism as a multifaceted symbol that represents fertility, creation, and healing.

If you want me to go into more detail about any of these animals, or any animals not included, please comment!


Irish Stoat

The stoat is one of the fiercest predators and is active by day and by night; it relentlessly tracks its prey by scent, and apparently it licks the blood off its prey’s fur leading to the old wives tale that it sucks blood. The victim is killed by pouncing on it and biting deeply into the back of the neck near the base of the skull. It was virtually driven to extinction in the 1950s when myxomatosis was introduced, as rabbits are its main source of prey. It was only the fact that stoats eat many other types of prey, even insects, that it was able to survive. A stoat’s hunting ground is usually about 50 acres although it can be more if prey is scarce. Its den is a rock crevice or a disused rabbit burrow and it normally lives alone. In winter, the coat of the stoat turns white all except for the tip of its tail which is black. In Northern Scotland, the change is complete. However, in England and Ireland, the fur remains creamy with white under parts. Stoats don’t like to be out in the open and so tend to hunt along ditches, hedgerows, and walls or through meadows and marshes. They search each likely area systematically, often running in a zigzag pattern. Although protected in Eire, they are not protected in the rest of the United Kingdom. They eyes of the young or kittens do not open until they are about a month old and they are covered in fine white fur with it being thicker at the scruff of the neck so that the mother can carry them without her teeth penetrating the skin.


– Omnivore
– Excellent and Acrobatic Fliers
– Scavengers
– Typically Vocalize with a Croaking Sound

– If ravens leave the Tower of London, the fortress and the British Kingdom will fall
– Raven is associated with water
– Raven is the protector and teacher of seers and clairvoyants
– Ravens facing the direction of a clouded sun foretell hot weather
– If you see a raven preening, rain is on the way
– Ravens flying toward each other signify an omen of war
– A raven tapping on a window foretold of death

– Solitude
– Gratitude
– Affection
– Wisdom
– Hope
– Longevity
– Death
– Fertility
– Mystery


– Carnivore
– Spine-tingling howl
– Largest member of the dog family
– Almost never attacks humans

– Werewolves were protectors
– Wolf talismans ward off evil

To understand wolf symbols, one must first understand the heart of the wolf. This takes time because wolves have had to endure many false stereotypes, misconceptions, and misunderstandings. Not at all the picture of ferocity or terror, the wolf is a creature with a high sense of loyalty and strength. Another misconception is that “lone wolf”. To the contrary, the wolf is actually a social creature, friendly, and gregarious with its counterparts. The wolf is an incredible communicator. By using touch, body movements, eye contact, as well as many complex vocal expressions- the wolf makes his point understood. Wolves are the symbol of:
– Loyalty
– Communication
– Intelligence
– Cunning
– Friendliness
– Generosity
– Compassionate

Wolfe symbols belong to those who truly understand the depth of passion that belongs to this noble creature. The wolf is representative of deep faith and profound understanding. Further, the wolf possesses a high intellect and have been observed using strategies about hunting, habitat, and migration. The wolf symbolized learning and deep intuition.

The Last Wolf of Ireland
The last wolf was killed in Co. Carlow in 1786. It was estimated that up to the 16th century there were over 1,000 wolves in the country. The large amount of wilderness, at the time, allowed them to roam with minimum contact with humans. However, from the 17th century on, deforestation became more common and wolf packs came more in contact with people, resulting in a rapid and alarming cull, until the last wolf was killed near Mt. Leinster in Co. Carlow after killing a farmer’s sheep.

Folklore of Trees

There has always been a strong association in the Glens between the Hawthorn trees and the Faeries. Small, gnarled Hawthorns, often of great age, survive on slops in the fields where other obstructions to the plough have long since been removed. Stories abound of the misfortunes that have befallen those foolish enough to cut down a ‘skeoch’, as they are known. Twigs of hazel are noted for providing protection against mischievous fairies. Alder, on the other hand is feared for harboring water spirits and the ash is said to be the first tree lightning will strike, and should be avoided in a storm.