Ireland's favourite soldier, Irish Wolfhound Brian Boru X, has passed away

The infamous Brian Boru, the Royal Irish Regiment Mascot,  known as Conrí, Wolf King and friend to all, has passed away aged 8
-Credit: (Image: Royal Irish Regiment)

The famous regimental mascot of the Royal Irish Regiment, Brian Boru X has died aged eight.

The Irish Wolfhound, who led the soldiers of the 1st and 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Regiment from the front with his with his handler, Wolfhound Major Robert Moore, was himself a serving soldier with ID card and security clearance.

And his death on Saturday, July 6, has left his fellow soldiers their hearts at half mast for the lad they called Conrí, for Wolf King.

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Weighing over 12 stones and standing 6ft 3ins, he was able to jump 7ft 2ins but this soldier, who did not like the rain and slept in his handler's family kitchen, liked to have the cooker light at night because he was a little afraid of the dark.

Like many large dog breeds, Irish Wolfhounds tend to have a relatively short lifespan and Conrí, who passed away aged eight years and six months, was considered elderly.

Conrí was last seen in April at the Passing Out Parade at The Army Training Unit NI in Ballykinler in his full regalia and a short time later, on Monday, July 8, the Royal Irish Regiment announced his passing at the weekend.

During his time the Royal Irish, Wolfhound Major Moore said he the big dog was a favourite friend and mood enhancer, and said: “We all love him. There’s just something about this big dog that makes people smile. Without him I’d have left the army.”

A spokesperson said: "It is The Regiment's sad duty to report that Brian Boru X, affectionately known as Conrí, died on Saturday 6 July 2024. Conrí has been the Regimental Mascot since May 2016."

Ranger Moore had explained how having Conrí in his life, changed his career path. He said: “I’d always had big dogs in my life so the chance to look after the new mascot Wolfhound was just too good an opportunity to turn down. I applied for the post, got the promotion and Conri has changed everything.

“He was born on January 11, 2016 at Nutstown Irish Wolfhounds, north of Dublin and made his first appearance with the regiment was at Old Soldiers’ Day on June 4, 2016, the second anniversary of the death of Brian Boru IX - Finn.

“I’d got him when he was about four months old and he had been living a family pack life so we had to start the training right away.

“He took to Army life well and knew the routines inside out. We trained every day but when I put on my No1 uniform and he had his on, something changed in us both. We both walk two inches taller. He picked up on the atmosphere, he loved it.

“If he needed to go to the loo while we were on parade we had it down to a look from him, or he'd head-butt me in the thigh and we'd step out.

“He knew how to behave in all circumstances we put him in and I believe, out of all the regiments, we at the Royal Irish have the best mascot in the British Army in Conrí.

“But he’s also a good down-time pet too. He's been spirited and a bit mad at times and just loved my daughter. He’s a sight hound which means his instinct was to hunt and kill, but most of his hunting is the counter tops in the kitchen which are just the right height for him."

The soldier is the first Wolfhound Major to complete the Patrol Dog Handlers’ Course and the Kennel Managers’ Course in the British Army and the pair were recently awarded the first Welfare Award.

He said: “My career took a completely different turn when Conrí moved into my regiment, my home and my heart.

“He’s been my best mate and constant companion. When he is retired, thankfully I’ll be given the first chance to keep him. I’d never be parted from him. We're in this together - for life.”

Brian Boru’s daily routine included sofa surfing

  • 6.30am wake

  • 7am feed

  • 30 minute break for digestion

  • 15 minute toileting break

  • 8.30am barracks work

  • Short walk

  • 10am running and time in 60ft run and shed

  • 20 min play

  • 45 min lead work

  • Continued training throughout the day followed by sofa surfing.

Brian Boru had :

  • A British Army identity card with his photo and official staff number under the name ‘B Boru X’.

  • Two uniforms including his camouflage coat and the No1 piper green cape with silver braid lead and sterling silver breast plate brooch at the neck of the coat. The brooch was designed and made in 2016 to Regimental specification by Graham Harron, a silversmith in Killyleagh, Co Down. To complete the ceremonial dress, Conri has a choice of dark brown leather collars, one displaying the Regimental cap badge, the other with his name engraved on a silver plate.

History of the Brian Boru Wolfhounds

  • 1971: Shortly after the 2nd Battalion The Royal Irish Rangers returned from Gibraltar to Watchet, Major Alistair Hayes marked his retirement by presenting the Battalion with an Irish wolfhound. The dog was named Brian Boru after the High King of Ireland. The dog’s first handler was Lance Corporal ‘Tip’ Norris.

  • 1974: He moved with the Battalion moved to West Germany and was later posted to the Depot in Ballymena.

  • 1977: Brian Boru I was pensioned off and lived out his days on a farm in Wexford.

  • 1977: Brain Boru II was purchased from a breeder in Whitehead, Co Antrim but he never took to life with the military. He went AWOL from the Depot and was never seen again. A nationwide search failed to find him.

  • 1980: Brian Boru III - known as Shane - joined the soldiers in Ballymena, employed mainly with the Regimental Recruiting Team. He died in 1984.

  • 1984: Brian Boru IV was a two and a half year-old bitch called Kelly. She was the gift of a local Co Antrim family and although smaller than any of her predecessors, she soon settled into the military way of life.

  • 1989: Brian Boru V, called Tallow, was also a bitch and was donated to the regiment by Tullygirvan Kennels in Bangor, Co Down and played a prominent role in the Tercentenary Celebrations.

  • Research is ongoing in knowledge of mascots between Brian Boru V and VIII.

  • Brian Boru VII however was known as Victor. Brian Boru VIII was Merlin Brian Boru IX was Finn. Merlin and Finnwere kept as pets with the 1st Battalion by Major Hughie Benson.

  • 2011: Brian Boru IX was born at Driftcot Kennels in Cambridgeshire, England. He died of a heart attack on 4 July 2014 aged only three years.

  • 2015: the Regiment took a decision to find its Regimental mascot exclusively from the island of Ireland.

  • 2016: Brian Boru X, pet name Conrí, meaning Wolf King, was born on 11 January Nutstown Irish Wolfhounds, north of Dublin. His kennel name is Ronan of Nutstown and he was received by the army in May 2016 after almost two years without a Regimental mascot. Brian Boru X’s first appearance with the Regiment was at Old Soldiers’ Day on June, 4, 2016, the second anniversary of the death of his predecessor, Brian Boru IX (Finn).

Brian Boru X was named after the King of Munster and High King of Ireland, his pet name is Conrí, meaning Wolf King.

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