About Us




Guards Watch Offer


More Features

People, Places & Events



Book Reviews




Turlough Mór (Séamus) – 17th Regimental Mascot of the Irish Guards

In September 2019 the Regimental Adjutant led a small party to the British Embassy in Dublin to mark the formal retirement of Domhnall, the 16th Mascot of the Irish Guards. Domhnall, a generous presentation in October 2012 by the Irish Wolfhound Club of Ireland, became a loyal servant to the Regiment and now enjoys a well-earned retirement having returned to his breeder in Ireland.

With the 1st Battalion resubordinated to 11 Brigade, and not returning to State Ceremonial and Public Duties until early 2022, there seemed plenty of time to find a replacement wolfhound and to have him (always a male hound) fully trained for the return to the Blue Line. That said, no one expected the arrival and impact of Covid-19 on life as we know it, and the effect it would have on the search for a wolfhound puppy. As many dog lovers know, the demand (and price) for puppies soared in Spring 2020 but the impact on the Irish Wolfhound breed was far more profound. Irish Wolfhounds are recognised as among the biggest dog breeds in the world, standing up to 32 inches tall. Unfortunately, the breed suffers from a heart condition known as Dilated Cardiomyopathy which can affect their lifespan with less than 10% of the breed making it to 10 years of age. It is a Kennel Club requirement that all prospective breeding pairs must have a heart scan prior to any mating. Naturally with Covid-19 travel restrictions in place, no heart scans could be conducted consequently, leading to a shortage of the breed.

Several months of international search followed with little success and the worrying prospect of no wolfhound on the Queen’s Birthday Parade in 2022. However, thanks to Radio HP, the brainchild of Nigel Haddon-Paton formerly The Blues and Royals, a connection to a breeder was made. Cutting a long (almost shaggy-dog) story short, an available puppy was found, only five miles from Catterick Garrison and a long way from the widely held regimental myth that all mascots come from the same farm in the west of Ireland. The puppy, already named Séamus, was collected in mid-November and, along with his new handler Drummer Adam Walsh, a native Irishman from Dublin, began four weeks of ‘basic training’ at the Royal Army Veterinary Corps Centre at Melton Mowbray. Thanks to the efforts of Major Ross Curnick and his team at Melton, Séamus and Drummer Walsh were fit for presentation to the Regimental Lieutenant Colonel and the Major General prior to Christmas leave.

Whilst the hound has the kennel name Séamus, having grown enough to answer to it, regimental custom and tradition dictates that the Irish Guards Mascot is named after an ancient High King of Ireland. After much deliberation, the Regimental Council agreed that a ‘parade name’ would be a suitable compromise and the 17th Regimental Mascot is now officially named Turlough Mór after a King who ruled Connaught from 1106 to 1156 and who ruled as High King of Ireland from 1136 to 1156. This Irish king was descended from Brian Boru, the name of the Irish Guards’ first Regimental Mascot, and is also an ancestor of Captain Eoin O’Conor who is currently a serving Irish Guards officer.

Séamus and Drummer Walsh are now based with the 1st Battalion at Cavalry Barracks, Hounslow, to continue their training including practice sessions with the Regimental Band. Whilst playing no part in this year’s ceremonial season, he might be spotted lurking on the side-lines ready to lead out the first Queen’s Guard in February 2022.

Drummer Walsh and Séamus.
Victoria Jones/PA

Left-to-right, rear: The Major General, Captain Hamilton,
The Regimental Adjutant; Captain Orchard (ADC)
Left-to-right, front: Piper Dempsey, Drummer Walsh, Séamus.
Victoria Jones/PA

                                                                                                         Niall Hall


© Crown Copyright