The Dobhar-Chu, also referred to as the Irish Crocodile, King Otter, Dhuragoo, Dorraghower, and Dobarcu, is thought to be a form of amphibious predator haunting the rivers and lakes of Ireland. Described as being a roughly 7 foot long half wolf half fish like creature the name Dobhar-Chu, when translated from Gaelic, literally means water hound.
Although there are no descriptions of the beast which give it reptilian characteristics it is believed by some researchers that the Dobhar-Chu’s nickname, the Irish Crocodile, seems to have stemmed from accounts of its veracious apatite and lighting fast speed both in and out of the water.
One of the earliest written accounts of the Dobhar-Chu appears in A Description of West Connaught written by Roderick O’Flaherty and published in 1684. The story, which originated from the Lough Mark Area, goes as follows:
There is one rarity more, which we may term the Irish crocodile, whereof one, as yet living, about ten years ago had sad experience. The man was passing the shore just by the waterside, and spied far off the head of a beast swimming, which he took to be an otter, and took no more notice of it; but the beast it seems lifted up his head, to discern whereabouts the man was; then diving swam under the water till he struck ground: whereupon he run out of the water suddenly and took the man by the elbow whereby the man stooped down, and the beast fastened his teeth in his pate, and dragged him into the water; where the man took hold of a stone by chance in his way, and calling to mind he had a knife in his jacket, took it out and gave a thrust of it to the beast, which thereupon got away from him into the lake. The water about him was all bloody, whether from the beast's blood, or his own, or from both he knows not.
It was the pitch of an ordinary greyhound, of a black slimy skin, without hair as he imagines. Old men acquainted with the lake do tell there is such a beast in it, and that a stout fellow with a wolf dog along with him met the like there once; which after a long struggling went away in spite of the man and his dog, and was a long time after found rotten in a rocky cave of the lake when the waters decreased. The like they say is seen in other lakes in Ireland, they call it doyarchu, i.e. water-dog, or anchu which is the same.
Richard Muirhead of Wilshire, England, uncovered a poem, possibly dating back to the 1920’s, entitled The Dobhar-Chu of Glenade. The poem tells the story of a woman named Grace Connolly, who while washing cloths at the edge of a lake was attacked by a Dobhar-Chu. Hearing his wife’s screams, her husband, a man named McGloughlan, rushed to his wife’s aid only to find her dead bloodied body and her attacker, a Dobhar-Chu. McGloughlan took out his knife and struck down his wife’s killer; however before the Dobhar-Chu died it let out a cry which summoned its mate from out of the water. McGloughlan took to his horse and was joined by a friend as the Dobhar-Chu gave chase, realizing that they could not out run the quickness of the beast the two ducked behind a wall, dismounted and as the Dobhar-Chu ran through the two men struck it down.
This story would seem to be corroborated by the discovery of a gravestone near Kinlough, Leitrim. On the headstone of this graver there appears to be a carved illustration of a large otter impaled by a spear, held in a disembodied hand. The name that appears on the grave seems to have been Grace, but her surname, possibly McGlone, has been rendered almost unreadable by time.
Some researchers have suggested that the Dobhar-Chu was the misidentification of a giant river otter. Though not known to attack humans, otters can grow to relatively large lengths and seem to fit eye witness descriptions as they are very quick in the water and do have a somewhat dog like appearance. Others investigators have suggested that the Dobhar-Chu may be an unknown form of rare predatory amphibian which has since become extinct, however there is no evidence to support this theory.
No physical evidence, with the exception of a faded headstone seeming to depict the Dobhar-Chu has been discovered to suggest this creature ever existed.
No documented sightings of the Dobhar-Chu could be found at this time.
The Stats– (Where applicable)
• Classification: Lake Monster
• Size: Roughly 7 feet in length
• Weight: Unknown
• Diet: Carnivorous
• Location: Ireland
• Movement: Swimming
• Environment: Lake