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St. Patricks Day

As you don green getups and toast to St. Patrick, take a minute to think of all the wonderful gifts that the Emerald Isle has given us.

Its native species includes the good-natured Connemara pony and the easy-going Galway sheep. And don’t forget the gorgeous Irish dog breeds we now love on this side of the pond, from the Irish Setter to the Glen of Imaal Terrier.

Irish Setter

You can spot this pretty canine a mile away, but did you know that the beautiful Irish Setter wasn't always a solid red dog? The earliest records of the breed (from about 400 years ago) refer to a red and white setting dog — two colors that are easy for hunters to see in the field. By the time dog shows came along in the mid- to late-nineteenth century, solid red setters became the fashion.

Galway Sheep

Galway sheep have been grazing in the fields of western Ireland since the late seventeenth century. With their easy-going demeanour and long- life span, these sheep are a great addition to any flock.

Common Lizard

St. Patrick might be celebrated for casting all the snakes out of Ireland, but he did leave one reptile behind — the common lizard. While the scaly creature can be found throughout the U.K., the common lizard is the only species of reptile that’s native to Ireland.

Glen of Imaal Terrier

The Glen of Imaal Terrier's name comes from an isolated valley in Ireland’s Wicklow Mountains, where the terrier originated. The dog's history begins in the 1570s, when Flemish mercenary soldiers came to the valley with their dogs, who eventually mated with the local Irish canines.

Connemara Pony

The Connemara pony is one of Ireland's equine gifts to the world. This is the largest of the pony breeds, standing at 12.2 to 14.2 hands high, according to the Connemara Pony Breeders Society of Ireland. They are known to be athletic animals with good-natured dispositions.

Irish Water Spaniel

The unusual-looking Irish Water Spaniel is covered with red curls everywhere besides his "rat tail" and his smooth face. His coat is naturally oily to repel water and keep the skin underneath dry, even after the hunting dog has been in the water.

Irish Moiled

This cow breed should be proud to be the only surviving domestic livestock native to Northern Ireland, according to the Irish Moiled Cattle Society. It's a red, medium-sized, hornless breed that's marked by a white line on its back, plus red ears and a red nose. Its name is derived from the Gaelic word maol, which means "brow of a hill" — referring to the cow's rounded head.

Along with these breeds of animals we also remember the Irish Terrier, Irish Wolfhound, Kerry Blue Terrier and the Wheaten Terrier.