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Fallow Deer

At Dromoland Castle

Fallow deer (Dama dama) are not native to Ireland, but are the second largest of our three main deer species. They are thought to have been introduced by the Normans to the 'Royal Deer Forest' of Glencree, Co. Wicklow in 1244. The main distinguishing feature of the fallow deer is the arrangement of the antlers.

Males, known as bucks grow flat palm shaped antlers with several points and can measure up to 1.8m in length, stand at 1m at the shoulder and can weigh up to 100kg. Antlers are shed each spring and begin to re-grow immediately shedding the protective velvet skin by autumn in time for the rutting season.

Females, known as does are smaller standing up to 85cm at the shoulder and weigh considerably less at around 45kg on average. Most will have the distinctive white heart shaped rump with all colour types having paler underbellies in comparison to the flanks.

Fallow deer move with a walk, trot or canter type style changing to a gallop or stott when alarmed. They are strong in the water and can swim for long distances. They have a well-developed sense of smell with good hearing and excellent eyesight which can distinguish a range of colours from medium to long distances and unusually for a deer species can differentiate between stationary objects which makes them more difficult to hunt.

It is estimated that there are between 120 to 200 fallow deer on the Dromoland Estate.