23 March 2017

Wolfwalkers: Oscar-nominated animators' new 17th century feature

Here's a behind-the-scenes look at Wolfwalkers, an animated feature from the makers of Oscar-nominated film Song of the Sea (2014).

The film's set in Ireland during Cromwell's attempt to subdue the population through the killing of wolves ...

It's a surprising, though rather sad, story I hadn't heard before. The tactic appears to have been introduced to protect increasing numbers of farmed animals in the 1640s. The wolves in Ireland page on Wikipedia has more, but the rationale still seems unclear:
The bulk of anti-wolf legislation occurred during the decade following the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland. A number of writers from this time period suggest that as a result of ongoing military campaigns in Ireland, particularly the Cromwellian wars 1641-1652 and the devastation of much of the country and, with increasing numbers of farmed animals, wolf numbers were increasing and seen as a threat to business.

The level of rewards and bounties established by Oliver Cromwell's regime attracted a few professional wolf hunters to Ireland, mostly from England. Politically, the prospect of numbers of armed Irish roaming around the country hunting wolves was not acceptable, given the ongoing conflict between the Irish and the new English settlers, so it was seen as much safer for the English authorities to encourage men from their own country to deal with the wolf problem. The problems caused by wolves were considered serious enough by Cromwell’s government to impose a ban on the exportation of Irish Wolfhounds.
(There's more on the Wikipedia page)
Hopefully the film will reveal all! In the meantime, if anyone can suggest any useful reading on the subject please let me know (an academic paper link on the Wikipedia page is broken).

Here's a second clip from the makers, Cartoon Saloon:

Cartoon Saloon
Wolves in Ireland

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