Fron Kim Allison, Scotland
I had heard so much about Anthony Killykeen-Doyle, his compassion and appreciation of the Irish Wolfhound, his devotion to protect the breed from deviation of type. In Spring 2010 when I was invited and had the privilege of meeting him at his home I was to say the least just a little daunted, until he greeted me like an old friend. He was such a gentleman who oozed charisma and kindness. When introduced to his beautiful hounds they took no notice of me the "visitor" they just gazed at Tony with love and kindness in their eyes and equally so Tony to them. They ran…., they chased…… they played…. then it was my turn – they finally noticed me! My visit was such a memorable one, I will never forget his home, it was a treasure trove of memorabilia, dedicated not only to the Irish Wolfhound but many breeds. Books, pictures, paintings, sculptures and so much more, I could have spent weeks and weeks it was just fascinating. He spoke at length about not allowing the breed to become a "chocolate box show dog" by losing their ability to run and hunt with the speed, stamina and physique to catch wild game. He also placed an emphasis on the need to maintain variations in coat colour, especially the Irish spotting, and not just fade to greys like the deerhound.
I returned to Tony's home in December 2010 through blizzards and hail, the weather was not kind. I did get quite a shock when I finally arrived as he was not looking well (if only I knew what was to come). I spent almost 2 weeks with Tony, my stay extended due to the inclement weather. This time I got to know a different man, not only was he an expert on the Irish Wolfhound and many other breeds too but a well read man who was fascinated by ancient civilisations, art and mythology, many a long evening was spent discussing just those subjects. His passion for nature shone through, a day would not pass without him making sure the garden bird feeders were filled even though it was minus temperatures outside and really he was not well enough to do so. I had been told that his only passion was the Irish Wolfhound however that was just not so, such an interesting man who captured your imagination and such a wonderful story teller. He made me feel so welcome and I felt as though I'd known him for years. I was treated like an old friend with his hospitality and kindness.
I will forever think of Tony with admiration and much fondness. Such sadness to have lost the champion of the Irish Wolfhound, I would have loved to have spent more time with him, learned from him and gained just a little of his knowledge. He will always be in my heart and I will always hold memories of him for being just a gentleman.