(pronounced: do-war coo)
To understand what a Dobhar-chú is (pronounced do-war-coo, the "b" is silent), you first need to understand what a cryptid is. Quite simply, it's any animal whose existence is unsubstantiated. Nessie in Scotland, the Hodag here in Wisconsin and Bigfoot are all cryptids. You’ll find them in any culture with a rich history rooted in storytelling—and there are no greater storytellers than the Irish.
The Dobhar-chú—also known as a King Otter—is a cryptid that first showed up in Ireland (Conwall cemetery in Glenade, County Leitrim, to be precise) during the 17th Century. Carved into a headstone, historians have uncovered a relief featuring an animal with the body and legs of a dog, but the head and tail of an otter. Dobhar-chús are thought to live in the water and be about 10-15 feet in length with dark fur and black-tipped ears.
Our Dobhar-chú (we’ve named him Danny) is believed to have swum the length of the North Atlantic Ocean; across the Gulf of St. Lawrence; through the St. Lawrence River; across Lakes Ontario, Erie and Huron; then down Lake Michigan before arriving in our harbor. He’s been spotted paddling around Lakeshore State Park, occasionally sunning himself on the rocks, and taking in the sights and sounds of our festival at dawn and dusk. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of him. And fortunately, in addition to being great storytellers, we Irish are thought to be lucky as well.