Cryptid Wiki
Cryptid Wiki
Type Hairy Humanoid/Bigfoot-like
First Sighting Unknown
Last Sighting 2018
Country Ireland
Habitat Small thick forests in Ireland such as Ballyboley and Slieveanorra
Possible Population Very small, possibly extinct

According to Nick Redfern's The Bigfoot Book: The Encyclopedia of Sasquatch, Yeti and Cryptid Primates, "'There is an Irish word, gruagach, which can mean magician, giant or ogre, but actually means 'the hairy one.'" Within various Medieval literature detailing history and folklore throughout Europe, one who looks hard enough won’t have to struggle to find references to hairy, manlike beasts, variously referred to as orcs, ogres, trolls, woodwoses, and wild men in various documents from England and its surrounding countries ( Nick Redfern proposed the the gruagach of Irish lore is a bigfoot or similar wild man.


The Gruagach, also known as the Grogoch, Gelt, or, on occasion, the Puka or sometimes even Tipperary/Ossary Wolfman is a large, bipedal ape-like creature that allegedly lives in Ireland. The creature appears in mythology around Ireland and is sighted only on rare occasions, but over the years has been seen all over Northern Ireland and on occasion South Ireland. Despite this, it gets very little attention as Ireland is a small place and even though the majority is countryside, most people say there is not enough thick forest and food to support and hide a large ape, despite the fact it supports deer in some places and once even supported large megafauna. It has been estimated that the amount of forest covering in Ireland is as little as a mere one percent, with County Wicklow, home to at least one known alleged Gruagach sighting, having the most forest, and County Meath, not known to have any sightings, having the least. The creature is very similar to other Bigfoot-like creatures, the most well known example being the North American Sasquatch, though unlike Sasquatch, most sightings of the Gruagach [as well as the Woodwose] describe it to be more human like. It is normally depicted with a small, wide, high up nose, sometimes described as 'piggish', a mostly flat face, a protruding brow ridge, and, strangely, with no sagital crest [a sagital crest being a crest on the skull of certain apes such as gorilla which gives their head a cone shape, described by most alleged Bigfoot witnesses], though occasionally the crest is there. It is more similar to the Minnesota iceman than the traditional Bigfoot depiction. It is often compared to a Neanderthal, as the facial features appear similiar, however Neanderthals are believed to have only stood at four foot [1.3 metres] tall on average fully grown. Sightings of the creature are all around Ireland, though are mostly centred around Slieveanorra and Ballyboley.


Slievenorra Gruagach

Alleged Bigfoot in Slievenorra, Northern Ireland

In January of 2016, a mother and Irish Bigfoot researcher, Maxine Caufield, was walking her dogs in Slieveanorra forest, a place believed by some to be haunted, when her dogs started acting strangely, which had happened on other occaisons during her research. It was not until she got home and posted her pictures from the forest online that people noticed the strange figure in it, which her and some others who saw the picture online compared to the Gruagach, which Maxine was looking for at the time. Ghost stories about Slieveanorra have been told since October 1942, when a US air force B17 flying fortress bomber crashed into a mountain in the area, killing eight of the ten people in the plane. The photo appears similiar to a Ghillie suit, though it's arm appears to be a branch [which could be explained by the 'creature' holding the branch while it's hand is covered by it's fur/the sleeve of the suit, or it walking past a branch when the photo was taken]. However, despite the photo likely being a hoax/misidentification, another alleged 'sighting' in the area adds some credence too it. Around half past four in the evening on the fourteenth of July 2017, a wildlife photographer and her husband went out to Slievenorra forest, Northern Ireland. She says it was raining very heavily, and they were walking their usual routes when they heard a strange howling noise. They hadn't went far into the forest when her German Shepherd started barking at the noise. At that point the howl sounded quite close, but they couldn't find the source of the noise. A few seconds later, the noise stopped, then started again. This happened four times. She says she had heard the noise before in the same area of the forest, but she was alone with the dogs so she doubted herself a bit. She told researcher Deborah Hatswell she  

intended on going back there without the dogs to see if she'd still hear it. She reported to the same researcher that on the seventeenth of July 2017 she returned to the area with her phone, but she didn't hear anything. She brought her partner's smaller dog Barney with her and he stopped randomly near where she says she found a double 'X' made from large tree trunks. It is worth noting that in other parts of the world, field researchers also report this in alleged Bigfoot habitats. The dog just stood there sniffing the wind with his ears up and one paw off the ground, as if he had smelt something. Later on her partner and her both got the feeling of being watched after the dog started doing the same thing again. She also says that, while it may be unrelated, she lost the dog's ball in the area and looked for a long time without finding it, before going back the next day and finding it laying in the middle of the trail. She says she will go back again until she finds something to prove her story, however, no more information is given and nothing else has been reported in that forest, though there are two nearby forests where things have been reported [Dunluce and Ballyboley]. In Tipperary, Ireland, there are historical stories of Wolfman warriors, and in Ossary, there are also historical accounts of Wolfmen, which may be the source of the howling, however, all modern sightings of hairy humanoids describe ape-like creatures, which can also make howling noises, except for a select few in the South of Ireland, in the Republic. In 1997, two men claim they were in the allegedly haunted Ballyboley forest when they heard what they called 'a loud flapping sound'. They thought nothing of it and continued walking, until they heard stranger noises such as a woman moaning in pain. They were horrified the find a group of trees thickly smeared with blood. As they ran off, one of the men claims he saw four dark humanoid figures standing behind them, but not chasing them, where only a few seconds earlier nothing had been there. Other reports from the area describe druid rituals where animals are burned to death, and camp fires and tipi shaped tree structures can be found in the forest, though the tree structures are more common. A year later, a 63 year old woman who was working as a pet sitter and her husband were walking some local dogs in Ballyboley. They approached a small patch of dead trees one day and claim they saw what they thought was a human crouched down in the bushes. Agitating the dogs, the creature raised it's head, showing it was not human. The woman says her husband approached the creature, who growled at him when he came too close. She told him to step back, he thought it was an escaped chimpanzee at the time, until he got within 15 foot of it and the tall figure stood up on it's hind legs. They noticed the large creature was carrying an also large stick. The creature smashed it's stick against the tree, then ran off at a high speed. The whole thing last all of four minutes. She described the creature as having a chimpanzee like face, but with a broader nose. It was covered in 'dark brown black fur' and was 8 foot tall. Later that year, a man claimed to have seen an ape-like creature using improvised eating utensils. The report came one week after a man claimed to have seen a similar creature in Suffolk [England]. There are many facebook pages about the Gruagach, such as the IBRO [Irish Bigfoot research organisation] and the IWRO [Irish Wildman research organisation]. Despite most sightings being in the North, both of these groups are based in South Ireland. One, however, is based near Ballyboley forest, and frequently visits the forest to search for evidence of the Gruagach. Some people running the facebook page, called Cryptids NI [Northern Ireland], went on an unsuccessful 'expedition' to the forest, and claimed that one of them had seen one looking at him in the distance, before he saw it, causing it to run off. They said in they're facebook post: "

A huge breakthrough from our last expedition! Our first sighting! We’ll post the video taken just after the sighting in the comments, but I’ll detail what I saw here:  We’d been pretty unsuccessful, though we found one very cool footprint, and we were going to check the apple we had left previously, before we went home. I’d ran ahead to get away from the flies, but then I saw it. It was in the distance, but I could make out a rounded cone shaped head covered in brown fur attached to a muscular upper body. I couldn’t see below chest level. It had a human-like face and it was looking towards me, then it turned and ran away. I ran towards it but since my phone was dead I had to quickly borrow another phone but by the time I got there it was gone though there were some footprints on the ground. See pictures." Links to the photos: Outside of Ballyboley forest and Slieveanorra forest, the only places with consistent sightings, sightings of the Gruagach persist. A man claimed that in December of 2015 he'd seen a large, upright, hairy creature wandering through the Sperrin mountains. Though he saw it at a distance, he says it was taller than a six foot man and that he didn't have a gun, so he left. While leaving, he says he noticed some hunters using a map, which he noted was somewhat strange, since most hunters knew the area quite well. Another man reported to British and Irish Bigfoot researcher Deborah Hatswell that in 1998, he was the Lurgan road in Drumoor at night when he saw a seven foot tall humanoid creature block the road. He says that he stopped his car and saw the creature's red eyes illuminated by his headlights. In 2017, a man was in a mostly human inhabited part of Brackagh in County Armagh when a hairy, ape like creature stared at him. He Said "I would like to report an experience that happened to me just last month (Aug 2017), I was unsure about coming forward, and to be honest I still am, I was in Brackagh which borders a road and is near human habitation in Co Armagh. I was out as I like to walk and I was exploring an old stomping ground of many years from my youth, I spent a lot of time down here as a lad with my friends or on my own, for hours on end. Back then the area was different, as this is now a nature reserve and is used by dog walkers on a loop walk trail, you can leave the trails and paths if you want too, but I doubt anybody does. There are seven peat rompers (raised wooden boards) and I had walked three or four of them at least that day already, so id been out for quite some time at this point.
As I walked the loop that was the farthest from the road, I was walking close to the edge of an adjoining field and when I passed a certain spot I heard the unusual cry of an animal. It wasn’t something I could identify? but whatever it was, it sounded as if it was in distress, I walk very quietly by the way so I don't think I made any noise on approaching that area, or spooked anything, I know even with all my walking I see very little of the known wildlife myself. So to make a sound of distress is not something an animal would do unless it was absolutely necessary, I dont my feet that are used to treading softly and not giving the game away would worry anything to be honest? So I stood and watched keeping as quiet as I could, just listening to see if I could see where this sound was coming from or its source. I could pinpoint the general area but not the actual source of the noise. I kept looking around trying to see what “it” was but I couldn’t identify anything, and as I walked on my way I was still looking back to try and see any movement in the grass and shrub. I did notice a lot of the trees and they had been drilled and a PVC capsule inserted. This I presume was to kill the tree and roots? Why I don't know as I dug one out with a knife to examine it. These capsules were in lots of the trees around me as I passed by? There were trees with capsules everywhere?" Further south from the alleged sighting, eight British soldiers claimed to have seen four Grey aliens crossing the road, and further south from there, a man claimed to have had multiple encounters with strange Reptillian[1] creatures similiar to the grey aliens in head size and shape, but much taller, more muscular, green, and having a tail. In 2012, a man posted a video on the youtube channel Thomas Miller, which has only one video and has liked 'Pike fishing in Ireland on Hybrida Wobblers' and 'Melview fishing lodge - Ultimate fishing in Ireland'. The video is called 'Beast of Blessington - Bigfoot spotted in Ireland' and shows a dark figure walking past two men who seem to be scrambling to film the creature as it walks past at a regular pace seemingly undisturbed. The dialogue of the video is: "There look!" "Where?" "Behind that tree there, do you see it?" The other witness says something distorted by the first witness saying "Look!" He then goes on to say "It's moving!" "Where?" "What was that?" The video then slows down and at the very end zoom into the subject. Almost non existent shoulders attached to a broad cone shaped head is seen. The creature has thin arms and legs. In the UK and Ireland most sightings of Bigfoot-like creatures describe more human-like creatures without the popular cone shaped head. It is also worth noting the creature swings it's arms and takes long strides, similiar to the alleged Sasquatch in the famous Patterson Gimlin film[2].


Bigfoot in Europe - Blessington Lake Footage (Ireland)




Beast of Blessington - Bigfoot spotted in Ireland


As of now there is little evidence for the Gruagach. The IWRO [Irish Wildman Research Organisation] has posted many possible tree structures from South Ireland, as well as one picture showing a deer skull with small amounts of flesh left inside a possible structure. However, the deer may not have been killed by a Gruagach and the structures may have been made by humans. The picture of a possible Gruagach in Slieveanorra may be a stump or ghille suit, and the Beast of Blessington footage is too blurry to make out much detail. However, the same can be said for most cryptids. It is unlikely a deer would die near a 'tree structure', it may have been a coincidence, but it also may have been put there intentionally. The picture and video may also be real Gruagachs despite not fitting the non-crested description, as the IBRO theorized there may be two types of Irish Bigfoot, one of which is similar to the Sasquatch, as it creates the same tree structures. The Facebook page 'Cryptids NI' posted a video claiming to show a possible Gruagach moving in the distance, however it has not been analysed and it is not known if there even is anything in the video. The same page also released a possible Gruagach vocalisation from Ballyboley forest, after posting many pictures of possible structures from the area. The evidence of the Gruagach is limited, but not non-existent.

Claims of aggression[]

Even in the US, Asia, Russia, and other places with more Bigfoot sightings, aggression is an uncommon characteristic. Some Bigfoot types, such as the Woodbooger and the Gugwe, both of which are rarely reported, are normally said to be uncharacteristically aggressive for a Bigfoot. The creatures are described as looking less human like and many believe they are one and the same as Werewolves, where as the Gruagach, Woodwose, and other more human-like Bigfoot, especially so in the UK, are more timid, normally running away when seen, or occasionally just tolerating the human or even being paralysed with fear. Despite the unlikelyhood of an aggressive creature stalking the Irish wilderness without being seen often or even being verified to exist, there are some mostly isolated cases in which it is suspected the Gruagach has been aggressive. In the mid to late 90's, there was a wave of unsolved disappearances similar to those from the Missing 411 books by David Paulides, which many, including Paulides, though he claims to stay neutral throughout the book, suspect may have been caused by Bigfoot-like creatures. Another more recent but highly dubious case comes from the Irish Bigfoot researcher 'Teddy Boy Bigfoot'. After making multiple videos about the Gruagach in a very urban area with a thin 'forest' inhabited by homeless people and visitors to the area who frequently leave litter and may have built the alleged tree structures shown in his video, he made one video in which he went to his usual area and found an alleged tree structure. It is noted by many how it appears different to traditional tree structures found in alleged Bigfoot habitats in other parts of the world, including the few structures found by other Irish researchers []. He then falls to the ground shouting and cursing, only to get back up a few seconds later after running a short distance claiming he was hit by a rock, showing an alleged smear of blood on his forehead. If the habitat and unusual behaviors and structures hadn't already aroused suspicion among researchers, the fact there was no opening in his head for the blood to appear from, despite a scar clearly showing there was at one point in a later video, bothered Welsh Bigfoot researcher and photo/video analyst Bigfoot Tony, who attempted to expose what he and an English Bigfoot researcher called Deborah Hatswell believed was a hoax. The video was soon deleted, as was the channel 'TeddyBoyBigfoot'.


A barbary ape skull was once found in Ireland, and some evidence such as the worship of an Egyptian god and legends of an Egyptian princess in Scotland suggests the ancient Egyptians got to Ireland at one point. Some theorize a population of baboons, barbary apes or other African or Middle Eastern apes were brought to Ireland and may have a population that somehow has gone undetected. Baboons seem particularly likely to have been transported by the Egyptians as the god Thoth has been represented by a Baboon in the past.

It is possible that Bigfoot is some type of spiritual being, with some biblical historians and Christians claiming they are the descendant of the Nephillim giants. Other religious theories say they may be demons, while other less religious but equally spiritual theories suggest shapeshifters or even the ghost of a Gigantopithecus, Neanderthal or other creature.

A living Gigantopithecus is an often proposed explanation for Sasquatch, and while many say the Gruagach and other more human like Bigfoot are hominin [meaning in the genus Homo or Australopithecus], some propose they are one and the same as the largest known ape ever to live.

An extant population of non-sapien hominin is considered likely by many, with many British and Irish researchers saying this is the most likely explanation. The IBRO proposes a living Neanderthal as an explanation for both the Almas and Gruagach, though the Almas, they say, is less hairy and wears clothing. Welsh researcher Bigfoot Tony once stated he believes they have a soul of some type similar to a human, though specifies his uncertainty.

Ghillie suit

A Ghillie suit, a possible explanation for the Slieveanorra Gruagach photo

Tipperary Wolfmen[]

Full article: Tipperary Wolfmen

In the Republic of Ireland, there are legends of warriors covered in hair with the heads of dogs. These legends come from Tipperary and Ossary, though there are only two modern sightings, one in Ballymacward, and one in Tipperary. In 2009, an anonymous person sent a strange report filled with spelling mistakes to Deborah Hatswell, a Bigfoot researcher who takes reports of obscure UK cryptids [though she also takes lesser known Owlman reports]. In the cold winter of 1999, in Tipperary, an anonymous person was driving home late at night with their aunt, uncle and cousin, when their garden's light illuminated what they thought was an old man walking in the streets late at night in the middle of winter when all the street lights were off. Within the space of a few seconds, the man disappeared and was replaced by a large black dog with red eyes staring at them. The person who reported this said they never heard of a 'haunted dog' before, and they would have passed it off as their imagination had everyone else not seen it too. They say this happened in the road between Newport and Rearcross in South Tipperary, in the Republic of Ireland. Another report from Ballymacward describes a man with a bear's head near a train station. The two witnesses attempted to talk to the creature, but it rudely told them not to talk to him.

British Bigfoot[]

Full article: Woodwose

In Britain, there are many sightings of hairy human-like creatures, whether it be Werewolves, like the Beast of Barmston Drain, or more human-like creatures, like the Woodwose, believed to be a type of Bigfoot. Woodwose is a name used across Europe that references hairy humanoids separate from Werewolves. Other names include the obvious Wildman, but more obscure ones include the Green man, the Fear Liath Moor, the Boggart, Padfoot, and many more. British Bigfoot researcher Deborah Hatswell claimed that, in 1982, when she was fifteen years old, her and her friend had skipped school and went to Buile hill park in England. She claims a large human-like creature leaned out of the small, thick, overgrown bushes before leaning back in, causing her to push her friend to the ground and run home. Two years later, a thirty year old woman saw a similar creature that was about six and a half foot tall staring at her while walking her dogs at night in the same park.

Sources and links for research[]


Irish Bigfoot map

Irish Bigfoot map