When the world’s first bears were discovered in Ireland, they were given a nickname “Bearsbane”.
For most of the 18th century, they lived in the country’s countryside.
The new bears are in the Guinness Book of World Records.
“I think it’s an honour to have a name that reflects a person’s heritage,” says Mark Broughton, an environmental historian at Trinity College Dublin.
“Barry and his bear, the first one, were born on May 8, 1865.
The idea of being born on a date that’s such a significant date in the history of Ireland is something I’d like to see reflected in the name of the bear.”
The book bears the names of two of the first people to be born in Ireland: Dr Barry Broughson, who was born in the village of Ardmach in Co Donegal, and John O’Connor, who married Mary O’Neill, the granddaughter of James O’Brien, the Irish politician who established the country as an independent country.
“They were both born in 1867 and 1868, so that’s the date they were born,” Broughtons wife, Sarah, told the Irish Times.
The bears have been in the spotlight recently because of the global pandemic.
They have been the focus of a number of documentaries and books.
Broughons son, Mark, has written a book about the bears.
He also founded a non-profit organisation called the Irish Bears Trust, which promotes conservation of the bears and the history and culture of Ireland.
He hopes the book will inspire more people to protect them.
“If you’re going to build something with bears in it, you’re not building the world,” Boughton said.
“It’s not just about a bear but about Ireland.”