This section is from the book "The Terriers. A History And Description Of The Modern Dogs Of Great Britain And Ireland", by Rawdon B. Lee. Also available from Amazon: A History and Description of the Modern Dogs of Great Britain and Ireland: The Terriers.
Dogs that are very game are usually surly or snappish. The Irish terrier, as a breed, is an exception, being remarkably good-tempered, notably so with mankind, it being admitted, however, that he is, perhaps, a little too ready to resent interference on the part of other dogs. There is a heedless, reckless pluck about the Irish terrier which is characteristic, and, coupled with the headlong dash, blind to all consequences, with which he rushes at his adversary, has earned for the breed the proud epithet of 'The Dare-Devils.' When 'off duty' they are characterised by a quiet caress-inviting appearance, and when one sees them endearingly, timidly pushing their heads into their masters' hands it is difficult to realise that on occasion, at the 'set-on,' they can prove they have the courage of a lion, and will fight on to the last breath in their bodies. They develop an extraordinary devotion to, and have been known to track their masters almost incredible distances"
This "club description" has given rise to a considerable amount of controversy, but I believe it was drawn up by the leading admirers of the Irish terrier a few years ago, and if fault may be found with one or two of the items, such are of little importance so far as the general delineation of the dog is concerned. Unlike the Bedlington terrier, the Irish terrier is progressive so far as public estimation is concerned, and as I conclude this article I am told of a bond-fide offer of £220 for a couple of young dogs which have not yet been placed as the best of their variety.