The Giant Deer or 'Irish Elk' (Megaloceros giganteus) lived during the Pliocene, Pleistocene and Holocene epochs and survived the Great Ice Age, although the climactic changes following the Ice Age may have hastened its extinction. The latest known remains of the Irish elk have been carbon dated to about 5,700 B.C. The largest concentration of its remains have been found in Ireland, chiefly in the marl underlying bogland. These ancient antlers, many discovered in caves in Counties Waterford, Cork and Clare, have long been a feature of the Irish banqueting hall.
An early recorded example of the Irish giant deer or 'Elk' antlers, of the type found around Cos. Waterford, Cork and Clare, was those sent in 1597 to Hatfield House, Hertfordshire.