The Irish Griffin is from the Gaelic word gryphon. This was the word for a mythical Celtic creature, with the head of one animal and the body of another (normally an eagle and a lion but not always, snakes, horses and dogs could also appear as one half of a gryphon).
The griffin, griffon, or gryphon Greek: γρύφων, grýphōn, or γρύπων, grýpōn, early form γρύψ, grýps; Latin: gryphus is a legendary creature with the body, tail, and back legs of a lion; the head and wings of an eagle; and an eagle's talons as its front feet.
Griffons are powerful, majestic creatures with the characteristics of both lions and eagles. From nose to tail, an adult griffon can measure as much as 8 feet. Neither males nor females are endowed with a mane. A pair of broad, golden wings emerge from the creature’s back and span 25 feet or more. A griffon weighs about 500 pounds.
Griffons attack by pouncing or diving from above, and then slashing with the claws of their front paws. For some reason, griffons hate horses with a passion, most likely because they commonly hunt hippogriffs as food, creating an intense conflict between the two species.
Because the lion was traditionally considered the king of the beasts and the eagle the king of birds, the griffin was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature. The griffin was also thought of as king of all creatures. Griffins are known for guarding treasure and priceless possessions. Adrienne Mayor, a classical folklorist, proposes that the griffin was an ancient misconception derived from the fossilized remains of the Protoceratops found in gold mines in the Altai mountains of Scythia, in present-day southeastern Kazakhstan, or in Mongolia. In antiquity it was a symbol of divine power and a guardian of the divine.
Celtic Griffins: An ancient creature embraced by many cultures, the Celtic animal griffin is a symbol of duality. Part eagle and half-part lion (depending on the region - even part serpent, horse or dog), the meaning of the griffin reflects is dual physical form by presenting a balance of both good and not so good qualities. The griffin's more like-able qualities include nobility, gentleness, and justice.
Depicted on ancient stone tombs, griffins are the guardians and protectors of life, and remain loyal in their protection even in the afterlife. Griffins count nobility, vigilance, virtue and strength among their many positive attributes. The griffin is an incredibly strong symbol, and used only when the mightiest gods' attention needs to be captured, and reserved only when the need is greatest.
Misused, or invoked for selfish reasons, the griffin brings about gluttony, vengeance, ferocity, and violence. In Roman texts, the Griffin is strongly aligned with the fire god, Apollo. This makes the griffin a possessor of fiery forces - and not to be trifled with when in partnership with Apollo. Given it's power, and considering it can be just as nefarious as it can be kind, respect must be paid when invoking the spirit of the griffin.