By Noel Mullins
Galway Blazers shown by (l-r) whipper-in Jason O'Donnell and huntsman Tom Dempsey / Noel Mullins photos
The magnificent grounds of the Cosby Estate in Stradbally, County Laois again hosted the annual Irish National Hound Show. Three rings featured foxhounds, harriers and beagles.
Hound shows are important events to meet and catch up on hunting in different parts of the country. For masters and hunt staff it is an opportunity to see what packs have on show, and maybe to pick out a suitable stallion hound for future breeding plans. However, at hound shows, hounds can be judged only on conformation and movement. Only in the hunting field can the other essential qualities for any working hound be assessed, like stamina, scenting ability, fox sense, and drive, as hounds are only as fast or as steady as their noses.