Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Grallagh Harriers at Meadow Court Hotel, Galway

The Grallagh Harriers master and huntsman David Burke at the Meadow Court meetThe Grallagh Harriers Master and huntsman David Burke and field move off from the meet at the Meadow Court Hotel near Loughrea. / Noel Mullins photo

The Grallagh Harriers hunt much the same country as the Galway Blazers. The meet was at Meadow Court Hotel in Co. Galway, near my hometown of Loughrea. It brought back many happy memories so close as it is to St. Clerins, the former home of film director John Huston who wrote the screen play and/or directed such classic films as The Maltese Falcon, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Asphalt Jungle, African Queen, and Moby Dick. The list goes on. He won the Oscar twice and directed his father Walter and his daughter Anjelica to Oscar-winning roles as well.

John Huston was MFH of the Galway Blazers in the 1960s. It was nothing unusual to see his house guests following the hunt by car―Hollywood film stars like Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, Orson Wells, playwright Jean Paul Sartre, or Paul Newman who bought a Connemara Pony from Lady Anne Hemphill.

An American Foxhunter Meets the Irish Banks

fugateandgus2.johnflavinThe author on Gus: muddied but unbowed / John Flavin photoDid you ever hear the expression “cheating death?” This question was posed to me by Bob Goodman, my newfound friend and fellow foxhunter, as we both emerged from one of those double drain jumps common to the south of Ireland. The question carried added meaning coming from Bob, a former Air Force fighter pilot with 336 combat missions in Vietnam.

I arrived in Ireland on January 18, 2019 and made my way from the airport straight to Flavin’s stable near Tramore in County Waterford to practice jumping banks and ditches before the next morning’s hunt. On a good horse who knew his business, I found these obstacles to be easy enough, and I was assured that actual hunt conditions would be no more challenging than these practice jumps. Although confident, I had a sense that actual conditions might in fact be different…

Duhallow Foxhounds at Monymusk Stud

duhallow.dickie.cathAuthor and friend / Catherine Power photoWith the season winding down, we decided to keep the best wine ’til last...or very nearly so. Monday saw us with the “Dashing” Duhallow at their meet at Monymusk Stud in Kanturk. The Duhallow is the oldest hunting establishment in Ireland with foxhounds, and has hunted the country continuously since 1745. The market town of Kanturk is looked on as the capital of the ancient barony of Duhallow, so it seemed a suitable venue on which to end their season.

Monymusk, now the property of Duhallow Senior Master Kate Jarvey, was bound to be a gala occasion, and so it proved. Kate holds the unique distinction of being Master of two of Ireland’s leading packs simultaneously—the Duhallow and neighbouring Scarteen. Her great-grandfather was Ely Lily of pharmaceutical fame, and she was brought up during Cape Cod summers near the Kennedy family. Kate is also a former chairman of the Irish Masters of Foxhounds Association. Sadly she was not riding as she is recovering from a broken hip, the result of an unfortunate schooling fall just after Christmas.

Belle Mead Foxhounds Establish New Hunt Record at Tally Ho Lake

belle meade.reflected gloryEpp Wilson leads foxhounds, staff, and field. / Reflected Glory photo

The radio crackled.“Tally-Ho coyote at the Catfish Pond headed west.”

It was the first day of our annual Joint Meet weekend with the Shakerag Hounds (GA), and we had just unkenneled 22-1/2 couple of hounds. Whipper-in John Bell had already left—standard operating procedure—to get into position for the draw and viewed the coyote away even before we put hounds in. Tally Ho Lake is in the southeast corner of our hunting territory, where only two herds of cattle remain in our entire country.