Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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FHL wants your hunt reports! Stories and photos. Submit yours here.

Girl Power at the South County Dublin Harriers

sdharriers.mullins.girl powerHuntsman Grace Kerr and whippers-in Eve Kerr and Eimear Byrne with the black and tans of the South County Dublin Harriers / Noel Mullins photo

It was a case of ‘Girl Power’ at the Opening Meet of the South County Dublin Harriers. Hounds met at Gerry O’Malley’s Batterstown Inn in County Meath, Ireland, and didn’t hang around too long with a healthy field of about fifty followers and an active junior hunt section (that stages its own hunt ball)! Originally founded in 1867, it is the oldest surviving drag hunt in Ireland.

Three young staff ladies were immaculately turned out on three matching grey hunters. Huntsman Grace Kerr and her sister Eve*, who is now studying for an MBA and just back from the USA riding out from huntsman Willie Dunne’s yard in North Carolina and Redfield Farm in New Jersey. (Willie hunts the Middleton Place Hounds in North Carolina.) Grace’s and Eve’s sister Catherine would normally make up the trio but is a nurse in Australia. The final member of the team is whipper-in Eimear Byrne, another fine horsewoman.

Why We Hunt...Even On a Hopeless Day

coyote on hay roll.lynne thompsonIllustration by Lynne Thompson

Hunting in dry conditions is a challenge at best, but hunting in the dry and heat...like sweltering heat...is tantamount to impossible. There had been no rain for about six weeks, so dust was also a contributor to our less than optimal hunting day. But there are those of us who are not fair weather hunters, and it doesn't matter the weather because as the saying goes, “A bad day hunting beats a good day in the office.” So we found ourselves lightly trotting, mostly walking behind the Hillsboro Hounds (TN) because pressing hounds, horses, and humans on a day like that would have been foolhardy and irresponsible.

Whipper-in Turns Traffic Cop

hugh robertson.cropHugh Robertson, honorary whipper-in at Eglinton and Caledon Hounds, is also a former amateur steeplechase rider.

“Land's sakes," says Hugh in his burred Scottish accent, "there I was quietly enjoying a quick puff on my favourite cigarillo, when it all started."

Hugh Robertson is an honorary whipper-in with the Eglinton and Caledon Hounds (ON). Hugh knows the country and had already taken up his post on the ridge. It was early in the season and hounds were drawing the swamp in the valley at the south end of Galten Farms country in Caledon. So far the day had been quiet, providing the opportunity for Hugh to enjoy the overly-warm but beautiful September day.

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.