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 sweltering 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.

"Gallant Tipps" Open Formal Season at Fethard

power.tipps.huntsman gavin shortenHuntsman Gavin Shorten, foxhounds, staff, and field of nearly 80 move off through the north gate of the ancient town wall to the first draw.   / Catherine Power photo

A day with the Tipperary Foxhounds is always special, but when that day happens to be the Opening Meet in Fethard, it rises to a completely different dimension. Recognised by all as the World Horse Capital, Fethard is a very special place, indeed. It hosts the Fethard Horse Museum in the Old Town Hall, a must for all horse enthusiasts. Not to forget as well that Coolmore Stud is just a stone’s throw from town.

And so it was we found ourselves on bank holiday Monday, in the small park between the Clashawley River and the historic town wall, first built in 1375 and among the best preserved of any in these islands. A portion of the town wall also serves as the back wall of the famed McCarthy’s hotel, that establishment providing hot port and other suitable hunting refreshments served up by the proprietor, Vincent (Jasper) Murphy. Mr. Murphy also doubles as the town undertaker. He is the fifth generation of his family since Richard McCarthy opened in 1852.

North Kerry Harriers at Glin Castle

north kerry castle.powerAnnual meeting of the North Kerry Harriers at Glin Castle /  Catherine Power photo

It has become something of a Christmas tradition for Catherine and me to visit the North Kerry Harriers at their invitation meet at Glin Castle in those days between Christmas and the New Year. This season the day fell on Sunday, December 29, 2019, and the keen, hard working hunt secretary, Shannon O’Mahony, was in overdrive. My computer and phone were in danger of collapse such was the volume of texts, emails, and What’s Apps describing the glory of Glin Castle and especially a sidesaddle day the hunt had organised.