Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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The North Tipperary at Loughton House

North Tipps at Loughton House.powerVisitor Tony Holdsworth, retired huntsman for the Duke of Beafort's (UK) wears the green livery of his former hunt. Center is Denis Gilmartin, Master and huntsman of the North Tipperary. To the right on the gray is Rose Scanlon, mounted side-saddle. To the right again, on the gray and bay horses, are Loughton House hosts, Dr. Michael Lyons and Dr. Andrew Vance, MFH.  /   Catherine Power photo

It’s been a couple of seasons since we were with the North Tipperary Foxhounds (IRE). A visit was overdue, so when we heard through Arabella Scanlon whom we met last year in East Clare that a very special lawn meet was upcoming at Loughton House, we jumped at the opportunity. Set in more than a hundred acres of fabulous park and farmland in the small village of Moneygall, the eighteen-bedroom estate straddles the Tipperary-Offaly border and, likewise, the border between the North Tipperary and Ormond hunting countries.

Loughton is just a stone’s throw from Barak Obama Plaza. The U.S. President, traveling in the footsteps of his mother’s family, visited Moneygall in 2011.

The Meath Foxhounds at Scut Fagans Pub

Meath Foxhounds honorary whipper in Johnny Clarke outside Scut Fagans BarMeath Foxhounds honorary whipper-in Johnny Clarke outside Scut Fagans pub  /   Noel Mullins photo

Scut Fagans Pub
Those who missed the Meath Foxhounds’ meet at Scut Fagans pub in Moynalvey missed one of the best hunts of the season. But more of that later.

The pub is a step back in time and so tiny that if you are having a drink and standing against the back wall, you probably could still reach the bar! With its galvanized roof, Scut Fagans has probably been there since pre-history! It has been short-listed as one of the top eighteen Irish pubs one should visit before retiring to that great hunting field in the sky. 

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.

The East Galway at McDonagh’s Pub, Tynagh

East Galway Foxhounds huntsman Liam McAlinden moving off at the meet from McDonaghs Pub in TynaghHuntsman Liam McAlinden and foxhounds move off from McDonagh’s Pub in Tynaugh. / Noel Mullins photo

As the end of the season approaches, it has not come soon enough for some East Galway followers. The hunt could open a hospital casualty ward what with old foxhunting injuries resurrecting themselves—niggling joints, dodgy knees, frozen shoulders, and sore hips. Joint-Master Joe Cavanagh has just had knee surgery, and remarkably he was following by car a few days afterwards. One hunt follower I met was walking very bandy, like a jockey, and he admitted that he would definitely not be able to block a terrier in a corridor! But the East Galway followers are made of stern stuff and despite their temporary handicaps they all look fine when mounted on their hunters!

To further compound matters, some of the hunt horses also need rest. But East Galway has a reputation for producing top-class show jumping and eventing horses, and despite their value they are not being kept in cotton wool; they are being called into action to get followers to the end of the season. No doubt a bit of serious hunting will sharpen them up for the competition season.