Noel Mullins, lifelong foxhunter and sporting photo/journalist in Ireland, and a frequent contributor to Foxhunting Life, launches his new book at the Dublin Horse Show this week.
The Dublin Horse Show: Pictures of My Memories is packed with eight hundred images of the world-famous show, selected from more than ten years-worth of thousands of Mullins' show photographs as well as other historical images. Matthew Dempsey, past-president of the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) has written the Foreword.
First held in 1864, the Dublin Horse Show featured a “Leaping Competition” (as it was then known) in 1868. The first winner was Richard Flynn, a sheep farmer from County Roscommon, on his hunter Shaun Rhue. He shared a prize fund of £55 but sold the horse to Squire Conolly of Castletown House, the founder of the Kildare Foxhounds for £1,000. He jumped six feet one-and-one-half inches over the Stone Wall.
The photographs of many household names are featured in Mullins’ book: Tommy Wade, Eddie Macken, Capt. Con Power, Frances Cash, Nat Galway-Greer, Tommy Brennan, Paul Darragh, Bertram Allen, Cian O’Connor, Iris Kellett, Seamus Hayes, Jack and Maurice Bamber, Michael Hickey, and the Irish Army Team that won the Aga Khan Cup four years in a row. Another special person, Dorothea Findlater, was interviewed in 2016 at the age of 108, making her the oldest known competitor and spectator.
The book also covers the recent visit by the Princess Royal, and that of singer/songwriter Bruce Springsteen and his wife Patti to see their daughter Jessica compete on the winning USA Aga Khan team. For those who missed the RDS Library & Archives Exhibitions, there are images from “The History of the Dublin Horse Show;” “The Army Equitation School;” “Ninety Years of the Aga Khan Cup;” “Iris Kellett, the Showjumping Legend;” “Tommy Brennan, the Complete Horseman;” and “The Hume Dudgeons, Scenes from the Life of an Equestrian Family.”
Not to be missed are images of the arrival of the Dublin Lord Mayor, who officially opens the show, in his magnificent gold-gilded coach built in 1789 and drawn by four horses. The book moves on to the Parade of Nations and the presentation by the President of Ireland of the Aga Khan Cup to the winning nation. Following that is a pictorial guide through the Grand Prix, Puissance High Wall, Young Riders, Ridden and In Hand Hunter Classes, including the Supreme Hunter Champion of the Show, Cobs, Coloured Horses, Mares and Foals, the elegance of the Side Saddle, Horse Racing Heroes in the Racehorse to Riding Horse Class, native breeds of Irish Draughts, Connemara Ponies, Three-Year-Old Loose Jumping, Children Lead Rein and First Ridden, Stallion Parade, Breeders Championship, Young Eventers, Parade of Champions led by hunting packs, Champions Lap of Honour, the excitement of the Hunt Chase, Pony Club Games, Riding for the Disabled, Carriage and Scurry Driving, Awards, Children Entertainment, High Fashion, and especially the stunning Ladies Hats, Craft Awards, Display Stands and Equestrian Entertainment by the Ukrainian Cossacks, Lorenzo and his Camargue Horses, Jean Francois Pignon and his Liberty Horses, and the ever popular American horseman Monty Roberts.
This book offers a permanent memory for anybody who has had the good fortune to attend the famous Horse Show, and a further incentive for those who are yet to come. The Dublin Horse Show show runs for five days each year in the heart of Dublin City. It is attended by over 100,000 spectators, many from overseas, with entries of over 1,600 horses and ponies, competing in 130 classes for over one million Euros in prize money.
Books are available by visiting Mullins’ website.
Posted August 7, 2018
* Matthew Dempsey is also chairman of the Irish National Stud and the Agricultural Trust that features amongst its titles, The Irish Field and The Farmers Journal, the best known Irish publications for both comprehensive coverage of all disciplines of Thoroughbred and Sport Horse equestrian activities and farming.