Ireland ~ The Land of Horses

Summer GrazingHorses are a fundamental part of Ireland and Irishness. We stand tall on the world stage when it comes to horse-breeding, horse-racing, show-jumping and so many great names and places comes to mind when horses are mentioned in the Irish context.  How about Arkle, Redrum, Dawn Run, Moscow Flyer, Nijinsky, Shergar, Australia,  Vincent O’ Brien,  Tom Dreaper, Aidan O’ Brien, Jim Bolger, Capt. Michael Tubridy, Eddie Macken, Paul Darragh,  Coolmore Stud, The Curragh, Punchestown, Fairyhouse, Pat Taaffe,  Ruby Walsh, Barry Geraghty,  The Royal Dublin Horse Show,  Laytown Races …  just for starters?

Horses have always been part of my landscape. I loved hearing my father telling me about his younger brother, Michael, who was a world class show jumper and nothing soothed me more at bedtime than Mother telling me about her happy childhood days on a farm with her beloved pony, Jock.  I must have read every single book that was ever written about young girls and their ponies and was fortunate to be brought to places like the Dublin Horse Show and race meetings all round the country.

I have what I consider to be my very own ‘horse show’ here in Tramore every day when I bring the dogs out along Cliff Road to Newtown Wood. There is a field, with a spectacular view of  Tramore Bay, which is the grazing place of the friendliest horses I know. These are horses that trot gently over to the gate to be patted.  I could spend hours there running my fingers through their manes and gazing into their big brown eyes.

I guess most Irish people have a special field such as this in which noble, nuzzling friends reside and ones that evoke thoughts of echoing hooves and contented whinnying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Races at Tramore on New Year’s Day ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 22

New Year’s Day means horse-racing in Tramore and horse-racing is part of my bloodline! I’m proud to say that Tom Dreaper, who trained the great Arkle, was a beloved cousin of my late mother and that my mother’s sister, Audrey Hutchinson, bred Wayward Lad, who was so successful in the 1980s.

The Parade Ring, Tramore Racecourse
The Parade Ring, Tramore Racecourse

While Tramore may not be Cheltenham, it has huge significance in my calendar and the New Year’s Day Meeting is one which I always love.  This year lived up to all my expectations and there was that great mixture of serious racing and holiday spirit.  How better to spend an afternoon than soaking in the atmosphere at Tramore Racecourse ~ the power and magnificence of galloping horses; colourful silks; the roar of the crowd; views of the sea; fashion to beat fashion mingling with country style; steaming drinks and the scent of hot port wafting as people study race cards; the shouts of the bookies; and ‘Winner All Right’…..

Over the Last!
Over the Last!