with Horse and Hound

Noel Mullins

Two hunstmen in red coats, on horses with a pack of hounds

The Wicklow Foxhounds meet at Coolgreany County Wicklow

The world-famous Cooley Farm Irish Draughts hunted with the Wicklow Foxhounds in Coolgreany this past month.
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huntsman and riders in red coats with hounds at the dublin horse show ring

Michael Dempsey MFH Appreciation

Michael Dempsey MFH, a household name in hunting circles all over the world, sadly passed away last week at age 98, in the loving care of his son Tom and his wife Mairead. He hunted the Galway Blazers for 20 seasons and was Joint Master for 40 seasons. His son Tom followed as huntsman for another 20 seasons. Michael also hunted Lady Molly Cusack-Smith’s Bermingham & North Galway Hounds and the East Galway Hounds, which possibly made him the only huntsman to hunt all of the County Galway foxhound packs.
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Meath Foxhounds huntsman John Henry and whipper in Barry Finnegan with the hosts of the meet Charlie Noell owner of Ardbraccan and Serina Williams Ellis at Ardbraccan House 1

The Meath Foxhounds at Ardbraccan House County Meath Ireland

 Meath Foxhounds huntsman John Henry and whipper in Barry Finnegan with the hosts of the meet Charlie Noell owner of Ardbraccan and Serina Williams Ellis at Ardbraccan House 1Meath Foxhounds huntsman John Henry and whipper-in Barry Finnegan with the hosts of the meet, Charlie Noell owner of Ardbraccan, and Serina Williams Ellis at Ardbraccan House . Photo by Noel Mullins.

Noel Mullins gives a hunt report from last November about a meet of the Meath Foxhounds at Ardbraccan House in County Meath, Ireland.

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north galway huntsman David Masterman

North Galway Foxhounds at Canavans’ Bar, Belclare

north galway huntsman David MastermanNorth Galway huntsman David Masterman and hounds   /  Noel Mullins photo

The history of foxhunting in North Galway goes back to the Galway Blazers, who hunted the county of Galway before lending the northern portion to the Bermingham & North Galway Foxhounds. That hunt was founded by Sir Dermott and Lady Molly Cusack Smith in 1946. Lady Molly was the principal huntsman and Master. In 1985, her active participation in the field having waned, the hunt was renamed the North Galway Foxhounds. Lady Molly, who also had the distinction of being the only lady to hunt the Galway Blazers pack, continued as a Master of the North Galway until her death in 1998. Her daughter Oonagh Mary was also a Joint-Master with her, and her grand-daughter Joanna Hyland follows in her footsteps as a Joint-Master of the North Galway and, currently, the Galway Blazers.

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Chairman of NARGC Sean Doris Minister for Arts Heritage the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan Gilbert De Turckheim President FACE Europe Oliver Russell Chairman FACE Ireland

Preserving Wildlife and Habitat through Cooperation, Not Conflict

Chairman of NARGC Sean Doris Minister for Arts Heritage the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan Gilbert De Turckheim President FACE Europe Oliver Russell Chairman FACE Ireland(l-r) NARGC Chairman Sean Doris, Minister for Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan, FACE Europe President Gilbert De Turckheim, and FACE-Ireland Chairman Oliver Russell / Noel Mullins photo

Irish Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan gave the keynote address at a two-day meeting of FACE (Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation) during Ireland’s presidency of the EU in Dublin. In sharp contrast to the attitude of his predecessor, Minister Deenihan’s presence was a welcome breath of fresh air to supporters of hunting, wildlife preservation, and the countryside in Ireland.

FACE is an international organisation that builds bridges between European legislative bodies and the representatives of civil society who stand for sustainable hunting and conservation in Europe. As such, it represents the interests of seven million hunters in thirty-eight countries including the twenty-seven EU countries, making it the largest democratically representative body for hunters in the world.

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The Horsemen of Wexford

wexford.gate.mulliinsLillian Doyle, five-times ladies point-to-point champion, out with the Wexford from a meet at her father's pub / Noel Mullins photo

What better place to end the season than with the Wexford Foxhounds at John Jude Doyle’s Cloch Ban Pub in Clonroche, County Wexford? Inside there is a picture on the wall of Bree Foxhounds Joint-Master Jay Bowe having a drink sitting on his horse beside the bar!

Doyle is a director of The Irish Horse Board and Horse Sport Ireland, and one can see why. He has an infectious enthusiasm about the Irish horse as a breeder, producer, and organiser of schools, shows, and gymkhanas. He has campaigned his Irish Draught mare Cloghbawn Cailin and her filly Cloghbawn Liaght on the show circuit. Doyle’s daughter Lillian won the Ladies Point-to-Point Jockey Championship five times. His uncle Jim Joyce bred Parkhill, evented by the late Col. Ronnie MacMahon, and his track greyhound Temple na Dubh won seven nights in succession in Shelbourne Park!

Master and huntsman Mary Kehoe is gifted as a handler of horses and hounds and has hunted the Wexford Foxhounds for nine seasons and the Bree Foxhounds for the last twenty-three seasons, hunting hounds four days a week. Her sister Muriel whips in to her. Their father Owen was Field Master of the Island and hunted the Bree. The other whippers-in are Michael Condon, a formidable rider, and former jockey Padraig English, who won three races on the great steeplechaser Danoli. All of them hunt across country on a simple mathematical principle: the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, and whatever obstacle is on that line is crossed regardless of complexity! But they can because they produce and ride only the very best hunt horses.

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east galway3.mullins.Joe Cavanagh

The East Galway Foxhounds at Taughmaconnell

east galway3.mullins.Joe CavanaghJoe Cavanagh, MFH flies a stone wall / Noel Mullins photo

A Dublin-based journalist once wrote that the only way you would find the village of Taughmaconnell in County Roscommon was if you took a wrong turn! But this is far from the truth, and in fairness he later wrote that if one wanted a world free from distraction, then Taughmaconnell was the place!

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Cheshire Hon Whip Paddy Neilson Huntsman Ivan Dowling Prof Whip Stephanie Boyer at Brooklawn

Cheshire Centennial Meet at Brooklawn

Cheshire Hon Whip Paddy Neilson Huntsman Ivan Dowling Prof Whip Stephanie Boyer at BrooklawnCheshire Honorary Whipper-In Paddy Neilson, Huntsman Ivan Dowling, and professional whipper-in Stephanie Boyer at Brooklawn  /  Noel Mullins photo

Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds (PA), founded in 1912, are celebrating their Centennial this season. W. Plunkett Stewart, a Philadelphia banker, set out to find the perfect hunting country and settled on the rolling hills, rich pastureland and extensive woods around Unionville. As what in modern terms could be classed as a committed environmentalist, he purchased thousands of acres of land and, before reselling, amended deeds to restrict development and nurture conservancy, clean water, and natural habitat. As a result of his efforts and the culture of conservation he passed on, the Cheshire hunting country today boasts thirty square miles and twenty-six thousand acres free from ribbon residential and commercial development that has allowed foxhunting and National Hunt racing to thrive.

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Commander Bill King

Commander Bill King: A Life Lived to the Fullest Measure

Commander Bill KingWilliam Donald Aelian "Bill" King died recently at the magnificent age of 102 at his home, Oranmore Castle, in County Galway, Ireland. He was a highly decorated submarine commander, a world renowned sailor, boxer, athlete, organic farmer, writer, and family man.

Also, he was a lifelong follower of both the Galway Blazers and Lady Molly Cusack Smith’s Bermingham & North Galway Foxhounds, with his late wife, the author Anita Leslie, whom he met in Lebanon during the war in 1940. Anita was a daughter of Sir John Randolph Leslie and Marjorie Ide, a daughter of General Henry Clay Ide, a former American Ambassador to Spain and Governor of the Philippines. Anita had been previously married to the well known Russian cavalry officer Colonel Paul Rodzianko who was appointed chief instructor of the Irish Army Equitation School in 1928. She wrote seventeen books, including Lady Randolph Churchill, The story of Jenny Jerome, the life of Sir Winston Churchill’s mother, and Sir Francis Chichester, the biography of the famous round the world yachtsman.

Bill held the distinction of being the only submarine commander to command a British submarine on the first and last days of World War II, such were the perils of such a dangerous command. He was also the last surviving submarine commander of the British Navy from the last war.

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john pickering

John Pickering and the End of an Era

john pickeringJohn Pickering, one of Irish foxhunting’s witty raconteurs and colorful characters, passed away recently in his adopted town of Tuam, County Galway, Ireland. In his career he hunted the East Down Foxhounds, the Golden Vale Foxhounds, the Oriel Harriers, and was whipper-in and huntsman to the legendary Master of the Bermingham and North Galway Foxhounds, the late Lady Molly Cusack-Smith.

I first met him when he was hunting the Oriel Harriers in the 1980s. At a meet north of Dundalk, in County Louth, hounds put a fox away from  Bell’s Covert, but he only ran a couple of hundred yards before going to ground in an earth in the middle of a field. To make matters worse his best hound Heckler was down in the earth with only his stern in view. Pickering sat casually back in the saddle and remarked, “I think I will have to take that hound to a shrink.”

“Why”, I asked, to which Pickering replied, “Because he thinks he’s a bloody terrier!”

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