with Horse and Hound

Thady Ryan: Three Centuries of Tradition at Scarteen

Thaddeus 'Thady' Ryan of Scarteen was Master of the family pack of Kerry Beagles from 1946 to 2005, the year of his passing. Records show this unique breed of hounds has been in the Ryan family at Scarteen for ten consecutive generations stretching back more than three centuries. The pack hunted hare in the earlier years, then the stag, and finally, in 1927, the fox.

thady ryan.cropThady Ryan, MFH, and Tommy O'Dwyer with the Scarteen Hounds at Knocktoran Bog, 1982.  /   From the painting by Peter Curling

The period from the early 1950s through the 1960s was an era of amateur Master/huntsmen where young men of some means would take on a pack of hounds more as an avocation than a job. I was fortunate to have hunted with many of them such as Thady Ryan in Scarteen, Evan Williams in Tipperary, Lord Daresbury in Limerick, Capt. Harry Freeman-Jackson in Duhallow, Victor McCalmont in Kilkenny, Elsie Morgan in West Waterford, and PP Hogan in Avondhu.

Over the next couple of months, I hope to bring short hunting biographies of these remarkable sportsmen, recalling a time of long days in the field and even longer hunts when the leading horsemen of those times flocked to Ireland to experience the magic and challenge of hunting in the south of Ireland.

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