Irish hunt meet


Well-Known Member
17 July 2008
I'm usually over in the tack room as I haven't hunted since I went out a handful of times as a teenager, many years ago. Just wanted to share my experience today, I moved to Ireland over a year ago but this is the first time I witnessed one of their hunts.

I was over at the local tourist town for the day who were having a festival (food market, bouncy castle etc. in the various pub gardens ). On the timetable was the hunt meeting at the pub at the centre of town "riding off at 12" - this is a town of narrow, one-way streets with no real village green or square. I assumed they were going to actually meet at the nearby equestrian centre and then ride over to the pub for a stirrup cup and tourist photo op - but was totally wrong.

We wandered down at 12 and at first thought it had been cancelled as no sign of anything, but then a few lorries and trailers started to arrive and park up where they could - mostly on the main road through town which is also the main road to Connemara from Galway / the rest of the country. The local cop turned up to direct traffic. Everyone went into the pub and about 15 mins later the cop got bored and either left or joined them (didn't see him again).

We happened to be around at 1:30 when they started to pile out of the pub (a lot more lorries and trailers were now littering the place). Everyone unloaded the horses into the roads, mingling with the cars, tourists, coaches etc and started to gather on the pavements and around the parked cars in the main road. The only sign of organisation was the occasional "get your horses arse out of the road" from an older man to a teenager. They all kind of meandered about giving kids rides on the front of the saddle or going for a canter up the main road if a horse was threatening to rear from boredom.

The hounds were unloaded and were taken on a tour of the town by a small mounted group (presumably the huntsman and whippers in), popping into the occasional front garden to water the plants! When the hounds got back they headed up a side street. About 5 mins later the rest of the field realised they weren't coming back and cantered off after them. Of course the whole town was still blocked up with trailers and lorries, though the traffic did start to gradually clear.

Despite the total chaos no-one was hurt and everyone seemed pretty relaxed, even the car and coach drivers threading their way through the parked vehicles and over-excited horses.

My (non-horsey) parents were with me and were a bit stunned by the whole thing. Still somehow it all seemed very authentically Irish!

I took a pic of some of the field (pictured blocking the only bridge in and out of town :) ):