An Irish Hunting Holiday for the English

From day one of studying in England, I couldn’t miss the regard people held for hunting in Ireland. I didn’t really understand it and had imagined hunting in the UK couldn’t have fallen short. After more than three years of talk about this ‘bucket list’ experience, I said it was time to fill this void in their lives! I chose to bring them over for the hunt and the hunt ball.

I rounded up three of my friends, confident that they would meet the demands of the experience, and the planning began.

Flights were easy- Shannon airport is just a half hour from where I live. Horse hire and tickets were taken care of by a committee member of the Limerick Harriers hunt- they were particularly well handpicked and very reasonably priced. And it was as easy as that!

Emma, Izzy and Zoe arrived in on Friday morning, ahead of hunting on Saturday. Shannon airport is located between Limerick and Clare. I collected the girls from the airport and we headed for the coast of Clare so that they could see some of the Wild Atlantic Way. A lovely lunch, amazing views, cocktails in Donald Trump’s hotel and a swim in the Atlantic gave the girls a good taste of Clare. Once home, a few drinks with dinner calmed the nerves ahead of hunting the next day.

Enjoying a drink at Trump’s hotel in DoonbegFirst stop- pints of Guinness

On Saturday morning we simply had to get ourselves ready and arrive to the hunt meet to be fed, the girls got to try their first hot whiskeys and our horses were ready for road.

All aboard! Pre hunting food and drinks

We had an incredible days hunting. Plenty adrenaline spiking dikes and ditches- tested the nerves and abilities of each of us. We knew the horses under us had done it all before. Guidance to ‘hold on to the neck straps and not interfere with the horses’ got each of the girls to the other side and galloping through to the next obstacles.

We ended with a wash down in the Morningstar river and a pint in the pub. A quick dash was then made to get home, showered and dressed up for the ball. A very late night and morning full of ‘potato pooping’ races and Irish dancing brought our hunt day to an end.

On Sunday we wrapped the visit up with a relaxed walk at Lough Gur before dropping the girls to the airport. An incredible weekend.