Shocking footage has emerged of a sulky race early on Wednesday morning on the N22 Cork to Killarney Road in which carriages raced each other at 50-kilometre speeds through traffic and onto the hard shoulder.
The drivers were followed by at least two vehicles also occupying the hard shoulder at periods during the race.
Three occupants of one of the cars stood and leant out windows egging on the drivers with shouts and bad language.
Gardai in Killarney have seized one horse which may have been involved in the race, bringing to three the number of horses impounded in Killarney in the past few days.
Supt Flor Murphy of Killarney Gardai has appealed to witnesses for dash cam footage of the N22 race.
“We are investigating events surrounding a sulky race which we understand took place on the N22 at around 7am on Wednesday morning.
"We are satisfied this behaviour was witnessed by road users and we are appealing for witnesses and for dash cam footage.”
A well as the racing with horses on the public roadway, the Gardaí are looking into possible breach of road traffic laws by accompanying vehicles, Supt Murphy said.
Foul language and roars of “go on, you good thing,” can be heard in the recording of the race between Loo Bridge and Glenflesk village.
The footage was put up on Facebook and other social media but later taken down after a storm of criticism.
Killarney councillor Niall O’Callaghan (Ind) who viewed the footage before it was removed said: “I am absolutely disgusted. There was no regard for road safety — never mind Covid-19 and social distancing guidelines.”
He noted that as well as crossing over the white lines on the main road, they moved at speed around bends and narrowly avoided a bus.
Oncoming cars can be heard blowing their horns as the sulky race reaches “32 miles an hour,” speeds, according to the commentary on the footage.
It is the latest negative incident involving horses in Killarney.
Earlier in the afternoon Gardaí received a report of a horse in the water in Ross Castle and 14 males gathering, and not observing social distancing. That too was posted on social media.
And a horse was seized in the Ballyspillane area and taken to the Cork Pound on Wednesday night after complaints were received the horse was being driven around the estate with a very young child in charge.
The Ballyspillane area has been at the centre of a Traveller feud over the past 18 months.