Limerick show to celebrate best of traditional Irish horse breeding

A new Festival of Traditional Irish Breeding will be held as part of the horse section at next weekend’s two day Limerick Show.

The show, which dates from the 1880s, will be held at Limerick Racecourse in Patrickswell on Aug 24 and 25.

Feature events of the traditional breeding festival on Sunday, will be the Limerick Lady and Matron championships.

Both classes are organised by the relaunched Traditional Irish Horse Association and have been the high points of the show for breeders and exhibitors since they were introduced many years ago.

Noted horsemen Thady Ryan and Major Jed O’Dwyer, and their colleagues saw the need for such classes to promote the indigenous breed.

The Limerick Lady competition is aimed at selecting the best two-year-old Irish-bred filly, while the Limerick Matron competition is for mares aged three and upwards who are in foal or have a foal at foot.

Top racehorse owner Jim Bolger, a former show jumping competitor, is sponsoring the Matron class.

Mr Bolger said he was very happy to do so.

“I’d like to give every encouragement to the people who breed these horses,” he said.

Hugh Leonard, chairman of the Traditional Irish Horse Association, said Mr Bolger’s sponsorship showed the wide-ranging support for traditional breeding in Ireland.

Limerick Show has a long history of showcasing quality cattle and horses from some of the country’s top breeders.

Beef and dairy cattle exhibitors from as far away as Donegal have entries in the livestock classes while the horse section is also well supported.

Records show that patrons who attended the show at Greenpark Racecourse in 1929 paid one shilling for the catalogue.

It carried not alone the names and addresses of the exhibitors but also the breeding of the horses and cattle entered.

The entry fee for the half-bred brood mare class in the horse section was ten shillings and the first prize was £7.

Exhibitors included Ellen Whelan, Fedamore; James P Frost, Summerhill House, Cratloe, Co Clare; and Joseph Hayes, Corlish, Pallasgreen.

It cost 7/6 to enter an animal in the pedigree Shorthorn section where the class winners received a prize of £5.

Among the exhibitors were the Earl of Dunraven, Adare, Bridget Buckley, Kilcoleman, Patrickswell, and Denis O’Regan, Pruntus, Charleville, Co Cork.

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