It was going to take something a bit special to snatch the limelight from the weekend visit of President Michael D Higgins to Killarney, Co Kerry.
And it came courtesy of a chance encounter between a TV star mother of eight and a famous stud pony who has sired more than 140 foals.
Less than 24 hours after President Higgins held centre stage when he unveiled a Tidy Towns competition winner’s plaque at the town hall, the spotlight switched to RTÉ’s Miriam O’Callaghan when she presided at a community awards ceremony.
And not that she seemed to care, she had to share the limelight with a macho Kerry bog pony by the name of Flashy Fox.
The pony’s breeding habits has played a massive part in bringing the rare Kerry bog breed back from the brink of extinction. Decades ago, only 20 of the bog ponies existed and Flashy Fox was the lone stallion.
Since then, he has sired more than 140 foals to help secure a healthy future for one of the country’s oldest and most unique equine breeds.
Breeders of the Kerry bog pony from all over the country gathered at Flashy Fox’s home place in Glenbeigh, Co Kerry, at the weekend where the ponies were DNA-tested to establish their pedigree.
And yesterday Flashy Fox got the chance to get up close to Miriam who walked and groomed him at the annual Kerry Community Awards presentation in Killarney’s Dromhall Hotel.
The Kerry bog pony won the overall heritage prize at yesterday’s awards ceremony which sparked great celebrations for fans of the prized animal.
“It’s a fantastic success for a wonderful breed of pony,” said the animal’s owner John Mulvihill.
“When the Celtic Tiger came into Ireland, he clawed and mauled his way around the country and all the time the bog pony stood on the headlands and waited, bearing silent witness to the destruction. Now this is his day,” he said.
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