Green Glens set to gallop into horse show celebrations

THE memories will come galloping back at the Green Glens of Millstreet over the next four days as 30 years of the celebrated horse show are marked.

It all began on a small scale at the local Town Park in 1973 and later moved to what is now the 50-acre Green Glens complex.

Noel C and Maureen Duggan and their family, with strong community support, developed the event into an international fixture.

It attracted horses and riders from all over the world, was widely acclaimed and was shown on television in various countries.

Britain’s Harvey Smith and David Broome were the first of the top riders to compete at Millstreet but they were followed over the years by many others.

Royalty too competed at the show with Princess Martha Louise of Norway and Jordan’s Princess Haya tackling the challenges of Green Glens.

On another occasion, fire gutted the then indoor arena one show morning, but the schedule still went ahead only a few minutes behind time.

The indoor arena was soon replaced with a spacious modern complex that was to become a showpiece in itself as a

multiple-use venue.

It hosted the Euovision Song Contest, World Cup show jumping qualifiers, concerts and many other major events.

These included two world boxing title bouts in which Steve Collins defeated Chris Eubank and later Neville Browne.

The show and all that has developed from it has also boosted Millstreet’s economy, increased the community’s self-belief, resulted in the town’s infrastructure being improved and helped to develop the country’s sport horse industry.

Many horses discovered and bought at Millstreet went on to compete at the top level in show jumping and eventing in many parts of the world.

Now a national rather than an international fixture, this week’s show will see 1,850 horses and ponies chasing 100,000 prize money in 62 classes including the Calor Gas Speed Derby on Saturday and the Dairygold Grand Prix on Sunday.

Show director Thomas Duggan said everything is in place for exciting jumping in seven different arenas at Green Glens, where there is stabling for over 900 horses or ponies.

Crowds from all over the country are expected to attend and, as a thank you to all who have supported the show over the years, the Duggan family has announced that admission will be free.

Noel C Duggan said yesterday the gesture will celebrate the fact that the show has been held without a break for 30 years.

Asked when international jumping might return to Green Glens, the man the media once dubbed The Master of Millstreet, showed he has not lost any of his quickfire replies.

It would not happen, he said, until there is change in the entrenched regime that deals with international show jumping in Ireland.

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