Gurtinard Wood; Early Autumn Morning
The Horse of the Year Show is called Hoys by everyone in the know. It is the pinnacle of achievement for a show horse. I was there last week at the NEC in Birmingham to watch the lovely Sonny Bill make his debut in the big arena, under lights.
These are the old owners: my brother Pat and his daughter Elizabeth with the new owner, Jane Collins. Jane is an MEP but she took annual leave to watch her new Irish hunter perform.
This is the big moment when Sonny Bill made his entrance into the big time. It's a long way now from hunting with The Duhallows in fields around Kanturk and Kilbrin.
Jane and her daughter, Rebecca had organised VIP seats for the visitors.
There were 22 horses in his class and the judges placed Sonny Bill 8th. This was a very satisfactory outcome for his first time in the big time. I'll let you in on a secret. Sonny was wearing hair extensions in his tail. It's all about appearance in showing....a kind of beauty pageant for horses.
Elizabeth was delighted with her rosette from HOYS. Sonny is still showing in her name even though he is no longer hers.
Pat and Elizabeth with Sonny Bill's new English friends.
Sue Walker and her husband Nigel run the yard where Sonny is liveried. Here Elizabeth is showing them the horse she intends buying next. They approved.
Hoys is a huge show with 250 retail stands. Unfortunately most of these were equine. There were some really entertaining shows in the arena. One of these was the Clydesdales.
This man was selling a Mojo. He had them for horses and humans and they are meant to cure all aches and pains. A few of our party fell for his patter. If there is a huge improvement in horse or man I'll let you know.
Listowel Square with St. John's
Have you ever Heard of Mumming?
At the moment I am continuing my research on Jimmy Hickey's life in dancing. One of the unusual things that came up was mumming. Jimmy Hickey and his dancers attended the Welsh Eisteddfod on several occasions. The only other representatives of Irish traditions was a group of Wexford mummers.
This is Sheila O'Connell's photo of the Wexford boys. Sheila was one of Jimmy Hickey's Sliabh Luachra dancers.
Mumming is an ancient Irish folk dance. The dancers hold sticks in their hands and clash the sticks as they perform the figures of the dance. The tradition is a bit like our wren boys and was often performed at Christmas time. John Kinsella, who hails from Co. Wexford remembers his father mumming.
This is Sheila O'Connell of Ballydesmond in her traditional Irish costume chatting to one of the mummers. Sheila is wearing the traditional hat worn by the mummers. That black one was the leader's hat. The rest of the dancers wore green and gold and their hats were a bit like a bishop's mitre.
This is Mary Doyle R.I.P. cooling off as she listens to the music. She is wearing a tr.aditional Welsh bonnet which many of the Irish contingent bought as souvenirs.
This is Jimmy Hickey and the Sliabh Luachra dancers. The box player is a very young Liam O'Connor
The March of Time
These photos are from the Ballyduff Facebook page. The first is rural electrification in the 1950s. The second photo is the laying of fibre optic broadband cable in 2016.