I'm currently looking in to planning a trip to Ireland within the next year and while I'm over there I was hoping for the opportunity to hunt. If anyone has any stable suggestions, cities/countryside to see or any useful information regarding this idea I'd really appreciate it.
Popular hunting areas would be nice to know as well, so during our travels we can place ourselves near the area.
All these suggestions sound great. There's a group of us planning on going, but seeing as its so far in the future there's a possibility I might be going solo. To be quite honest I wouldn't even care if I went alone haha. Thanks guys, I'll look into all suggestions.
Just wanted to second the recommendation for Willie and Aille Cross. I went maybe 5 or 6 years ago and did a week of cross country riding and a day of hunting with the Galway Blazers. I was continuously amazed with the horses I rode. It was my first time hunting (okay, only time) and I had a blast! Willie is hillarious- search the evening forum for a thread on his use of the term Fookin'.
I have hunted with Willie Leahy and the Galway Blazers and I have hunted with John Kenney (www.fairymountfarm.com) and the Ormond and here is my two cents.
The Galway Blazers and Willy make quite a living out of entertaining folks from all over who want a real Irish hunting experience. They do a brilliant job.
But for my money I would hunt with the Ormand any week I could. There are the second oldest pack in Ireland, a farmer's hunt they would call themselves. Small and fun and very unspoiled by any standards. There will be a few visitors but not half the field. Its the real deal. The territory is inviting, the people even more so. Three years from my last hunt there when I showed up on a Kenny horse, wouldn't you know everyone was asking where I had been. Loved it.
So to me, hunting a big popular hunt is like booking a cruise or going to Disneyland. You know its going to be amazing but very packaged.For me, I like to get off the beaten path and do things on a smaller scale. John does not hire his horses out but there are some really great choices in Birr. Whatever you end up doing - you're sure to have a grand time.
I see someone has already recommended Clonshire Equestrian Centre and Dan and Sue Foley. In a previous life I worked with them A LOT and sent many folks over to Ireland to fox hunt. I can highly recommend them and their program.
If you want to hunt only, I'd be happy to reconnect with them to help you arrange it - get you connected with them OR, they offer what I think is a FANTASTIC program where you ride with them for a day or two and then you hunt. If you have never hunted in Ireland, I strongly urge you to consider doing something like this. Anyone who has hunted in Ireland will tell you that it is all shades of different than hunting in the USA.
You may also want to check out past issues of Covertside, as they have some great articles about hunting in Ireland.
Good luck and feel free to pm me if you want to chat about Dan and Sue Foley or get some help to arrange for hunts - even in two years time!
My brother did a cross-country trail trip with Willie Leahy and very nearly came home with the horse he was riding. My brother's been trying to convince me a trip to Ireland to hunt with the Blazers would be a perfect vacation. (I said I would meet them all in the pub afterwards.) While he hasn't had the foxhunting experience he had nothing but praise for Willie and would gladly go back. (Ideally this time with enough to ship the horse home.)