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Going hunting in Ireland in November. (Gulp.) Who has advice/suggestions/guidance?!

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  • Going hunting in Ireland in November. (Gulp.) Who has advice/suggestions/guidance?!

    I'm starting to plan (mentally!) for 2 weeks at the West Waterford, a few miles from the shore between Waterford and Limerick.
    We're staying with a master of the WWFH and planning to ride-out with him and hunt, as well as go racing etc.
    I've never been to that part of Ireland (I only went 2x previous - both times to Dublin/Leopardstown, not in the least bit comparable.) So I want to make the most of my visit in terms of seeing stuff and doing stuff while at the same time maxing my riding/hunting in terms of .... not dying over the ditch and banks!
    Any advice, thoughts, stories, guidance, etc. warmly accepted.
    As my mom said, there is a short time period when one is old enough to afford to do this sort of trip-of-a-lifetime but young enough to actually do it!
    * www.huntersrest.net -- Virginia hunt country's best Bed-and-Breakfast-and-Barn.

  • #2
    Don't buy a horse! Every Irishman is a horseman with a horse for sale.
    "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths


    • #3
      Go and see the Cliffs of Moher and have lunch in Galway. The Burren is also interesting if you have extra time.

      Bring a couple of nice fox hunters home with you. If you don't need them, you should be able to sell them easily. Of course, you will probably fall in love and "need" them.


      • #4
        Bring home an Irish horse for me. Pretty please with sugar on top.

        Aall I can say is heels down and grab mane! Have a blast. I know you'll give us a full report of your adventure.
        Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
        Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
        -Rudyard Kipling


        • #5
          Lots of wool to keep you warm and dry.
          A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.


          • #6
            In 2002, I went on a trail ride while the guys were golfing. The particular barn was in Black and Tan country, and they said 'oh, dear, we only have a beginner ride scheduled for this afternoon.' I assured them that was fine, a leisurely stroll to admire the country from horseback was what I was looking for. The ride leader kept stopping the group and sending me to pop over things (I didn't ask, mind you, I think he was devilishly looking to provide some entertainment for the group), starting with downed trees. And we progressed to all manner of water jumps and ditches and banks. I was on a 4 yo mare who had finished her first season of hunting and the poor gal was cooked! I think we jumped 25 or 30 different things over the couple of hours. And the ride leader assured me I could come back and hunt w/ Scarteen any time.

            So I have no fear that you can go forth and hunt hard and have fun! I have not yet hunted in Ireland but by golly I'll get there. One piece of advice I do recall from friends who have been is, pick who you follow carefully. One friend picked a 'little old lady' to follow and nearly died- found out later that 'that lady is crazy, no one EVER follows her!).


            • #7
              I went in Jan 2012 (yeah, January, Ireland = WET and pretty cold) and it was one of the best experiences. I was a bit further north than where you are - you may find more ditches and drains than stone walls, but it's beautiful no matter where you go.

              Hang on and trust your horse. Lean back and kick. Bring 2 of everything, so when you get wet you can go again the next day - I thought my boots wouldn't survive b/c they got so wet one day, but 2 days of hanging over the radiator they were OK.

              You will go through/over more on a horse than you ever thought possible, and come home with a very different attitude about what constitutes "good" footing!

              Unlike American hunts there is no stirrup cup halfway through. You get on and you ride for 4 hours. So eat before you go (and use the loo before getting on) There are breaks while you wait for the hounds and sometime people had a flask they shared, but overall you will be out riding for several hours without much of a break. There were some hunts that had a lot of waiting but watching the hounds work is fascinating. The huntsmen/MFH are so skilled (Not to say that there are not skilled MFHs in the US) it is a treat to watch them work.

              Everyone was nice and welcoming.
              I cannot wait to go back and do it again.

              The Burren and Cliffs of Moher are excellent sites to see, and if you are in Limerick thy newly renovated King John's Castle museum will give you more Irish history than you can possibly remember (wait, who's the besieged? Who's attacking? Why? Who died and made this guy king? and where did he come from?) If you get up to the Connemara region, the Museum of Country Life is fascinating (and free) and the Dubarry Factory Outlet is a possible find and possible let-down. Mostly they make shoes for non-horsey people but they do have a few pair of the boots we Americans covet.


              • #8
                HR I'm now officially Pea Green with Jelousy

                Not enough for you to hunt in fabled VA, oh, no, HR must add Ireland to her resume.

                I'll retreat back to the farm in Kentucky, dreaming of the game rides you'll have while you are still young enough. Sadly for me, that ship has sailed, the Irish would ride right over me.


                • #9
                  Trust your horse and drink lots of sherry. Oh, and don't forget to go to Galway and eat the fresh oysters while looking out the pub windows at Galway Bay !


                  • #10
                    I went maybe 10 years ago or so; we hunted w/ the Galway Blazers - it was the first (and only ) time I ever hunted, but we had three great days, and some fun rides on the off days as well. Ask for a calm horse, trust it, and you will have a fabulous time. The Irish are very welcoming to their guests, and much less formal in their etiquette on the hunt. We didn't have ditchest to speak of, but one RULE that seemed to matter the most was "single file over the walls". This is primarily because they are not cemented together and thus get knocked down and have to be reconstructed after. So in the back of the group you end up jumping lower but wider. Enjoy, it probably wont be quite as chilly as the winter months. But please, have at least one hot whiskey for me!
                    Three months from now you will be shaking your head at the things you jumped...
                    We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........


                    • Original Poster

                      We're staying with the MFH - its not a hireling/thing. We'll have to ride ... what we're given.
                      1. I'll ask, obviously, but can I wear my black melton with colors (ODH/red collar) without looking like a doof?
                      2. What do I need for a cell phone charger/adapter thing and for my laptop?
                      3. Does Anthem/BC/BS health coverage extend overseas?
                      4. What about a driver's license? Do I need an international one?
                      5. What about taking a mac/barbour? Do they 'allow barbours' in bad weather?
                      6. Speaking of Barbours - does anyone know how/where to get my olde one re-waxed, and how much it'll cost me.

                      * www.huntersrest.net -- Virginia hunt country's best Bed-and-Breakfast-and-Barn.


                      • #12
                        Barbours and even rubber boots are acceptable. You'll see all sorts of attire on the huntfield in Ireland, including dealers' lads in clothing that bears little resemblance to anything you'd expect to see out hunting!


                        • #13
                          1. I'll ask, obviously, but can I wear my black melton with colors (ODH/red collar) without looking like a doof? Of course, they'll worry about you less and you can just shut up and let your riding show you're competent.

                          2. What do I need for a cell phone charger/adapter thing and for my laptop? Good voltage converter...get one for computers vs. hairdryers.

                          3. Does Anthem/BC/BS health coverage extend overseas? No, but the Irish National Health System should cover damages.

                          4. What about a driver's license? Do I need an international one? Yes

                          5. What about taking a mac/barbour? Do they 'allow barbours' in bad weather? Unless you're with a totally Toff hunt, of course.

                          6. Speaking of Barbours - does anyone know how/where to get my olde one re-waxed, and how much it'll cost me. Some dry cleaners will do it...some via posting it to them..don't know about cost nowadays.

                          Best suggestion...stay out of the horse's way, he knows what he's doing, don't interfere. Kick on and have fun. Bring kerchiefs to wife off the mud.
                          "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


                          • #14
                            Not sure about 1-5, but 6....I've rewaxed a couple of coats myself. Went to the Orvis store (or any that sell Barbours) and got a couple of cans of wax. A soft cloth and time in a warm spot and some elbow grease will get it done. Be sure to pay extra attention to the seams. I have sent mine off to Barbour to have repaired and rewaxed, but it can take FOREVER!! I wouldn't advise sending it to them now as you might not get it back in time.

                            Can't wait to read about your adventure and see lots of photos!!

                            A friend of mine went 15 years ago, not sure of the area visited, but they had ditches, drains and a few walls. She was warned prior to this particular wall that it had a drop on the other side. She thought she had prepared...She had, just not for THAT BIG OF A DROP. Her horse did wonderfully and she stayed in the tack, but broke her finger pushing off the horse's neck on the down side.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Hunter's Rest View Post
                              1. I'll ask, obviously, but can I wear my black melton with colors (ODH/red collar) without looking like a doof?

                              2. What do I need for a cell phone charger/adapter thing and for my laptop?

                              6. Speaking of Barbours - does anyone know how/where to get my olde one re-waxed, and how much it'll cost me.
                              When I hunted in Ireland, they had no problem with me wearing my colors -- but I was the only one wearing them, as they just aren't really seen all that often there. They are VERY welcoming, though.

                              I picked up a multi-country adapter at Target. It wasn't that expensive, and worked well. Mr. SSR was going to use one of the adapters for his cell phone that came with his phone, but the "English" one didn't fit, and the other European-type didn't work either, so it was a good thing I had the multi-adapter for us to charge our phones. Speaking of phones, make sure you call your service provider and do a global activation the day before you leave! I usually end up calling them as we are sitting in the wine bar at Dulles waiting for our flight.

                              As to your Barbour, as jawa said, just do it yourself! I have done mine and Mr. SSR's before, it isn't hard. Just pick up a couple of cans of the Barbour wax, sit in a warm area that you don't mind getting dirty, and rub a good coat of the wax in well. I then used a hand-held hair dryer on the LOW setting to partially dry it, and then hung it up in the bathroom on the shower curtain rod until completely dry and set. If it has been a long time since you waxed it, you may need to put a second coat on it to make it truly waterproof again.

                              As to other tips, remember to bring at least 2 hunt coats. My side saddle habit was soaked and plastered with mud. While it dryed overnight when I hung it up, that mud would not come out no matter how much we brushed it! It had to be dry cleaned. Hopefully you won't experience quite the weather conditions we did, but in case you do, you will need another coat to use while the other is getting cleaned.

                              And, DON'T forget to bring a good flask with you! You can buy some spirits to fill it once you get to Ireland, but EVERYONE there had one - sometimes two! - on them, and are quite keen to share.

                              Finally, I don't believe you do so, but if so, try to forget that you ever heard of a crest release. If you do that there, it is a good way to "buy a piece of Irish soil."
                              Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles


                              • #16
                                I've rented cars and driven in Ireland several times with just an American driver's license.


                                • #17
                                  Re the Barbour - I also did my own. Get the wax, warm it up in a pan of hot water so it will apply easier. Don't overcoat, but if you get some areas that seem heavy, go back w/ a hairdryer to soften up and spread. I'd suggest spreading an old sheet on the floor in front of TV, rent a movie that doesn't require 100% attention, and get to work. 2nd vote for attn. to seams. Its not rocket science, lol.
                                  I also rented a car and drove w/ only an Amer. license.
                                  We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........


                                  • #18
                                    2. What do I need for a cell phone charger/adapter thing and for my laptop?

                                    Make sure your phone service will work overseas. Mine (luddite) would not, so I just bought a cheap phone at the airport - you buy cards with minutes on them. You will need an adapter for the outlets. If you buy a phone there it will come with a charger cord.

                                    3. Does Anthem/BC/BS health coverage extend overseas? Don't know - my Harvard Pilgrim did. (not that I needed it)

                                    4. What about a driver's license? Do I need an international one?

                                    No, you can use your US license but insurance will be as much as the rental!

                                    5. What about taking a mac/barbour? Do they 'allow barbours' in bad weather? Depends but I think so. However, people do wear stock ties!



                                    • Original Poster

                                      Ok, now the real scoop - what's the deal with riding a ditch (and bank) in good order?
                                      I have the Limerick Harriers video (the one with just footage of people in and out (on and off!) on ditches/banks there. I need to watch it carefully, but some people just did it awful and others make it look easy, and they don't seem to be the 'pro's' or anything, just people who've figured out how to .. what -- kick on? Increase to the ditch? Grab mane? Collect and bounce-bounce-bounce into it? Eyes up? Heels down?
                                      I get it that crest release = disaster but I don't show enough to have had that drummed into muscle-memory.
                                      Any other riding-specific tips are most welcome.
                                      Here is the sales website for my host -
                                      So you see he's more MFH/breeder/show jumper trainer/father of a long-line of Irish twins than hireling-operator.
                                      * www.huntersrest.net -- Virginia hunt country's best Bed-and-Breakfast-and-Barn.


                                      • #20
                                        For non- hunting sight seeing, definitely go to the Dingle Peninsula (southwest Ireland),

                                        and Dysert O'Dea, just north of Limerick http://www.dysertcastle.com/home.htm

                                        If you have time to go further north, definitely drive along the Connemara coast.

                                        For moderen electonics, you don't need a voltage converter (that is already built into the power pack) just a plug converter.

                                        But do make sure your phone is set up for European use (technology as well as subscription)

                                        You don't need an International drivers license (the purpose of the Int'l drivers license is to translate the information on your license to another languages- not needed in English speaking countries, who can read the information on your US licnese without difficulty)

                                        chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).