Bernard M. J Fitzpatrick.

Irish sport and sportsmen online

. (page 16 of 25)
Online LibraryBernard M. J FitzpatrickIrish sport and sportsmen → online text (page 16 of 25)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

ing ; but during this most desperate chase, George Jackson rode,
as usual, with the hounds, as did also Lord Rossmore, Colonel
Eyre, Messrs. Fitzgibbon, Henry Westenra, Richard Falkiner, and
Burton Persse, all through."

•' By Jove ! what a run ; but twenty-five miles at


the pace hounds generally go now would be too much
of a good thing."

" Oh, decidedly so."

"Who had the hounds after 1810?"

'' The late Viscount Lismore again hunted the
country, and kept his hounds at Peterfield. The Hon.
George O'Callaghan kept hounds at Knocknacree-
wood House, and hunted the country for several
years, having for his huntsman the celebrated Tony

" He was a first-class rider and huntsman, I be-

" He was — no better. He was whip to the ' Blazers'
before he came to Ormond, and graduated under the
famous Sam Smith, who was hunt-servant to the
Persse family for many years, and a noted huntsman."

'* Well, who was the next master?"

•* Captain John Hammersly, who kept his hounds,
as a subscription pack, at Northlands, near Clough-
jordan, which is about the centre of the Ormond hunt-
ing-district. He had a very good pack of fine, big,
symmetrical-looking, brindled hounds that were bred
mostly from the kennel of Mr. Hedges Eyre of
Macroom Castle.; and he got some drafts from the
Duke of Rutland."

" You say this pack was kept by subscription —
who were the most liberal subscribers ? "

*' Lords Clanricarde, Lismore, Dunally, Bloomfield,
Clonbrock, Messrs. Thomas Ryder Pepper of Laughton,
and Otway Cave, were subscribers of ^50 a year each ;
and there were over forty members of the hunt who
dined together at Brindley's hotel, Nenagh, twice
every winter."


" Mr. Ryder Pepper was killed out hunting?"

''Yes; poor fellow! On Captain Hammersley's
death, the Ormond Hounds were kept by William
Smith of Northlands, under a committee of George
Jackson, Richard Falkiner, and Richard Bayley.
Afterwards George Minchin of Busherstown kept
them for four years. Then the Hon. Colonel Wes-
tenra kept the hounds at Sharavogue for about seven
years, ending 1837."

" The hunt was known as the ' Ormond and King's
County Hunt' then?"

" Yes ; Colonel Westenra was father-in-law to the
present Earl of Huntington, and was one of the
greatest supporters of the Irish turf."

•' He was ; 1 know he commenced to hunt the
country in 1830, at least there's a verse of an old
hunting song that says so."

" I remember it. During the years 1 838-9, Captain
Launcelot Bayley, 68th Regiment, kept them, hunting
Upper Ormond only ; Eyre Baldwin of Bellepark hunt-
ing Lower Ormond."

" Who were the best horsemen in your country
about this time, can you tell me?"

"Up to 1839, amongst the best sportsmen and
horsemen in the Ormond country were, George Smith
of Gurteen, who was celebrated as a steeplechase ridet,
George Jackson of Mount Pleasant, Thomas Brereton
of Raththurles, Richard Falkiner (4 th Dragoon Guards)
of Mount-Falcon, Alexander Carew of Killcarron, John
Brereton of Oldcourt, Sir Thomas Dancer, Bart,, of
Modoneey, Richard^ Bayley of Ballinaclough, Cooper
Crawford of Rapla, Caleb Going of Traverston, John
Falkiner of Willsboro', John Tuthill of Riverview,


Thomas Ilackett of Riverview, Thomas Spunner of
Clyduff (both these gentlemen died about ten or twelve
years ago), Henry Allen of Shan bally, Joseph Falkiner,
of Rodeen, Captain Tom Middleton of Elm-hill, Wil-
liam Kennedy of Bantiss, and, some years later,
Thomas Hemsworth of Abbeyville, and Thomas Smith
of Silver-hill. In 18 ^,9, Thomas Stoney of Kyle-park,
near Borrisokane, kept the Ormond Hounds, and con-
tinued to do so for four or five years."

** Who was his huntsman ? "

" Denis Coughlan."

" Who succeeded Mr. Stoney?"

'* A sportsman of whom you have often heard, Mr.
James Drought of Banagher. Yes, he was the best
of sportsmen and most genial of friends. Richard
Conroy was his huntsman, with Tom Mara, as first
whip, whose voice it was a treat to hear, when those
fine hounds would answer as if by magic with a crash."

" Mr. Drought was a supporter of steeplechasing
as well as of the sister-sport, fox-hunting, I think."

" He was ; with the Cob, Smerger, Mountjoy, and
other chasers, to wit, the celebrated Dan O'Connell,
with Charley Canavan (father of the present fine
horsemen, David and Willie), made the extraordinary
fly of thirty-two feet over the down fence at Lisma-
crorry, while racing for the cup, which Mr. Drought
won two previous years, with the renowned chaser
' The Cob,' ridden by the greatest horseman of the
day, Mr. Kelly, and by whom, though then supposed
to be a second string, this much-coveted prize was
won for the third and final win, when O'Connell broke

"Mr. Drought resigned in 1849, I think. ^"


"He did. In 1850, Wills Gason (now Colonel) of
Kilteelagh kept the hounds at Richmond, near Nenagh,
for three seasons, hunting Ormond, and William Ralph
hunted them ; he was formerly huntsman to Mr. J.
Minnitt of Annabeg. Mr. Alexander Disney kept the
Ormond Hounds atBellgrove for two seasons, and Giles
Morgan was his huntsman. The Hon. Fred Yelverton
kept the Ormond Hounds for two seasons at Belleisle ;
a man named Dan Grennan hunted them during that
period. Captain Saunders had a first-class pack for
several seasons, and hunted the Ormond country."

** Where did he keep them ? "

*' At Ballinderry-park ; and, after him, Toler Wolfe
had them for two seasons, 1864-5, at South Hill, near

" Who succeeded him ? "

*' Fitzwilliam Walshe, who also hunted the country
for two seasons ; his kennels were at Ballinaclough,
and Dennis carried the horn. Mr. Walshe, at his own
expense, purchased some very valuable hounds, which
he added to the pack; when he resigned, in 1867, he
presented them to the hunt. Captain George Stoney
of Kyle-park took them for three seasons, and Thomas
Ryan (father of Tom Ryan, the steeplechase jockey)
hunted them. Then Mr. George Jackson of Rapla
kept them for two years ; he carried the horn himself,
and Mr. Wallis was first whip. In 1872, Lord Hastings
(now Earl of Huntington) reunited Ormond and King's
County, once more revived the prestige of the old
Ormond and King's County Hunt, and hunted both
districts with great success up to 1876, when he re-
signed the Ormond country, presenting that hunt with
twenty-one couple of hounds."


"Who is now master of the Ormonds?"

"Mr. W. Trench of Congort-park, Roscrea ; a
good sportsman ; he hunts the pack himself; J. Smyth
is first whip and kennel huntsman, and T. Smyth second
whip. There are about twenty-one couple of hounds
at present in the kennels, at Ballingarry, Shinrone.
Lord Huntington keeps the King's County Hounds at
his own place, Sharavogue, Roscrea, and has twenty-
five-and-a-half couple of hounds. Tuesdays and Fri-
days are his hunting-days. The ' Ormonds' hunt on
Wednesdays and Saturdays. As huntsman and master,
Lord Huntington has acquitted himself in a manner
worthy of commendation. He turns out his servants
and hounds in Ai style, is a good man across country,
and possesses all the best qualities of an Irish sports-
man. Mr. Assheton Biddulph of Rathrobbin, King's
County, is first whip ; an enthusiastic sportsman,
fine rider, remarkable for his bonhomie^ and a uni-
versal favourite ; he, in many points of character, re-
sembles what his father was, when he, some fourteen
years ago, and for many seasons previous, kept an
excellent pack of harriers. The late Mr. Biddulph
was an old and staunch patron of the turf, and had
many very good race horses. John Fitzgerald is
first whip and kennel huntsman. I may tell you the
Ormond Hunt Races were formerly held at Gren-
nanstown, Ballygibbin, Lismacrorry, and later at Nor-
wood, near Nenagh, and Kylenagoona, near Borriso-

"Now, will you kindly tell me something about
the hunting-country ?"

" The Ormond hunting country (North Tipperary)
extends from the River Brosna, the county bounds


near Birr, southward to Kilboy, near the silver mines
at the foot of Keeper Range, a distance of about
twenty-five miles, and from Lough Derg to Longford
Wood, on the Templemore road, about fifteen or six-
miles from west to east.

"The country is particularly adapted to fox-hunt-
ing, being generally a high-lying limestone district,
rideable at most seasons, and well studded with coverts,
both gorse and woodland, at convenient distances from
each other. The country is, generally speaking, a
close one, and the fences are so various that a good
hunter from Ormond will go well over any other
country either in Ireland or England.

'' The principal covers are Killeen Wood, Walsh
Park,Derrybreen, Knockshegowna,Ballincor, Quakers-
town, Congort, Sopwell, Knockmacree Wood, Mount-
Falcon, Borriswood, Ballyquirk, Slevoir, Kyleanoe
Wood, Kilgarvan, Nannie Moran's Rock, Annagh,
Castletown, Johnstown Park, Peterfield, Knigh Hill,
Ashley Park, Derrinasling, Corlderry, Ballycapple,
Ballygibbon, Rapla, Norwood, Debsborough, Kilcole-
man, Kylerue, Laughton, Inane, and Longford Wood."



THE queen's county HOUNDS.

More than a century has elapsed since the melodious
notes of the foxhounds were first heard in the Queen's

" Many seasons past was often heard at morn
The dear sweet notes of huntsman's cheery horn,
And sweeter still the grand melodious sound
Of deep-toned music from the eager hound."

About 130 years ago, Colonel Pigott of Capard kept
a pack of deep-mouthed southern hounds, and about
the same period, Colonel Barrington (Sir Jonah's
grandfather) had a pack at CuUenagh, some of the
blood of which was to be found in the Emo kennels
when that pack was hunted by a very remarkable cha-
racter, "ould" Paddy Forde, who died not many years

'• When his reverend locks in comely curls did wave,
And on his aged temples grew the blossoms of the grave,"

for he lived for nearly a hundred years. Poor
"Paddy," he was an original of the purest water —
eccentric amongst the eccentrics. He could never see
any person smoking at the covert side without mani-
fest indignation. " Shure thim cigars spilt the scent


In covert." Nevertheless, he had a happy knack of
lighting his own " dhudeen" even when the hounds
were running, and whenever they were carrying a
good head he might be seen, apparently as happy as
a prince, puffing away.

The hounds were once running in the lower end of
the country, not far from Rosenalis, when, inirabile
dichc, Paddy Forde was pursued by a bull from a hag-
gard into a paddock, out of which there was no exit,
except at an almost impracticable stile. He hardened
his heart, and shaking his feet out of the irons, as was
his habit when going at a " yawner," he got over safe,
but it was into a plough, and the horse landing into
the headland broke both fore-legs. Pat escaped un-
injured, and his first exclamation was, when he turned
round and saw his enemy the bull on top of the fence,
*' bad luck to ye, you baste, you bruck mee little pipe."
More than a century ago, Lord Roden kept a pack and
hunted a portion of the country, continuing to do so
for some years, although he had but few followers
in the field. And many years ago, Colonel Arch-
dale, a noted sportsman, and native of Fermanagh,
used to bring a pack from the North, and hunt part
of the Queen's County, for a few months every season.
He had a very nice residence near Emo Park.

When the Emo Hounds were established. Lord
Portarlington, oi Waterloo notoriety, resided at Emo ;
he was an excellent sportsman, and Sir Henry Parnell,
the ardent advocate of Catholic claims, and first Lord
Congleton, was master. He was a most popular man,
and represented the county l^efore the period of
Catholic Emancipation At the same time. Sir Robert
Staples hunted what is now called the Ossory country,


and Mr. Stubber, of Ballinahie, a Protestant clergy-
man, had a pack, and hunted deer, foxes, and hares.
He was passionately fond of the chase, and scarcely a
day elapsed without the " sporting parson," as he was
aptly designated, having a spin with the '* beauties."
He had a very large fortune, and lived many years to
enjoy it and the glorious pastime he loved so well. A
good story is told of him which I cannot refrain from
giving. He was confined to his room a considerable
time before his death, and nothing pleased him more
than to hear the cry of his hounds, and as the kennel
was situated close to his residence he frequently en-
joyed the treat. On the day of his demise he ordered
his huntsman to bring the hounds to the hall door, and
to turn down a hare. The pack having been laid on,
"tackled to work with a will," and, giving great
tongue, set out in hot pursuit ; Mr. Stubber was de-
lighted, and turning round in his bed, said to those
around him: *' Oh ! is not that heavenly music." Mr.
Stubber was not the only clergyman who kept a pack
of hounds in the country, as Parson Smithson hunted
foxes and deer with his own hounds some seventy
years ago. Odd as it may read, it is true, that this
Reverend sportSinan was for years stone blind, yet he
hunted almost every day, and rode remarkably well
across country ; his servant was always in immediate
attendance, and used to inform him what sort the
fences were which stopped the way. Mr. Smithson
had perfect hands, and was, of course, always well
mounted on an old trained hunter.

His hounds were A i ; he loved their music,
and bred for melody, and would immediately draft one
that hunted mute. " Don't hear Rattler to-day ;

THE queen's county HOUNDS. 237

Rallywood silent, too. We'll draft them, Flood, we'll
draft them," he used to say to his most intimate friend,
Colonel Flood of Badger Hill— a *' four-bottle man,"
who once fuddled the bishop on visitation, and wore
his wig next morning, drawing, as was then the custom,
on their fox.

A story told of Flood is worth relating, en passant.
A friend of his — and none of them were teetotallers —
had a very admirable butler. In those days the habits
of their masters and the convivialities of the dining-
room were naturally imitated in the servants' hall, and
what magnums of claret effected up-stairs, whiskey-
punch did below, but " Billy" Guilfoyle was ever equal
to the task of getting his master and his guests to bed.
The Colonel was nightly in a condition to require his
services, and continued persuasion on his part and the
offer of very munificent wages to the servant at length
induced Guilfoyle's master to permit him to exchange
his service for that of the Colonel, on the hitherto preva-
lent honourable conditions that master and man should
not be drunk together. There was, however, a proba-
tionary month stipulated upon by the high-contracting
parties, which passed to the entire satisfaction of the
hard-going owner of Badger Hill.

Then occurred the following scene : The time is
breakfast, the Colonel seated. The Major-Domo has
supplied him with the reviver of that period — a " can
of flip" — and the dialogue opens thus : —

Guil. — " I'm sorry to go, Colonel, but the month's
up. I must go."

Col. — '• Go, d — n it, go ! Why, Guilfoyle ? why
go ? Is not everything as you wish it below ? You
can go. Do as you like, you know. But, d — n it,



Guilfoyle, go. Oh no ! you can't go. Do as you
like, but don't go."

To which replies servant— " Oh, I'll go, your
honour. Honour bright, your honour — honour bright.
I must go — honour bright,"

The Col. — "Honour bright — honour bright ! What
the devil do you mean, man ? You can go or stay ;
but, honour bright ! D — n it ! you can't go. Honour

Guil. — " Just so, your honour. You know we war
not to be both drunk together. I kept the bargain.
But, bloody wars ! your honour, sir, I'm here thirty-
one days now, and ye never gave me the chance. O/i,
honour bright^ F II go.'''*

After Sir Henry Parnell ceased to act as master of
the Emo Hounds, they were taken by Sir Walter Bur-
rowes, and were then one of the best packs in Ireland,
and well supported, hunting a very large district, in-
cluding part of Westmeath and King's County —
Cooper Hill, now belonging to the Carlow country
was one of their best coverts. The "field" averaged
from sixty to a hundred men, and it is no exaggeration
to say that there were at that time more foxes in one
or two demesnes than are now to be found in the whole

The change is easily accounted for: trapping
was not then known ; pheasants were not so much as
thought of. The case is very different now, hence the
greater scarcity of the fox family.

Sir Walter Burrowes, sad to say, died in the hunt-
ing field from a fit of apoplexy; the melancholy
occurrence took plafece at Sheffield, near Maryboro',
and hunting was stopped for some time in consequence.


Then Mr. Thomas B. Kelly of Kellyville succeeded
Sir Walter, but the poor fellow did not live long to
enjoy the position he so worthily filled. *' King
Death" claimed him for his own when in the very
prime of manhood ; he was a most popular gentleman,
a true sportsman, and a brilliant horseman, to hounds
and between the flags. Mr. Sidney Cosby, father of the
present owner of Stradbally Hall, then presided over
the pack. He built kennels at Stradbally, close to his
beautiful mansion, but, like his predecessor, Mr. Kelly,
he did not long survive his accession. He was a
great favourite, and to see him ride was quite a
treat ; he and his brother-in-law, Mr. Horace Roche-
fort, the squire of Clogrenan, were about the best
men in the county to hounds at this period. The
late Lord Portarlington then kept them for a time, and
the present Lord Drogheda succeeded in 1847, and
during the three years of his mastership, and with the
aid of his most popular cousin, Mr. Robert Moore, an
excellent sportsman, hunting survived in a most trying
time, although his Lordship did not receive the sup-
port he merited from the farmers and landed pro-
prietors of the Queen's County. Simultaneously Lord
Ashbrooke hunted the Ossory portion of the country.
He was asked to have the packs amalgamated when
Lord Drogheda resigned, and, having given his con-
sent, a county pack was established for the first time.
He filled the role of master but for a short time, and
was succeeded by Mr. Hamilton Stubber of Moyne,
the father of the present master. He gave great
satisfaction, was a universal favourite, and turned out
in the best style — in fact, he was the "right man in
the right place."


In i860, Major Garden took the hounds, and hunted
them himself, and the horn could scarcely be placed
in better keeping. He was keen "to the heel," and
let hounds hunt when they coidd hunt, and assisted
them when they could not ; but this cannot be said of
many huntsmen of the present day, gentlemen or pro-
fessionals ; most of them teach the hounds to rely
more on their orders than on their own noses. The
Major, although a one-handed man, rode in the first-
flight, and with his hounds — never on them.

At the end of 1867, he resigned in favour of
Captain R. Cosby. It would be a great injustice on
my part did I not bestow very high encomiums on the
gallant squire of Stradbally Hall, who is undoubtedly
deserving of the highest praise from, and has a
claim on, the gratitude of the lovers of hunting in his
native county. For eight years he worthily filled the
post of Master of the Queen's County Hounds, and
during that time improved very much indeed the
country and the pack. He is a first-rate judge of
horses, and few masters of hounds in Ireland turned
out their hunt-servants in better style. They were
always, like their master, very well mounted. Al-
though not a "bruiser," he is a very good man to
hounds; he rides not for show, but to be with them,
and he seldom fails in his effort. In agricultural pur-
suits Captain Cosby takes a keen interest, and has the
same correct eye for horn and fleece as in the kennel
or stable. He is a breeder of first-rate stock— ovine,
bovine, and equine — and he has had many show-yard
celebrities in his possession. At the annual Horse
Show in Kildare-street he is generally amongst the
most successful competitors.


For years past he has been in the habit of visiting
most of the important steeplechase meetings held in
Ireland, and he Is a votary of the illegitimate pastime,
although (more's the pit}^) he does not patronise flat-
racing. He has never yet been fortunate enough to
win a very important race, but his horses have fre-
quently gained "brackets." He has them always
trained at home, races purely for sport, and the "white
and green hoop" is a very familiar and popular banner
with visitors to the Baldoyle, Punchestown and Orchard
meetings. The last-mentioned he established himself,
and subscribes liberally to the fund every year.

In May, 1876, Captain Cosby resigned, and Mr. R.
Hamilton Stubber was unanimously elected master.
He has been very successful in his efforts to show
sport. He, too, sometimes has a chaser or two in
training, and the " French grey and scarlet" has been
carried successfully for a few minor races.

The annual subscriptions at present paid amounts
to about ^1,200 a year. The number comprising the
"field" averages, I should say, about 25. Lord
Castletown, Sir Charles Coote, Mr. Robert Staples, Sir
Allen Walshe, Sir Anthony Weldon, Mr. John G.
Adair, Viscount De Vesci, the Earl of Portarlington.
Captain R. G. Cosby, Mr. T. Skeffington Smythe, Mr.
W. D. Webber, Hon. Bernard Fitzpatrick, Mr. Thomas
Kemmis, Mr. J. W. Dunne, and Mr. Henry Moore are
the most liberal subscribers.

In naming the " first-flight" men of the present day,
I hope I will be excused if I overlook any person de-
serving of notice. I shall not do so if possible. The
one-armed veteran, Mr. " Charlie" White, for many
years enjoyed the character of being a " leader in the


van ;" he was pre-eminently entitled to it, and even
now, though very many seasons have passed since he
first assisted at the obsequies of Reynard, he can, and
does frequently, hold a prominent place. Mr. Edward
Corcoran, of Raheenduff, Timahoe, is one of the oldest
patrons of the chase in the county, a staunch preserver
of foxes, and a greater " clinker" never " tallied" one ;
even now, though his head-covering is slightly blanched
with the frost of age, he is often first among the lead-
ing lot His son, " Charlie," inherits the taste for the
sport so characteristic of his father, and is a first-class
light-weight. In this line of business Mr. Horace
Rochfort has acquired such fame that I need not
delay to pass any encomiums on him — " good wine
needs no bush." Of Captain Cosby I have already
written. Mr. John W. Dunne, of Raheenawhole, is a
welter-weight, and is as devoted and fearless a
foxhunter as ever rode over the banks of Ossory.
Mr. Henry Moore of Cremorgan deserves commen-
dation ; and those who are in the habit of visiting the
Ballybrophy district must have remarked the brothers
Plunkett — Joseph and Oliver — amongst the "foremost
hard- riders ;" and Mr. Leech I must also mention.
Mr. Edge, in Kilkenny as well as in the Queen's
County, has proved himself to be undoubtedly

" A rum 'un to follow, a bad 'un to beat."

Mr. Laurence Kelly of Ballymeelish Park, Bally-
brophy, must also be included in the list of " first-
flight" men. Before mentioning the names of the
gentlemen I should have named one pre-eminently
entitled to a word of praise — I allude to Miss Ella
Stubber, the amiable and accomplished sister of the

THE queen's county HOUNDS. 243

master. A better horsewoman I have seldom, if ever,
seen in the saddle.

Snalth was appointed huntsman in 1874, and car-
ried the horn until the end of the season 1876-7. His
successor, W. Rawle, knows his business, and is a
most excellent servant. He has had a great deal of
experience. He has an excellent "aid" in George
Mulhall, who was whip for a while during Major
Garden's regime.

The country is an extensive one, nearly all grass ;
the fences in many districts very big, and the banks
faced with stones. I may certainly call it a fair hunt-

There are now (Nov. 1877) 432 couple of hounds

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 16 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Online LibraryBernard M. J FitzpatrickIrish sport and sportsmen → online text (page 16 of 25)