Cahir castle is built on an island in the river Suir. The river splits into two at the bridge and passes around the castle. The large area of the island that is outside the castle walls is known locally as the 'Inch Field'. The field is accessed via a foot bridge for pedestrians and a ford in the river for vehicles and horses. The river is not wide at this point—the wider branch of the river is on the other side of the castle.

Cahir Horse Festival - 2012

On the weekend of 30th of June / 1st of July 2012 the South Tipperary town of Cahir played host to one of the biggest Horse events in Munster: The Cahir Horse Festival. It was a fun weekend for the whole family, whether ‘into the horses’ or just fascinated by other people’s skill and courage when dealing with them.

A plethora of equestrian activity took place, centered around one of the Carriage Driving National Horse Driving Trials events.

The main event took place in the magnificent setting of Cahir Castle Island and the cross-country driven marathon was held at Kedrah Castle, just outside Cahir town.

Dressage to music was demonstrated, along with Pat Parelli natural horsemanship, the relatively new sport of “Le Trec” made a debut in Cahir, while a donkey derby and some carriage racing kept spectators laughing and amazed.

Last year’s first staging of a National Driving Trials in the town of Cahir showed how well received the competitors were! People lined the streets all Saturday and Sunday to see the beautiful carriages parade through the streets and the competitors were delighted to be appreciated for all their efforts and expense.

The 2012 program started at 9am on Saturday until 7pm and resumed at 12 noon on Sunday until 6pm. Various stands and activities also formed part of the event. The official launch of the Butler trail, the Blacksmith’s expo and other craft displays were held around the Castle Car Park (see separate coverage of the Butler Trail launch here).

This was a combined effort of the town of Cahir and the organising committee would like to thank all sponsors and volunteers for their effortd and commitments!)

The photos below were taken at at the event and illustrate the spectacle and the fun despite some variable weather.

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Photo of carriage driving along the Coronation walt to Swiss Cottage, Cahir, Ireland
Photo of horse-drawn carriage in Cahir
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Photo, Billy Dillon shows a leg during the preparation of the river crossing for the carriages.
Photo. Mossy Casey directs the crane driver to position the last sheet of steel
Photo of horses in the square of Cahir, Tipperary, Ireland
photo of horse and rider in the square of Cahir.
Photo of a goat in the square for a drink at the Galtee Inn
Photo of horse carriage parade around the streets of Cahir, Tipperary, Ireland
Photo, carriage driving dressage competitor setting off at Cahir, tipperary, Ireland, 2012

Setting off to enter the Dressage arena through a slightly damp patch of the Inch Field.

The dressage event involves the driving of a sequence of set movements, from memory, in an arena.

Photo of dressage event, Cahir, Tipperary, Ireland
Photo of carriage dressage at Cahir castle
Friday saw final preparations taking place with course building and the laying of steel sheets in the ford in the river to make it easier for the horses and carriages to cross. Then in the evening a group of carriages drove in procession around the town and along the 'Coronation Walk' to the Swiss Cottage.

Above: Billy Dillon spots the camera and immediately shows a leg - but to no avail.

Left: Mossy Casey directs the crane driver to position the last of the steel sheets in the ford.

 

Above: There were horses everywhere in town that night. These were on their way to the Enterprise Centre to get some photocopying done.

Left: Checking out the sales in the shops.

Below: Even Paddy McGinty's goat was in town for a pint at the Galtee Inn but found someone sitting in his favourite seat.

 

Above and Left: The Dressage event requires a great deal of concentration and precision control.

Below: Setting out the cones driving course

Below: You have to be fast and accurate. Just like showjumping time penalties and faults are awarded. The cones are just 20cm further apart than the wheels and the slightest nudge of a cone will dislodge the ball balanced on top.
Photo, driving at speed through a carriage driving cones course
Photo, looking down on the cones course from the castle.
Photo. Setting out the cones course for the Cahir carriage driving trials at the castle
Photo, cones driving at Cahir
Photo, cones driving at Cahir castle, Ireland
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photo of carriage rides for the public at the Cahir Horse festival
Photo, demonstrations of Natural Horsemanship at Cahir Horese Festival, Ireland
Photo, dressage horse and rider
Photo, demonstrations of Natural Horsemanship at Cahir Horese Festival, Ireland
Below: Carriage rides for the public went on all afternoon
Photo, demonstrations of Natural Horsemanship at Cahir Horese Festival, Ireland
Below: Shelley O'Doherty giving one of her very impressive demonstrations of the Pat Perelli method of training by Natural Horsemanship. The horse, though not yet fully trained, responded to the slightest gesture.
Photo, the start of the Donkey Derby at the Cahir Horse Festival, Ireland
Below:One of the demonstrators of 'Dressage to Music' relaxes with her horse
Photo, Donkey Derby at Cahir Horse Festival
Photo, demonstrations of Natural Horsemanship at Cahir Horese Festival, Ireland
Photo, Donkey Derby at Cahir Horse Festival
They are off and approaching the first fence. There is a faller already, even before the fence is reached.Watch out for this 'Man in Black' - he should definitely have been given an award for persistence and bravery!

Above: The Man in Black recovers quickly to regain second place... but then (left) decides to do some trick riding and loses ground—and finds the ground.

Below: He falls again at the same place he fell on the first lap—there must be a divot there—but again recovers quicky so that he can fall again at the water... jump

Photo, Donkey Derby at Cahir Horse Festival
Photo, Donkey Derby at Cahir Horse Festival
 ...however, he does get some sympathy from the girl on the left!
Photo, Donkey Derby at Cahir Horse Festival

What me? Jump that? Are you having a laugh?

I'm going the other way round

Photo, Donkey Derby at Cahir Horse Festival
Photo, Donkey Derby at Cahir Horse Festival
Completely undaunted the brave 'Man in Black' leads the second race and shows fine form over the first jump.
Photo, Donkey Derby at Cahir Horse Festival
Photo, Donkey Derby at Cahir Horse Festival
Photo, Donkey Derby at Cahir Horse Festival
Where did he go?
Above: At a critical point in the race a competitor gets pushed by an opponent at a fence and falls.

Below: She takes off after her assailant who decides he can run faster than the Donkey. Rumour has it that he reached the Offaly border in under an hour!
Photo, Donkey Derby at Cahir Horse Festival
The Carriage Driving teams officially launch the Cahir Horse Festival 2012 with a parade through the town, along the Coronation Walk to the Swiss Cottage and then back to the town on the Ardfinnan road for a few more laps of the main streets.

The third element of the carriage trials, the Marathon, took place on the Sunday at Kedrah Castle and again on the Inch Field alongside Cahir Castle. There were also plenty of other activities going on throughout the day including the demonstrations of ridden dressage and natural horsemanship. Photos of these appear above so below are pictures of the marathon, which also involves the negotiation of complex obstacles at speed.

 

photo, horse-drawn carriages negotiating obstacles on the marathon course of the Cahir Carriage Driving Trials
photo, horse-drawn carriages negotiating obstacles on the marathon course of the Cahir Carriage Driving Trials
photo, horse-drawn carriages negotiating obstacles on the marathon course of the Cahir Carriage Driving Trials
photo, horse-drawn carriages negotiating obstacles on the marathon course of the Cahir Carriage Driving Trials
Photo, horse-drawn carriage negotiating an obstacle at the Cahir Horse Festival.
Photo, horse-drawn carriage negotiating an obstacle at the Cahir Horse Festival.
Photo, horse-drawn carriage negotiating an obstacle at the Cahir Horse Festival.
Photo, horse-drawn carriage negotiating an obstacle at the Cahir Horse Festival.
photo, horse-drawn carriages negotiating obstacles on the marathon course of the Cahir Carriage Driving Trials
photo, horse-drawn carriages negotiating obstacles on the marathon course of the Cahir Carriage Driving Trials
photo, horse-drawn carriages negotiating obstacles on the marathon course of the Cahir Carriage Driving Trials
photo, horse-drawn carriages negotiating obstacles on the marathon course of the Cahir Carriage Driving Trials