On entering the picturesque Balearic medieval city of Ciudadella in Menorca, a striking sculpture, larger than life size, of a handsome prancing black horse on a traffic roundabout creates an immediate good impression. This is the Menorcan native breed, much protected and revered by the local people, especially at Fiesta time, when the ridden Cavall Menorque performance in the streets and squares is a major highlight of the Island’s many festivals. In the 17th century the Knight tournaments died out in the rest of Europe, but the old Knight’s tradition still survives in Menorca. Continue reading “The Menorcan Horse & the Connemara Pony”
Niamh’s Weblog, as you will know, has usually focused on Connemara Pony events in Clifden and elsewhere, mainly reviewing Shows, Stallion Parades, Sales and so on, for almost ten years now without a break.
Yet this year for the first time, I was intrigued to see half-hidden parts of this historic town of Clifden which I never knew existed. Have you taken the Walking tour and walked away from the traffic, along the old main street and have you seen (among other gems) the massive windowless walls of the old lugubrious Clifden Gaol, scene of woeful heartbreak in Clifden’s past, especially in famine times? If not, you have a treat in store. Our visit coincided with the town’s marvellous mid-September Arts Festival, which has been going from strength to strength over the past 38 years and the walking-tour guide, Kathleen Villiers Tuttle, is a local historian who keeps her audience spellbound throughout the tour.
The community contribution is outstanding in this town with literally hundreds of volunteers involved and 10 days of continuous happenings making it a joyful venue for lovers of painting, sculpture, poetry, drama, art, film and history, with concerts, many featuring local musicians, traditional, classic and jazz day and night, lectures and performances, writings, and all varieties of entertainment. Fidget Feet and other performers visit the local schools, and there are daily workshops for the lucky students in such diverse topics as art, history, singing, poetry, stilt-walking (yes!), basket-weaving and Bodhrán playing and much else besides. Footsbarn travelling theatre company had their tents in the Showgrounds and the town was positively buzzing. All venues were well attended and the diversity of this 2016 Festival was extraordinary. Niamh’s weblog was lucky enough to get permission from specialist in aerial photography, Fearghus Foyle, to use two of his drone photos. You can visit his site at http://www.aerialeye.ie Many clever people book their annual September break in Clifden as they know of the quality, fun and colour to be found there. See you there next year.
View Gallery Spiddal 2016
The Connemara Pony and Agricultural Show at Spiddal is always a very sociable affair. It is a gathering, where the Irish language is used as the ‘Lingua Franca’ of the entire occasion, from Schedules and Catalogues printed in Irish, to all announcements, notices and labels ‘as Gaeilge’ also. In 2010 Niamh’s Weblog paid a visit to this same Taispeántas Chois Fharraige when spoken Irish was heard as well and it was so good to hear it again. Continue reading “TAISPEÁNTAS CHOIS FHARRAIGE, Spiddal ’16”
Horseboxes, Trailers and Lorries filled with Connemara Ponies travelled to the centre of Ireland for the Midlands Show in Mullingar on the last Sunday in July. This Show is very much a community effort and with forty Connemara Classes listed to take place in the spacious acres of the Mullingar Equestrian Centre, which included various Championships and Clifden Qualifiers and also the Loose Jumping Qualifiers held in the Indoor Arena, all hands were needed on deck for a long day. Niamh’s Weblog got off to a good start when the Gate Steward kindly offered to move his own jeep elsewhere to allow us in! The layout of the 4 Rings was well-ordered with banks of chairs at vantage viewing points making it very spectator-friendly. Continue reading “Midlands Breeders Show 2016”
Connemara pony breeder and producer Pat O’Neill of Illaunurra Ponies in Ballyconneely has brought on his 11 yr. old home-bred gelding Illaunurra Shadow (Silver Shadow X Illaunurra Mist) to perform at top level in both Dressage and Showjumping. For the past couple of years Pat and his talented pony have won several Dressage Ireland Awards, and Pat has featured as the sole male rider with Cleggan- based Judy Cazabon’s Musical Rides. The pair are now Showjumping at top level with the Association of Riding Clubs and pulled off a 2016 hat-trick when the pair were crowned Show Jumping Champions at the recent hotly contested AIRC Championships in Mullingar. A well-deserved accolade for this brilliant pair.