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Foaled in 1974 Tolka Bridge (Bridge Boy – Statia) is still hale and hearty and definitely the head-mare with her retired female herd at the ripe old age of 35. Her breeder was Ml. McDonagh of Rosscahill and Eamonn Burke of Castlegar in Galway bought her from Pat Finnerty as an 18 yr.old mare in foal to Catamaran in 1992. She had previously had a number of foals, including some colts who remained unregistered, as this was in the 1980’s and early ’90’s when poor prices were the norm for the Connemaras. She has ever since belonged to the Burke family and more than earned her keep, as a broodmare, producing 9 more foals for her current owners until her last foal in 2007. Among them was a top prizewinner in England, the mare Ellabelles Cashel (Cloonisle Cashel) foaled in ’98,
but Tolka Bridge’s best known and most successful stallion sons were still to come, and were foaled when she was aged 25 and 26. These were Cloon-Eile Cashel (Cloonisle Cashel) in ’99 and Currachmore Cashel by the Blanche Miller bred then 20yr old Rosenharley Rowley. Both stallions have won numerous prizes in the Show rings of Ireland but Currachmore Cashel has probably attracted more laurels than any other stallion in his lifetime so far. In 2008 alone he was judged Supreme Champion Connemara at Clifden, the RDS and at Roundstone Champion of Champions Show.
Eamon’s son Joe who shows the stallion in the ring, says of Currachmore “easy to manage, he is so laid- back, a real softie”. The stallion has also featured as a Ridden prizewinner in 2007. Currachmore has passed on his bone, strength, presence and quality good looks to his progeny and many are now regular Show Champions. In fact few Shows in the country went by this past summer without a Currachmore Cashel colt or filly being in the limelight.
For the Connemara breed, Tolka Bridge has certainly been a real treasure. The Cert. shown here was issued to Eamonn Burke in ’95 to replicate her original lost Cert of the late 70’s. Passports were introduced by the Society in 1986.