Two weeks ago I spotted a sign near our house for “All Ireland Harness Racing” in Barryroe, about 10 miles down towards the coast. I had missed a lot of the local events in the latter part of the summer, so I figured this might be a bit of fun for us all to check out.
We headed down with C&T following in their car. Just as we were about to fall into the Atlantic, we turned into a huge field which, according to my map, is very near the townland of Turkeyland. We are still not sure if this is where the guys who built the Ballincollig bypass live or if it is a refuge for abused poultry.
In any case, we parked the car and proceeded to wade through an un-ending river of cow shit. Now I lived opposite a farm until I was six, so a bit of cow crap doesn’t faze me at all. But in my memory, all of the cow-pats were rock hard with flys all over them. This stuff was still steaming. We sprinted across the track to the central visitor area which was a big pleasant surprise. They had an ice-cream van, a chipper, bouncy castles and bookies! Way more professional than I expected.
Since I spent the first few years of my life living near Fairyhouse, I have always enjoyed horse racing and this was no exception. In fact it is far more exciting than your average races. The only thing between you and the horses is a blue rope, the trotting speed is phenomenal and the races are over very quickly. Oisín was rivetted by it and spent his time hanging out of the rope watching the horses bomb past at high speed.
The skill of the jockeys was incredible, particularly a young lad whose debut it was and who could barely have been 12 years old. Watching him control a massive animal at that speed and not come last on his first outing was mightily impressive.
So I think this will be an annual family event for us (if they are actually running it there every year).
Two quick piccies to show the two styles of trotting:
Oh, maybe we were the Dublin skangers…….