First ever Creeslough Hunt

Over 50 horses and riders went up through Creeslough Street on Saturday 19th December 2009 when the Donegal Harriers Hunting Club held their first ever hunt in Creeslough.

The hunt was a charity hunt with proceeds going towards Ards Friary and was organized by local member Shaun Brennan, Umerafad, and consisted of over 3 hrs riding with more than 80 cross country and natural jumps.

The riders met at Danny Lafferty’s yard in Creeslough and after availing of a few stirrup cups of mulled wine and hot whiskey to heat them up and settle any nerves, proceeded up Main Street. They then turned down towards Duntally and entered the ancient Duntally Wood, through Brian McGinley’s grounds. It was then full steam ahead through the woods over a course of natural jumps consisting of fallen trees, which led to John Brennan’s land at Umerafad.

Riders then encountered further jumping over stone ditches and purpose built cross country jumps before getting a chance to catch their breath while they trotted down the road to Doe Point.

Upon reaching local member John McDaids land, riders were treated to more mulled wine along with Christmas pies before embarking on another round of fast riding and exciting jumping over ditches and drains, whin bushes and fallen trees which led riders onto the shore.

With a receding tide, the horses were able to canter across the strand over to the White Gate, Ards, with history in the making as it was probably the first time so many horses had ever crossed the strand at the one time.

Riders then faced a further round of exciting natural jumps consisting of fallen trees, ditches, drop banks and stone walls throughout the estate grounds at Ards Friary.

The riders then crossed back again over the shore, where the returning tide allowed further jumping across the streams for anyone who still had some energy left! After a gallop up the estuary, riders then proceeded back to the town via the Magheroarty  Road.

After getting the tired horses unsaddled and loaded back in the many trailers and lorries, the tired riders were provided with a much appreciated warm bowl of soup and sandwiches in the Corncutters Rest.

A great day was had by all in attendance, and the overall impression of the riders was that the Creeslough Hunt was one of the best of the season.

Rosaleen Harkin