Sunshine and jazz make for a truly outdoor event this year


The people came through the turnstiles in their thousands, writes Sean Mac Connell

They lazed about the neat lawns of the Royal Dublin Society Showgrounds in the sunshine, their skins gleaming, their hair properly tended with ribbons.

Long gorgeous legs tapered down to shining shoes. The colour around the grounds was so rich as to blind the eye. And that was only the horses!

The opening day of the 130th Dublin Horseshow was everything that man or beast could want out of a warm Irish summer day.

The people came through the turnstiles in their thousands to watch the action in the showrings and the jumping arenas.

The showgrounds rang with the sound of voices from all over the country with a predominant Northern burr, my fellow provincials making up the largest single section of supporters.

"I have never seen so many fine fillies in my life," a man from Banbridge, Co Down told me as his ageing eye roved around the scene. The angled cloth cap on his head spoke the language of a horseman so his words were not misinterpreted.

Earlier the grounds had seen the arrival of Dublin's new Lord Mayor, the Right Honourable Royston Brady.

This man from the North inner city, named after a character in a book which his father had been reading at the time of his birth, was perfectly at ease.

"Used to come here as a child and really enjoyed it. We preferred the Spring Show but we liked the horses as well," he said.

On his way from the Mansion House to the grounds, the Mayor's coach, drawn by four horses, had in some way come in contact with a taxi.

When asked to comment, Mr Brady, anxious to avoid a debate on the density of Dublin traffic, admitted that he had not seen anything and agreed it could indeed be a bout of "political blindness".

He was met on arrival by officials from the RDS and steered through the exhibition area which is larger and airier this year than in previous years.

In yesterday's heat he found it nearly deserted as those who could, escaped out into the sunshine to enjoy the sun and the horses and the unique event which is the Horse Show.

Others crowded around the Garda Band or listened to jazz or watched rabbits being pulled out of hats at the magic show.

Punch physically abused Judy on the band lawn to the delight of the many children as the bands played on.

Today, is Ladies Day where women, who were not even allowed compete here until 1919, will dress themselves up and seek the top prize of a €10,000 diamond.

No doubt, some men will try and compete as well but that should add to the rich mix of the event which has now become as fiercely fought out as the Nations Cup which takes place tomorrow.