reportage Running wild
In April the racing begins, in rugged, windswept country in Europe’s most westerly acres. The hills here are salted by a sea wind strong and steady enough to stunt the growth of trees. From the high ground there are views inland to Ireland’s highest mountains, Macgillycuddy’s Reeks. To the north is the long limb of the Dingle Peninsula stretching out to sea; west and south are blue Atlantic bays and inlets, and clusters of islands. Between the sea and the mountain foothills, on these wiry uplands of rough grass and heather, the dogs will run.

This is the drag hunt, one of those peculiarities of place and people that linger in pockets and corners of an Europe otherwise overcome by sameness and standardization. There is some of it in England, and English men and dogs have been known to cross over to Ireland to take part. But this combination of place and people and animals is an Irish passion, persisting now in just a few square miles of the south-west tip of County Kerry and working-class communities around the edges of Cork city to the east.
Spring 1999 | Tony O'Shea and related links | Archive | Back | Next | 2 of 15