PUNCHESTOWN FESTIVAL 100 YEARS AGO

by jdurney on May 3, 2011

Kildare Observer April 29, 1911

 

Punchestown and After

 

 

 

Punchestown has passed, and Naas is beginning to settle down once again to a state of sanity. “Punchesmania” has not been accepted by medical lexicographers as a form of mental affection, but it nevertheless is an expression that conveys intelligently to the lay mind an idea of the utter abandonment to sport which seizes the inhabitants of and visitors to this district during the Punchestown carnival. Nowadays Punchestown without rain and mud has come to be regarded as completely Utopian assay Punchestown minus gaudy colours and latest fashions in feminine attire. This year again we had Punchestown and not Utopia. We has rain and mud and colours as vivid and diversified as ever on Tuesday. On Wednesday we had the mud and colour in augmented quantities and qualities, but no rain worth speaking of. Notwithstanding a rather bad day climatically on Tuesday, and a thoroughly bad one financially, good spirits abounded. The clerk of the weather atoned for his misbehaviour of the first day on Wednesday, but the goddess of pecuniary fortune still continued to smile only on the “bookies”. What mattered it, however, to a sporting Punchestown crowd whether its fancy won or lost? Unlike John Gilpin, when on pleasure bent it has not a frugal mind. “Unborn tomorrow and dead yesterday,” it fretted not about them. Friends and foes, rich and poor, plebeians and patricians, all went there to enjoy themselves, and this they did, considerations of the purse notwithstanding.

 

 

 

The Traffic

The regulation of the traffic to Punchestown, at Punchestown, and from Punchestown must ever be a matter of mental and physical activity for the police. Their duties are strenuous, unenviable and fatiguing, and since the motor has become so popular as a means of conveyance for racegoers, entail an amount of vigilance in planning and regulation of the highways. There were about 200 extra members of the R.I.C. drafted into Naas for the races, and about 60 D.M.P’s were on duty at the course under Inspector Kernan. The R.I.C. were in charge of County Inspector K.L. Supple, Naas, assisted by District Inspector Burke and Head-Constable Harrington, Naas. The arrangements so far as the police were concerned were admirable, a fact testified by the absence of serious accident, notwithstanding the tremendous volume of vehicular traffic. A policeman on traffic duty at Punchestown needs to have a watchful eye and an even temper, and on not a few occasions we saw both tested sorely on Tuesday and Wednesday by refractory jehus and impatient and insistent motorists. Undoubtedly amongst the many duties a policeman has to engage in there is none which imposes a greater tax on his skill and tact than that which he has to perform at Punchestown, and which he fulfilled this year as he invariably has discharged them with credit. Naas was in charge of Sergeant Clarke, and he got through an arduous and difficult time in exemplary fashion.

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