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Leinster Leader November 20 2008
Tally ho! Hunting brigade begin new season at Johnstown
One of the seasonal items that were published in the local press at this time of year was the hunting notes. These were detailed descriptions of hunt days including a full account of the path through the countryside followed by the hounds. They were also of interest in that they listed out the members of the hunt who participated – thereby giving future generations a glimpse into the elite circles that made up the hunt membership.
The hunting reports appeared consistently in the local papers from the 1880s to the 1950s and were written in a particular style which painted a compelling picture for the reader of the day’s events. A typical report is that which appeared in a Leinster Leader issue of November 1958 describing the inaugural meet of the Kildare Hunt for the season which assembled the Johnstown Inn. It was reported that Sir George Brooke, son of the former Master, the late Sir Francis Brooke of Pickering Forest in Celbridge, was the new master with Major and Mrs. M.W.Beaumont. There was no change in the hunt staff with Jack Hartingan hunting the hounds, E. Dunphy first whip and Joe Lenehan, second whip. The hunt horses were turned out in the best of condition by J. Reilly, Stud Groom.
The attendance at the meeting reads like a veritable who’s who of Kildare society at the time. Among those present were Col. C. Clements, Hunt Honorary Secretary, and Mrs. Clements; Col H. Clements, Miss K. Clements, Lady Brooke, Mr. & Mrs. C.Odlum, Major and Mrs. Mainguy, Miss Wolfe, Lord and Lady Carew, Honorable Diana Carew; Mr. & Mrs. AL Moore, Mrs Sweetman, Mrs. B.J. O’Kelly, Rev. B. Handy and Mrs. Handy; Mr & Mrs. Ian Martin; Capt. and Mrs. F.B. Barton, Mrs. Vigors, Miss Shackleton, Mr. P.Doyle, Mr & Mrs. W.Odlum, the Missess Horsburghs, Miss. C. Freeman, Baron & Baroness de Robeck, Mrs. O’Brien Butler, Mr & Mrs Urquhart, Mr. P Ellis; Col. Hume Dudgeon; Capt. & Mrs. H. de Burgh; Major & Mrs. J. de Burgh; Miss Betty O’Kelly; Mr. and Mrs. Poulter; Col. D. Darley; Mr & Mrs. McEnroe; Miss Whitton, Miss Dixon, Mr. H. Young, Mrs. Maxie Cosgrove, Miss Colgan, Mr & Mrs. C O’Neill, Mr and Mrs W. MacAuley, Miss R. de Burgh, Mr. W. Osborne, Major and Mrs. Harvey; Mr. and Mrs F. Meagher; Mr & Mrs. A Lawlor, Mrs. H. Reeves, Mrs. P. Powell, Mr. P. McCreery and Mr. J. Fletcher.
All the omens were good for this distinguished assembly on horse back to look forward to a promising hunting season. It was reported that after a most successful cubbing season, prospects for the season were very promising. Foxes were plentiful and seventeen and a half couples of young hounds had been introduced magnificently to the pack of the Kildares.
And what of the inaugural hunt of the 1958 season? The itinerary taken by the pack is set out in pacy detail preserving for posterity the names of landowners and localities. The first hunt was at Forenaghts covert where the pack failed to flush any foxes. Finding in Mr. Jones’ wood hounds ran fast across his land and on to Mr. John Doyle’s farm where they marked their fox to ground in an old badger earth.
Furness covert held a brace. Selecting one, hounds pushed him out and ran nicely to Church Wood before turning left-handed by Woolpack Hill, and back through Furness, on to Westown. Bearing left again they hunted beautifully through Forenaghts covert to Tipper West, before coming back through Forenaghts and Westown to Furness Covert where they marked to ground after a very nice hound hunt lasting fifty minutes. A fox found in Arthurstown was marked to ground in covert.
The hunting set was virtually full time at the pursuit during the season with three or four meets a week being the pattern. Indeed just two days after the Johnstown hunt the Kildares were back in the saddle this time at Dunlavin. After partaking of Miss Tynte’s hospitality at Tynte Park, the hounds moved off to draw Glenduff. Finding in this good covert the hounds were soon away and ran fast on a much improved scent across Mr. Kincade’s and Mr. Fay’s land. Crossing the Baltinglass to Dublin road the hounds galloped all the way to the new forestry at Castleruddery. Here the hounds had to be stopped in falling light before entering this spacious woodland ‘ after a capital forty minutes.’
What the unfortunate foxes thought of being pursued across the country is not recorded.                                                                
 Series No. 94

Liam Kenny in his regular Leader feature 'Nothing new Under the Sun' examines the coverage of the activities of the Kildare Hunt in the Leinster Leader of November 1958.

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