Certain events win a place in the subconscious alongside Christmas and birthdays, first communions and confirmations. The Donegal Gaeltacht’s beach show has earned its place in this calendar of annual highlights. It wouldn’t be the June bank holiday weekend without the long slow drive out to Falcarragh and the familiar thrill as the jeep crests the hill and the view of the Ballyness Bay show ground opens out below in all its unique splendour.
Get there in good time, from 10am onwards. Head through Falcarragh, out the western side, and follow the AIRC signs turning right off the main road. There’ll be a long line at the entries lorry but you’ll find that the queuing time passes quickly as you chat to friends and rivals from all the clubs in the region. Show jumping kicks off at 11, showing at 12, and dressage at 1pm. Remember to bring your AIRC card and your horse’s passport.
Pack a picnic and bring along a fold up chair. The weather isn’t going to be quite as good as it is today but it will be plenty good enough for hours of socialising at the side of the show jumping arena. Bring a fleece and a jacket and you’ll be all set for the long day.
There’s no handy tap at the beach so fill a drum or two of water for your horse and bring a haynet so that you can relax and enjoy being a spectator with a good conscience. Or if your competition schedule isn’t too hectic, take the time to explore the other side of the giant dunes and enjoy a long canter along one of the most spectacular beaches in the country.
See you there!
Pictured below: The Beach Show, 2009 and 2010.