Category Archives: Social Life

Victory on the menu at brilliant Dinner Dance

It’s always nice to be the first name on a new trophy and the club had that honour on Friday night – being crowned Donegal’s first Riding Club of the Year. The new plaque was handed over to our chairman Pauric at the Dinner Dance in Gallaghers Hotel. Gracious as always, he then took the trophy on tour around the tables with the sound of Queen’s We Are Champions echoing around the room. It was quite a performance from our new chairman and one of the many highs on what was another successful inter-club get together. Our other big winner on the night was Louise who walked off with a new rug after being named the top primary dressage rider. How she pulled that off – we don’t know. How fitting her mum and dad where there to celebrate her big success.

A big congratulations to the others who picked up prizes on the night especially Emily and Liz who walked off with two rugs – well deserved. The much coveted horsey Oscars were another high point of the night, with Mickey, Ultan, Oliver and Enda picking up the awards for 2015. Four horsemen who were honoured for their outstanding achievements during the year – they wish.

The photo booth proved a big hit judging by the evidence on facebook. As always Paddy was first to give it a go along with his side kick Hazel and they set the standard. The photo booth was another masterstroke by our social queens and chief organisers Ruth and Rachel who deserve great credit for yet another superb Dinner Dance.

Annual General Meeting approaching fast: Friday 7 November

Another year almost down! Our club’s annual general meeting takes place each year in early November, ahead of the Western Region’s AGM. This year we’re sticking to our familiar Friday evening social format in Tir na nOg.

Everybody is encouraged to attend. It only works if the membership turns up and we have the opportunity to celebrate what we’ve achieved in the past year and set the trim of the sails for the next 12 months.

Of much greater importance than elections or chairmen’s reports or anything else is the awarding our our two most prestigious trophies for Club Member and Club Horse of the Year. Please get your nominations (two per award) in to Damien by Wednesday 5 November. Do it by email, text, phone call or ink/paper/envelope/stamp. It’s always a lot more fun if you can give a few reasons for your nomination but we’re grateful just for simple names, if that’s all you can manage!

Contact Anne (Secretary) or Enda (Chairman) if you want to discuss anything specific in advance of the meeting.

Dates for Autumn League and Dinner Dance

As always, the clubs take it in turn to run the legs of the Northwest League. This time Letterkenny is in charge of the first leg this coming weekend so we need to be tuned in to things early. Dates for this year’s edition of the much-loved league are as follows:

Sundays 4 and 18 October
Sundays 1 and 8 November (final)

Prizes will be awarded at our annual inter-club dinner dance which takes place this year on Saturday 28 November.

What happens in Bundoran…

What happens in Bundoran stays in Bundoran… or so we thought. The tales of Paddy’s missing trousers, Hazel’s Brown Eamon, Marina’s thoroughbred cob and Damien’s late night sleepwalk have already travelled north of the gap. So there is no need for Omerta. Louise captured all the memorable moments – or so we thought – on her mobile but we didn’t realise the mobile was as old as Louise and the photographs were all deleted the moment she made a call.

A posse of ten made the trip; Louise, Hazel, Paddy, Francis, Keary and Ann (still not married) Marina, Enda, Pauric and Damien. Libby and Dympna then joined in for the sleepover. As promised there was no white knuckle ride this year through the dunes. Damien steered a safe and easy path in the late evening sunshine though we did have some drama when we headed for the tide, with one of the crew getting an early bath.

Horses tucked up for the night it was time to dine in our regular haunt – the Bridge Restaurant. Four hours and half a stone later we retired to our beach front villa for some late night Coors and chat. Paddy, wearing Enda’s trousers (don’t ask), made a late appearance after his traditional walk-about. Damien also went walk-about in the middle of the night declaring his room mates, Francis and Paddy, both needed wind operations.

There was no Leo for the Breakfast menu but we found another master chef in Francis, who fed the masses along with his sidekick Pauric. While the ladies looked on Damien pulled on the marigolds and took charge of the dishes (knowing that any breakages would come out of his deposit). Another trip around the dunes and into the sea – no fallers this time – and it was time to depart just before the heavens opened.

A big thanks to Steph at Stracomer Stables for looking after us all and to Damien for organising the trip.  Maybe next year Hazel will bring Brown Eamon — he might like the sea?

Pictured below: Breakfast time at our seafront villa — just like The Waltons.


Nothing like a little education with your birthday cake and beer

Never let it be said that the members of Letterkenny Riding Club shirk an opportunity to broaden their minds. Last Friday evening saw a sizeable group of them following the hops to Kinnegar Brewing in Rathmullan where Libby, Rachel and Louise explained to a very receptive audience just how that magical liquid, beer, comes into being. The Cuffes, long-time brewery fans, were with the club in spirit as they knocked back pints of Kinnegar in the Black Sheep pub in Dublin.

Afterwards, for the practical side of the lesson, the group took a quick jaunt down the road to the Taproom, in the cellar of Rathmullan House. Kinnegar beer and a motley collection of other beverages helped wash down the wood-fired pizzas that were brought to the table in quartets. Ever taller stories of blind horses and talking crows brought the evening’s entertainment to the pivotal point when Enda’s birthday cake arrived on the table, rounding off a simple but satisfying meal.

Next Friday sees the return of horses to our club activities – remember what they are?

Pictured below: Following the hops in Donegal and Dublin.


Social climbers: Enda reveals all

Where do I start – the wrestlers in lycra or the wall. They both had the ladies in a sweat.

More on the men in pink in a moment but first the 12 members who made the journey to Derry on Friday for a mystery evening all rose to the challenge and what a challenge. The highest indoor climbing wall in Ireland in the new Foyle Arena looked daunting at first but in the end it was conquered by all. The most impressive was Paddy “Spiderman” Gallagher who was first to the top in record time. Years of practice scaling walls to raid orchards paid off. There was no stopping Paddy after he figured out how to get back down again. He was so high he was out of ear shot to get his instructions for the descent. After lots of “sorries” the message got through. More impressive performances followed from Hazel “Im not doing this I’m scared of heights” Mahoney, Louise “let me at it” Edwards, Pauric “you need a stronger rope” McCrory and Erin who relished beating her dad to the top.

Not to be out done Suzanne Deeney Wylie, Mary Finneran and our latest recruit Paul O’Kane left many in their wake as they scaled new heights. Then we had the Smith/Chambers combination who wanted to share the one rope but in the end were easily separated when Ann left her fiancee in her slipstream. Enda and Marina also had their own domestic duel. As for the wrestlers next door in lycra – enough said ladies.

Pictured below: No sign of a horse anywhere — club members conquer the wall.

A fine Carrickfinn fire

It was by all accounts the best ever Carrickfinn fire! A million thanks to Damien for organising yet another weather-resistant weekend in one of the finest spots on the planet.

Pictured below: Damien warms his tootsies. See more photos in the gallery.


The road to Carrickfinn

Any sane person looking out at today’s weather wouldn’t even countenance the thought of camping at Carrickfinn in 10 days’ time. Luckily we live on the Atlantic seaboard so it’s likely to be sunny and springlike again in the morning.

Our annual pilgrimage to the Rosses takes place earlier than usual this year to avoid a clash with the team show jumping qualifier in Sligo on Sunday 17 May. We’ll be heading down the road on Saturday 9 May, with all available fingers and toes crossed for a dry weekend.

Please let Damien know now if you’re planning on making the journey.

Magnificent Flowerhill

Perfect weather, a fantastic challenging course, beautiful riding and driving conditions and lots of success combined to make Flowerhill 2015 a vintage renewal of the best loved event on the calendar.

Congratulations to Denis and Dawn on their 3rd place in the AP Pairs, to Leo and Marina who landed the prized red rosette in the Intermediate Pairs, to Anne and Keary who took the green ribbon in the same class, and to Francis, who after a challenging round in the Pairs swooped to take second place in the ultra-competitive Intermediate Championship. Hot on his heels came new member Shauna Boyle in joint 4th place. Well done everybody who won or placed, and well done everybody who competed. You brought great credit to the club.

A gazillion thanks to Marina for yet again ensuring that we had our usual quarters on site. It just wouldn’t be the same any other way and Marina’s promptness each year in booking stables is the key to our enjoyment of the whole expedition.

A gazillion thanks too to Ann for organising such a wonderful volunteer rota that allowed the riders to concentrate entirely on enjoying the riding, and for herself (and Keary) for shouldering a substantial part of the workload.

Thanks to all the club’s foot soldiers for helping out with the volunteering, with the horses, with the camping, and with the craic. And thanks for support on the course — there may not be time for the riders to acknowledge the roars as they pass but they really do give a great lift.

Thanks to all our pals of the Donegal Gaeltachts, Tirconaills and Inishowens who themselves enjoyed a very successful event and who help us make Flowerhill our own. Just 12 months until we hit the road again…

This Friday’s bowls postponed

This Friday’s bowling night has been postponed because the hall is unavailable. Happily Tanya and Cecil have promised to rearrange our annual excursion to Ramelton for another night.