The age old tradition that dates back half a century will be maintained at Killarney Races next week when a third generation of one local family will provide the all-important farrier service at the track.
Timmy McGillycuddy from Ballydribeen, Killarney, will follow in his father and grandfather’s footsteps when he joins his dad, Pa, in the farrier forge at the racecourse for the five-day July festival.
The link with the track goes all the way back to 1969 when Patrick McGillycuddy senior – who trained at Murphy’s Forge in Barraduff – was engaged by the Race Company to put his skills as a blacksmith to good use.
He passed on his know-how and knowledge to his son, Pa, who is a legendary personality in the industry and, in turn, Timmy took up the trade to ensure the great tradition and top class service continues with father and son working side by side.
“Our 50-year association with the local racecourse is a great milestone and it’s certainly a landmark worth celebrating,” said Timmy.
While some of the raw materials used might have changed significantly over the past five decades, the essential tools of the trade remain constant and the skills of half a century ago are identical to those used today.
“There might be better nails and shoes and better quality aluminium available now but the principles of the trade remain the same,” said Timmy.
He explained that a farrier’s goal is still to make a horse’s gait as efficient as possible to ensure comfort, increased athletic ability, greater balance and smoother movement.
The McGillycuddy family operates a busy forge at Ballydribeen where pride of place goes to an anvil dating all the way back to 1800 and it has stood the test of time.
It was sourced in the historic Churchtown Estate in Beaufort – where Beaufort Golf Course now stands. The spectacular Georgian house was built in 1740 by Sir Rowland Blennerhassett and the estate was bought in 1860 by James Magill who turned it into one of the largest dairy farms in the south west.
Killarney’s July Racing Festival gets under way from Sunday 15th of July to Thursday 19th of July, for five days Killarney Racecourse will combine the very best of horse racing with a fantastic festival atmosphere for all Racegoers.
The Dawn Milk Ladies Day will take place on Thursday, July 19th and is the highlight of the July Racing Festival attracting capacity crowds at the boutique racecourse each year. The winners of the Queen of Fashion and the Most Stylish Hat Competition will enjoy Luxury prizes and receive a specially commissioned crystal vase.