DRAGHUNT RACING ENJOYING BORDER COUNTIES RENAISSANCE

4 March 2016 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Hunting with hounds is still a common sight across the Border counties, even in these days of heightened political correctness where hounds in full cry with noses to the ground trail their quarry through fields, bogs, rivers and roads.

However, the ‘sister’ sport of draghunt racing may not be as familiar to those that are aware of the ins and outs of hunting with hounds. This age-old sport began with huntsmen trying to keep their hounds fit in the close season of March to September when it was forbidden to hunt live quarry with hounds. An artificial scent of aniseed oil and paraffin was used to replicate the scent of the fox.

A large cloth in a muslin bag was soaked in the scent overnight and the following day was dragged for miles across fields and bogs on a course which was considered good for viewing. A starting line and finishing post was picked, all dogs were entered, lined up at the start and when the flag was dropped an almighty cry of baying hounds rang out across the countryside as sometimes over one hundred set off in pursuit of glory!

The sport enjoyed a purple patch in this region in the ‘80s and 90’s and in 1987 Arva in Co Cavan hosted the first annual All-Ireland Draghunt Championships. The Noughties saw…

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