Local members and friends of the Carriage Driving Section of Horse Sport Ireland (CDS HSI) took part in a carriage drive from Cahir to Clonmel recently, to mark the first ever route travelled by Charles Bianconi and his famous carriage network.
The drive was in conjunction and on request of the Clonmel Historical Society.
Chairman of the group, Dr Folke Rohrssen, VS, Cahir, too part driving a team (4) of dutch Gelderlanders to a Sport Brea. Along five other members of CDS-HS, who turned out on the rainiest of Sundays, and they Cahir Castle at 10am to head for Clonmel.
Also taking part were: Ger Hennessy, Kilkenny, driving a Sport Break with a pair of Welsh Cob section D horses; Maura Reade, Wexford, driving a single pony to a competition vehicle, accompanied for the whole trip by 2 Dalmatians; John McMahon, Kilbehenny, driving a pair of Gelderlanders to a Charabanc; Donal Keane, Fermoy, driving a coloured cob to a tub trap; Pat Tanner, Lismore, driving another cob under a tub trap.
Sophie Rohrssen, Cahir, Art Hennessy, Kilkenny, and Elisabeth Berry, Ballylooby, groomed for three of the drivers.
After a two hour journey along the N24 the carriages were escorted by Gardai to progress through Irishtown towards the twon centre. The mayor of Clonmel greeted the drivers and accompanied them to Hearns’ Hotel, where some hot port and food was served to the dozen or so soaked souls. Mattie McGrath, TD, also admired the horses, carriages and joined the drivers for the dinner. The mayor then presented CDS-HSI with a lovely set of six prints dated 1856 of Bianconi’s carriages on the road.
A slightly drier return journey ensued and all 11 horses where back in Cahir by 4pm!