An Irish Steeplechase

01 May 2012

We spent Sunday afternoon at the local Steeplechase

a horse race dripping in history

which is run from one point

to another point

over fences and hills

in the raw Irish countryside…

We were in awe of the young, powerful thoroughbreds

crashing over fences woven with willow branches

…leaving dust in their wake,

and struck by such stunning beauty in the strength and condition of maiden horses

As for the spectators,

there were some very serious betters

with some serious bookmakers at their disposal…

Onlookers of the canine variety were welcomed as well.

We admired colourful jockeys

gathered together before each race,

and spotted the lone female rider

all dressed in white.

Cups of hot whiskey

with lemon, sugar and cloves

were sipped by many

for warming protection

from the brisk, stirring wind

that accompanied the afternoon sun.


Slan Abhaile,


Photos by Imen McDonnell 2012.

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15 Responses to “An Irish Steeplechase”

  1. Krista says:

    What a marvelously fun day!!! 🙂 I love this recipe so much and can’t wait for winter to arrive in June so I can make it. 🙂

  2. Imen, first off I’m am jealous of your writing style, the steeplechase would be a great days adventure as most races back in the states are on a track. How often are they held? I bet you have a different perspective being close to the race as opposed to being in the stands, thanks again, its a raw rainy day here in the Northeast U.S. time to use your recipe and have a hot whiskey, for warming purposes only,
    Thanks for the post.

  3. Lovely post. Sounds like such a fun day, and a hot toddy to boot!

  4. Cailin says:

    I love this! Reminds me of my eventing days, where my horse and I would compete in the cross country trials, jumping ditches and logs. Great photos 🙂

  5. Cathy Norrie says:

    What fun! I love the hot whiskey in the plastic glass… amongst the daisies! Thanks for your great blog – I’m so glad I have you visit my inbox on a regular basis 🙂

  6. Aine says:

    I love erading your website – I’m Irish but living in America. I love reading your blog and looking at the evocative photos – it makes me feel less homesick!

  7. Kate Packwood says:

    I LOVE this post, Imen. Thank you.

  8. Nora says:

    I somehow happened across your site today and I am so glad I did! I’m a midwestern American girl myself, funnily enough, and I have this dream of meeting an Irish boy and moving to the Irish countryside. Preferably there would be some farming involved. I’m so happy to see these things can happen 😉

    You’re such a talented writing and I look forward to reading more of your posts! I’m actually going to be studying abroad in Limerick this upcoming fall for school and I can’t wait to witness these kinds of things during my stay.

  9. Parisbug says:

    Gorgeous! My older sister used to jump steeplechase when I was a kid, I was her horse slave (braiding, brushing, fetching) and an avid rider too. The point to point, the getting there, the watching the beauty as the animals strive for the jump…oh, I love it all. I rode in Paris for several years, trying to get my French certification…going to catch up on it again now that we’re moving to horse country Normandy 🙂 Thanks for sharing the Irish side! xoxo L

  10. I love horse racing and your blog depicts the very essence of why I love it so much. The thrill and excitement of the racing, admiring the beautiful horses and relaxing with family and friends. Fantastic photographs!

  11. Beautiful Photos Love

  12. Anne O'Hara says:

    Great photos. Brings back great memories of packing station wagon with kids, picnic baskets and rugs and heading out to Castletown Geoghegan for the Westmeath Hunt point to point.

  13. Imen – I love your photos of the races. The hot whiskey amongst the daisies is perfect. I miss Irish horse races, but luckily I live in Kentucky now, the center of horse of racing in America. It’s Derby week right now, so Louisville is full of excitement and anticipation. I hope some year to don a hat and join the fans on race day. Maybe next year!

  14. Colleen says:

    My Irish Grandfather loved going to the steeplechase – I have great memories of going with him when we visited Ireland during the summers. Great pics!

  15. Lovely photos. Looks like a wonderful experience, and what beautiful animals!

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