Established in 1859, the Irish Masters of Foxhounds Association (IMFHA) represents the interests of 41 foxhunting packs in Ireland. It governs all matters connected to foxhunting legislation, regulation, conservation, education, communications and finance.
About the IMFHA
One of the most famous foxhunters of the 20th Century died on the night of Sunday 28th January 2018 aged 76 at Rochestown, Cahir, Co Tipperary. Michael Higgens was Master or Joint Master of the Tipperary for 18 seasons showing a standard of sport unlikely to be seen again. Following the tradition of such legends as Evan Williams he bred a first class pack of modern foxhounds that were as successful on the flags as they were in the field. Throughout most of his hunting life Michael was supported by his partner Yvonne McClintock and at Tipperary he was loyally served by his Kennel Huntsman Micky Flanagan.
Michael started with the late Captain Charlie Barclay MFH of the Puckeridge in Hertfordshire before venturing to the Findon Harriers in Victoria, Australia. Deciding Ireland was more suited to his ideas Michael came to North Wexford in the late 1960’s to be kennel Huntsman to Julian Spring MFH at the Island where he hunted hounds on a regular basis showing good sport to a demanding mounted field. In 1970 he took the revived East Galway as Master moving to the four day a week Tipperary as Master & Huntsman in 1973 after a short spell at the Ormond. He remained until 1991 and so good were his farming relations it was said ‘there was not a door in Tipperary at which he was not welcome’. A successful breeder of foxhounds the Tipperary won many classes in Ireland and at Peterborough. Michael was a respected hound judge at major shows on both sides of the Irish Sea.
He later hunted the Avondhu for one season (1992/93) and helped breed the Golden Vale hounds moving to the Kilmoganny in 1993 where he was Master and Huntsman for six seasons. Giving up the horn in 1999 Michael Higgens continued to hunt across challenging countries with the élan of somebody half his age. Earlier this season he rode with the Tipperary to mark his 50th season in Ireland. To his partner Yvonne, sister Wiggy and her family the IMFHA extend their deepest sympathies.
And so with his peers we may leave him
With all the good men and true
Who have come to the last of the gateways
And laughed, and gone galloping through.
Following a private, family cremation there will be a Memorial Service at Holy Trinity Church of Ireland, Fethard, Co Tipperary on Tuesday 6th February at 2pm.
May he Rest in Peace.
Every Hunt is involved in breeding their foxhounds – a subject that doesn't need to be daunting. For those who wish to view some ‘Thoughts’ of a foxhound breeder read our featured article, Some Breeding Thoughts on the Foxhound by Roddy Bailey.