News & Events

Protocols for Hunting During Covid-19

Under the present guidance of Horse Sport Ireland and Sport Ireland hunting is permitted to continue during Levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the Governments 5 Level COVID Framework, with restrictions. In all circumstances Government Guidelines supersede IMFHA protocols **Hunting members must follow IMFHA protocols and be restricted to Pods of 15.

- Please click here to download the full PDF of the protocols and feel free to use it for display or distribution -


Hunting like all other equestrian sports is to take place behind closed doors, with a set of clearly defined and adhered to protocols.

Spectators and Foot Followers should be deterred, unless in an official capacity or a guardian of a minor.

A hunt suspected of breaching protocols may be required to report to the IMFHA sub committee with responsibility. If found in breach sanctions may apply for that club.

Social media postings of hunting activity should not be permitted by clubs. We are grateful to be able to hunt and cognisant that even in normal times it has the ability to attract social debate.

Hunting has the privilege of being allowed to continue under these protocols. At all times we must be conscious and respectful of our communities who are all experiencing some form of restrictions or hardships due to COVID-19.

In The News

High Court judgement ruled in favour of Laois Hunt Club Ltd and landowner after a personal injury case was taken by a rider who sustained a serious fall while hunting.The High Court yesterday (Friday) ruled in favour of the Laois Hunt Club Ltd of Beechfield, Abbeyleix and landowner James Ferney of Ballacolla, Co Laois, in a personal injury case taken against them after a lady rider sustained serious injury while out hunting on a novice mare she broke in herself. The Irish Field, 17 May 2019. ... Read article

NEWS: IMFA HUNTING SEMINAR: Lively issues raised at hunting seminar

The Irish Masters of Foxhounds held a highly informative hunting seminar to discuss the many issues affecting hunting including legal claims, protesters and social media. The Irish Field, 25 October 2019 ... Read article

NEWS: Informative hunting seminar in Tipperary

Dickie Power reported from the lively Irish Masters of Foxhounds Association seminar. The Irish Field, 17 May 2019.... Read article

NEWS: Laois Hunt Club wins court case

High Court judgement ruled in favour of Laois Hunt Club Ltd and landowner after a personal injury case was taken by a rider who sustained a serious fall while hunting. The Irish Field, 17 May 2019.... Read article

NEWS: Passing of Philip G. Purcell

The death took place of the dedicated family man and lifelong horseman Philip G. Purcell. The Irish Field, 10 May 2019. ... Read article

HUNTING: Dashing Duhallows

Dickie and Catherine Power enjoy a great day out with the Duhallow Foxhounds at the Moneymusk Stud in Kanturk. The Irish Field, 1 March 2019 ... Read article

NEWS: IMFA and Laois Hunt hosting information day

There's a new competition for Old English Foxhounds at the Irish Masters of Foxhounds' Annual Show at Stradbally, Co Laois, in July. The Irish Field, 27 April 2018 ... Read article

HOUND SHOW: Terrific day at Stradbally Hound Show

Roddy Bailey reports from the IMFHA Foxhound Show at Stradbally Park
THE IMFHA Foxhound Show on Sunday, July 1st attracted 19 packs against the spectacular backdrop of the Cosby family home at Stradbally Park... ... Read article

New competition at Stradbally Hound Show

There's a new competition for Old English Foxhounds at the Irish Masters of Foxhounds' Annual Show at Stradbally, Co Laois, in July. The Irish Field, 27 April 2018 ... Read article

Great hunting in lively company

Dickie Power enjoyed a good day out with the Co Waterford Foxhounds at Stradbally. The Irish Field, 16 Feb 2018 ... Read article

Much sadness at the death of Michael Higgens

Synonymous with The Tipperary Foxhounds, the late Michael Higgens did not let illness intrude on his love of hunting and the Irish countryside. The Irish Field, 2 February 2018   ... Read article

An historic day...

Dickie Power enjoys a day's hunting with the Kilmogannys at their Glenmore meet. The Irish Field, 15 December 2017  ... Read article

On a wing and a prayer...

Dickie Power takes to the country with the famous Scarteens for their traditional opening meet at Knocklong. The Irish Field, 17 November 2017  ... Read article

Breeding Thoughts - Stradbally Foxhounds

Roddy Bailey looks forward to the upcoming National Hound Show at Stradbally Hall. The Irish Field, 16 June 2017  ... Read article

Featured Article 01

'HuntsMan's Hints' by Roddy Bailey

The following is an edited extract from ‘Hunting Hints & Breeding Thoughts’ by Roddy Bailey published in 2017. [Read full article (PDF)]

The following are just hints for a huntsman based on my own experiences. These are my views not necessarily those of the IMFHA and they may not be shared by all. There is no blue print for handling a pack of hounds but perhaps my greatest mentor was Kilkenny born Tom Cody who hunted the Bramham Moor Hounds for more years than I care to count. It is important to remember hunting in Ireland is similar but not the same as Britain which is where I learnt my trade. Some aspects I mention may not apply to somebody hunting hounds where access for the huntsman is not as ‘manicured’ as it is in many (but not all) English countries. For example, in Ireland coverts rarely have ‘rides’ so the hunt staff cannot get about readily. Often, to get out of covert onto a fox’s line is a major undertaking perhaps involving the negotiation of several thick banks which takes time. Hardly ever is the Irish huntsman faced with the ease of two hunt jumps and a wicket gate and he is away.

A terrierman is essential. Properly conducted terrier work is vital to competent foxhunting. As regards the huntsman or kennel huntsman the saying that ‘if you want to breed a pack of hounds first breed your huntsman’ is true of both breeding and hound handling. I will leave the complexities of terrier work, earth stopping and country organisation to others. You can’t go foxhunting without foxes so love and respect the fox as a worthy and honoured quarry and not as a sorry pest. The welfare aspects of kennels are well covered by the Hunting Association of Ireland’s Guidelines for Hunt Kennels in Ireland published in 2007. Martin Letts’s Notes From a Hound Man is invaluable to the huntsman be he/she honorary or professional, and the ‘honorary’ should aspire to be as professional as his or her skills allow. I have incorporated some of Martin’s advice in this article. No huntsman should take to the field without consuming the short but essential Goodall’s Practice - advice such as that booklet contains doesn’t come better. Since the performance of a pack of hounds is firstly handling and secondly breeding I have tried to remember some pointers that helped me provide some fun for those who love hunting.

Handling. I learnt hounds should be on a loose rein as much as possible; any fool can hold a pack behind but it takes an artist to have them in front on a ‘thread’. This is achieved by skill at hound exercise and in the kennel using its layout to advantage. One famous huntsman believed hounds should be treated like ladies i.e. kennel gates opened for them and then hounds invited through. Young hounds coming in from walk must receive attention from that moment onwards. This is part of their formative period. They must not be neglected until hunting has finished. Hounds are intelligent individuals and should be treated as such. They should spend the maximum amount of time outside kennels and be exercised at least twice daily and it should be fun for them. The timing of exercise and walking out should be the same each day - hounds thrive on routine. .... Read full article (PDF)

Exercise and walking out ‘should be fun for them’. Walking Out 1994.

On the road. ‘It is often appropriate for the whipper-in to be in front of the huntsman’. Morpeth First Whipper In and Kennel Huntsman Sandy Wilson in front and the Huntsman behind. (2003). Photo: Trevor Meeks.

Featured Article 02

'Some Breeding Thoughts on the Foxhound' by Roddy Bailey

I hope these pointers help huntsmen throughout Ireland. Many of these ideas were learnt from foxhunters far and wide but special place must be given to Kilkenny born Tom Cody of the Bramham Moor. Rarely was a professional huntsman ‘of the old school’ more forgiving of a boy on a bicycle. It is often interesting to read of other people’s experiences and maybe these thoughts might be informative as well. Some may disagree with parts. Healthy debate helps the sport we all love and there is no blue print for breeding hounds.

Many hunting friends helped me with these suggestions although the content is my fault entirely.
Roddy Bailey. [View full article (PDF)]

Essential Elements

In order to breed any pack of hounds the following elements are essential:
• To breed a pack of hounds first secure the support of the person looking after them.
• Have an accurate hound list showing all hounds in the kennel by age, sex, sire and dam. A summary by year and sex is usually necessary. See sample.
• Have a list of all the bitches showing their date of previous ‘seasons’ and the date when each bitch is forecast next to come into season.
• Maintain all the pedigrees of each hound to at least six generations. See the ‘line bred’ example illustrated.
• Have access to the British MFHA Hound Breeding web site and learn to use the ‘trial mating’ option (Username and password needed). All foxhounds bred in Ireland are in the British maintained Foxhound Kennel Stud Book which is the source for the MFHA web site.
• Know the type of hound the huntsman/handler prefers ie Modern or ‘Old English’ foxhound.
• Know the foxhound tradition of the kennel ie Modern or ‘Old English’ foxhound.
• Have a secure kennel with continuity in hunt management.

Without the above the hound breeder cannot begin.

Note: These thoughts are mostly confined to the Stud Book Foxhound (Modern or ‘Old English’) although the principles apply to other working hounds.

Chance Breeding v Line Breeding

Many hunts select a good doghound and a good bitch and use them. This method can produce an odd good foxhound but it is ‘chance breeding’. You end up with a pack of individuals and their conformation faults mean more hounds have to be kept to cover frequent lameness and the pack tends to be less effective in the field. The aim of the hound breeder is to produce a ‘level’ (ie uniform make and shape) pack of hounds that are athletic and work as a team. Hound colour should play no part unless the kennel wishes to maintain a ‘colour’ tradition. The better their conformation the less the hound takes out of itself. Therefore it is able to continue effectively when other hounds are tired often producing successful hunts at the end of a four hour hunting day. The breeder should use hounds with qualities of nose, cry, stamina, fox sense, temperament and drive and this requires breeding from known hounds with these requisite characteristics. Such ‘known’ hounds need not be current performers; the breeder may wish to breed back to hounds of the past whose families were renowned foxhounds. Moreover such athletic hounds have the ability to turn out two or three times a week and their soundness means they rarely go lame. An economic advantage of a pack of well put together hounds is the hunt need not keep so many hounds since soundness results in fewer hounds being lame. There is no point in keeping a hound that can only go out once a week. The way to produce this all round athletic team of hounds with good qualities hunting two or three days a week is by line breeding not chance breeding. Line breed for work and voice, breed more than you want to allow some selection and get them as good looking as possible.

What is meant by Line Breeding?

Line breeding is a form of close breeding and therefore great care must be taken by the breeder. How do we go about doing this? The most important part when selecting a hound to breed from is that he/she and all the family must be good workers. It follows that kennels should not breed from a hound that is too young (nor too old).

[View full article (PDF)]

Example of a Line Bred Old English type foxhound. Waterford Panther ’09. Photo: R Markham.

Example of a Line Bred ‘Modernised’ Old English type foxhound. Sir Watkin Williams - Wynn’s Parker ’08. Photo: Richard Tyacke MFH

Example of a Line Bred Modern foxhound. VWH Smiler ’09 (Peterborough Bitch Champion 2010). Photo: Martin Scott & Jim Meads.

Recent News & Events

The Dublin Horse Show ‘Pictures of my Memories’ by Noel Mullins

Noel Mullins’ new book, ‘The Dublin Horse Show’, with its 800 action packed images takes the reader on a pictorial journey through the famous show. It has taken more than 10 years for Mullins to take thousands of photos of the annual shop window of the Irish Horse, and to narrow them down to the best 800 in his new book. The Foreword is written by Matthew Dempsey who was President of the Royal Dublin Society (2014-17). He is also chairman of the Irish National Stud and the Agricultural Trust that features amongst its titles, The Irish Field and The Farmers Journal, the best known Irish publications for both comprehensive coverage of all disciplines of equestrianism and farming.

For further information and to order a copy please go to

In Search of the Kerry Beagle by Stanislaus Lynch

‘In Search of the Kerry Beagle’ is a fascinating read by journalist, author and poet Stanislaus Lynch, the only Irish writer to be awarded two Olympic Diplomas for the Literature of the Chase at the London Games in1948, and Helsinki in 1952.

Written by Lynch nearly three quarters of a century ago, it has been sitting in his study since he passed away in 1983. During a meeting in 2005 between his wife Margaret and photojournalist and author Noel Mullins when he was writing a feature on her late husband, they discussed the possibility of it being published. Mullins at the time was busy writing other books and on a research fellowship at the National Sporting Library near Washington in the USA working on the manuscripts of other Irish writers. But he realised the significance of the work and its historical significance and that it should not be lost to the public. So he agreed to edit and publish it, and finally it is now available to the readers.

Edited and published by Noel Mullins. For further information and to order a copy please go to

Lady of the Chase. The Life and Hunting Diaries of Daphne Moore by Alastair Jackson.

The previously undiscovered hunting diaries of doyenne of the hounds’ world Daphne Moore have now come to light. Edited and illustrated in this new book, author Alastair Jackson uses them to open up a whole world of hunting and its characters from the 1930s and 80s.

Available from September 2018 from Brian McDonagh at €30 each, plus €5 post & packaging. To reserve your copy/ies please send your address and cheque (payable to ‘Brian McDonagh’) to: Brian McDonagh, 16 Melbourne Business Park, Model Farm Road, Cork.

Memoirs of a Foxhunting Photographer by Catherine Power

A collection of hunting photographs from the lens of Irish Field photographer Catherine Power was launched on the 26th of November at the Dunraven Arms. Running to 200 pages and covering well over twenty packs ranging from Scarteen, Duhallow, The Blazers all the way to the Ward Union it takes readers on a pictorial hunting tour. What a lovely Christmas present.

For further information and to order a copy please call Catherine on 086 2749540 or email