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Monday, 27 August 2012

Lady Jumpers

Dublin, August 27th.

Horse Show.

Since it was first held in 1864 the Horse Show has become a Dublin institution. A celebration of Ireland's affinity with the horse, from the best show horses to the best international show jumpers. It is one of Ireland's largest events, a highlight of the summer, each year welcoming tens of thousands of people from Ireland and all over the world.

Lady jumpers who jumped better than the men. Irish faces of nearly all the girls in the Grand Stand. A certain chic. Motor-car enclosure full of cars all higgledy-piggledy. God Save the King when H.E. (French) came and left, and very feeble cheering of the same.

Field Marshal John Denton Pinkstone French, 1st Earl of Ypres, KP, GCB, OM, GCVO, KCMG, ADC, PC (28 September 1852 – 22 May 1925), known as The Viscount French between 1916 and 1922, was a British and Anglo-Irish officer. He distinguished himself commanding the Cavalry Division during the Second Boer War, became Chief of the Imperial General Staff in 1912 but resigned over the Curragh Mutiny, and then served as the first Commander-in-Chief of the British Expeditionary Force for the first two years of World War I before becoming Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1918.
Earl French, Lord Lieutenant

In May 1918, French was appointed British Viceroy, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and Supreme Commander of the British Army in Ireland. As Lord Lieutenant he raised the status of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC), approved the raising of the Black and Tans and sought the introduction of martial law. His objective was the destruction of Sinn Féin. French was not popular with nationalist interest groups in Ireland and on 19 December 1919 an assassination attempt was made on him. That day an Irish Republican Army unit which consisted of 11 volunteers, including Seán Treacy, Seamus Robinson, Seán Hogan, Paddy Daly (Leader), Joe Leonard, Martin Savage, and Dan Breen sought to ambush French as he returned from his country residence in Frenchpark, County Roscommon.  The volunteers' intelligence operative had informed the unit that French would be travelling in the second car of an armed convoy which would bring him from Ashtown railway station to the Vice-Regal Lodge in Phoenix Park, Dublin. The plan was for Martin Savage, Tom Kehoe, and Dan Breen to push a hay-cart halfway across the road blocking the path of French's car. Their plan was almost foiled, as an RIC officer disturbed them. One of IRA men lobbed a grenade at him, which did not go off but knocked him unconscious. The RIC officer was then dragged from the road. When the convoy appeared minutes later, the IRA unit attacked the second car. However French had actually been in the first car which had already passed. In the ensuing crossfire Dan Breen was shot in the leg, and seconds later Savage fell mortally wounded after being hit by a bullet in the neck, while French safely continued his journey. French resigned as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland on 30 April 1921 and was replaced by Lord Edmund Talbot, a Catholic who was perceived as likely to be more acceptable to the Irish people.

The women won the jumping competitions easily. It seems a few of them go round and round Ireland, jumping; but this is the first time they have been allowed to jump at Dublin Show.

  • No lady was allowed to ride in any jumping competition until 1919.
  • A novelty class for women was introduced in 1919. In 1920 women were able to compete freely.
  • Women were permitted to compete in the international competitions from 1954 (an international rule).
  • In times past the Ladies Hunter Classes for ladies riding side-saddle in traditional costume (veil and habit) were judged on the Thursday of the Show. As a result Thursday became Ladies' Day.

RDS 1919


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