The participation of many Rio-bound gold medal hopefuls at this year’s Dublin Horse Show means a change from the traditional August dates to July 20-24 for this summer institution.
Despite the earlier date, the same great combinations will be on offer, including International show jumping and the stylish Dundrum Town Centre Ladies’ Day, family entertainment and the best in Irish craft, as well as good food, great shopping and a social occasion like no other.
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD officially launched the Show: “After 143 years the Dublin Horse Show continues to be Ireland’s leading equestrian event drawing up to 100,000 horse enthusiasts and visitors from home and overseas. The show provides a full event programme which is being extended every year, ensuring there is something new for everyone and 2016 is no exception.
“This year is an Olympic year and carries with it the added excitement of witnessing up close Irish and international riders who will be bidding for gold in Rio. I wish everyone taking part in the event every success and hope that those attending, whether from near or from far, enjoy the five days of sport, entertainment and Irish hospitality.”
From July 20 -24 the RDS showgrounds will host Olympic hopefuls who participate in the 14 international competitions.
Last year Ireland won the coveted Aga Khan Trophy as part of the Furusiyya FEI Nations’ Cup™ series; Antrim-based Egyptian rider Sameh el Dahan cleared 2.20m to win the Land Rover Puissance; while American Kent Farrington went one better to win the valuable Longines Grand Prix. As always, the international riders will be warming up around the showgrounds next to competitors, young and old, who compete in the many national competitions for whom the Dublin Horse Show is their annual pinnacle event.
Alongside a five-day equestrian programme, the Show has much to offer visitors with over 300 stands offering some of the best in fashion, craft, as well as equine products, from both home and abroad. New artisan food offerings area available this year throughout the RDS grounds are sure to cater for everyone’s tastes, while children will love the range of fun activities in the Kids’ Zone including pony rides and bouncy castles. One of the highlights for many is the exhibition of the RDS Craft Awards Exhibition which each year displays some of the best craft makers in Ireland.
Michael Duffy, RDS Chief Executive commented: “The last time we moved to July for the Show was in 1992 for the Barcelona Olympics. That year Ireland won the Aga Khan trophy so we hope that it’s a good omen.
“The Horse Show was originally founded to encourage and promote the Irish sport horse industry, as one part of the RDS philanthropic aims, and this continues to be the primary purpose, providing Irish breeders and producers with an international platform to showcase the very best of Irish sport horses. Equestrianism is just one of the areas that we specialise in, and we work in science, the arts, industry and agriculture throughout the year.”
One of the premier style events of the summer, the Dundrum Town Centre Ladies’ Day takes place on Thursday July 21 and this year has a brilliant prize of a €10,000 shopping voucher for the Centre. Thursday has been known as Ladies’ Day for well over 100 years at the RDS and this is the second year of sponsorship by Dundrum Town Centre. Gents won’t be left out with ‘Best Dressed Man’ competition sponsored by Louis Copeland. Other prize categories include the ‘Great Lengths Most Creative Hat’ and ‘Longines: Elegance is an Attitude’.
Speaking about the Horse Show, Head of Dublin for Fáilte Ireland, Keelin Fagan explained: “The Dublin Horse Show is an important feature in the Dublin festival calendar demonstrating Ireland’s capacity for hosting international events. Sporting events and our ability to stage such spectacles, are a very important part of what Ireland has to offer as a destination.
“The Dublin Horse Show also adds to the strong event calendar which Fáilte Ireland has built up for Dublin – a calendar which allows us to pitch Dublin as a place where there is always something compelling and different to see and do.”