Behind the majestic walls of the RDS , for one week every summer, a hidden world awaits. From 8th – 12th August the Royal Dublin Society hosts the Dublin Horse Show. For these few days a little bit of country comes to the heart of Dublin. The programme is jam-packed for the full five days. And if you have never been before, InspireMe.ie aims to give you the insider’s track on how to maximise your visit.
Getting there requires only a little planning. Ballsbridge is on the Dart and direct bus lines so there are plenty of options for public transport. Alternatively there is Park & Ride from Muckross College in Donnybrook or UCD. Furthermore there is pre booked parking in Merrion Cricket Club and Old Belvedere Rugby Club.
Something for Everyone…
The best value ticket is the season ticket which gives you access to the public arenas for all five days of the show. Entry to the stands is extra but you may not need this every day. The first thing to do when you get there is to buy your programme. There are multiple events happening in every arena so this will be well-thumbed by the end of the week. Each day there is entertainment on the lawn – magicians, jugglers and live music. If you need to take a rest at any stage, this is a great place to base yourself.
The main hall has hundreds of retail outlets where you can be tempted with horse- and non-horse related goodies. There is every type of food outlet and lots of entertainment for the children. And the craft show is always worth a visit – some of the most beautiful and award-winning crafts by internationally renowned crafts-people are on display.
Wednesday at the Dublin Horse Show
My favourite time is Wednesday morning, as the show starts gently – by 12 am in the main arena you can be sitting with your freshly brewed coffee. There you can admire some of the best show jumpers in the world put their horses through their paces in the International Speed Stakes. All day long there are classes and events. You can wander around at your leisure absorbing the atmosphere. This is a great day to bring small children, as the queues for the pony rides, face painting and bouncy castles are non-existent. The crowds are smallest on this day so they can get right up to the railings and watch the horses and ponies as they canter past.
Thursday at the Dublin Horse Show
Thursday is for the Ladies. The Dundrum Town Centre Ladies Day attracts serious glamour – it’s the day to see and be seen. Nab a table in the champagne bar and watch the world go by. But if high heels and hats are not for you, don’t worry as away from the lawn, there will be more jumping competitions in all the arenas. These run until 7pm.
Friday at the Dublin Horse Show
On Friday, it’s time to don the green jersey and cheer on the Irish team as they compete in the Nations Cup. Watch the world’s most famous showjumpers beat the clock and the course in a thrilling competition that will have you shouting yourself hoarse – or should that be horse! Just make sure to book your stand tickets early as these sell out fast. In the morning you should head across the road to Simmonscourt where the young riders will be demonstrating their skills.
Saturday at the Dublin Horse Show
Saturday can be busy, so head in early, especially if you have small children in tow. The working hunter ponies competition and the mares and foals competition will leave them speechless. In the afternoon, grab a seat early for the pony club games, where the riders of the future will inspire you with their fearlessness. Then it’s time to head to the main arena, to watch the wall get higher and higher in the Puissance. You must be prepared for audience participation. The Mexican wave is a well-established tradition. The atmosphere is always electric and there have been some very popular winners over the last few years.
Sunday at the Dublin Horse Show
Sunday is the day to do a final run through all the arenas making sure that no stone has been left unturned. The final of the pony games is the place to be early in the afternoon. And then to finish off the week, I cannot recommend the Hunt Chase highly enough. Hunt teams from around the country race in relay around the main arena. There will be thrills and spills as the Horse Show closes for yet another year.
This is a unique event in an amazing location, and one that has been a Dublin institution since 1864. It gets better every year. And there is nothing the organisers have not thought about.
The venue is wheelchair accessible and people with disabilities can get a concession rate of €15 with one carer going free. Tickets can be arranged by ringing 0818 903001 or see dublinhorseshow.com/tickets/ticket-types for more information. Furthermore, there are specific viewing platforms at both the Anglesea Stand and the Grandstand of the main arena (which much be booked in advance), and at both Ring 1 and 2.
All are welcome, so be sure to come along – this is an event not to be missed.