How It’s New York: New Yorkers love their horses, especially racing, whether it’s Aqueduct, Belmont, or the lovely Saratoga upstate. Just think of Nicely Nicely singing “I’ve got the horse right here, his name is Paul Revere” in “fugue for tinhorns” at the beginning of Guys and Dolls.

How It’s Irish: and the Irish, of course, are well known for their love of horses, breeding them, racing them, caring for them. Who invented the word “steeplechase,” after all? (Wikipedia notes: The first steeplechase is said to have been the result of a wager in 1752 between Cornelius O’Callaghan and Edmund Blake, racing four miles (6 km) cross-country from Buttevant Church to St. Leger Church in Doneraile, in Cork, Ireland.)

John Cash, a photographer in Ireland, shares this photo essay from the Ballinasloe Horse Fair in County Galway. We look forward to more pictures from Erin to come!

Like many countries, Ireland has enjoyed a real love affair with the horse. From Equestrian events, to horse racing, pony trekking etc. the horse has really found a special place in many peoples hearts.

As a photographer I have to say I look forward every year to our horse fairs, horses of all shapes and sizes accompanied by owners of all shapes and sizes, who could ask for anything more. One of my favorite horse fairs is Ballinasloe, Co. Galway which is held in October every year.

Arriving early is a must, as the day wears on it can become to packed with both horses andpeople. The first thing that will hit you is the mixture of aromas, people, leather, horse, horse dung and fast food all mixed together in a concoction that will launch a serious assault on your sense of smell.Then you begin to filter out the different noises, dogs barking, laughter, banter, clip clop of horses, “wheeeeeee” from this horse, “Neeeeee” from two more and all this before the donkeys andeverything else join in. 

This is only on the fair green, down town you have a vibrant market with everything including, I am sure, kitchen sinks for sale.

There have been times I was tempted to call the police, hearing one man call out in a loud voice ” for god sake sir your trying to rob me” only to realize it was a false alarm and the man was mearly offering to low a price for a particular horse. 

I have often heard especially in other countries about how much Ireland has changed, it has– but every so often you find a place or event and its like stepping back in time.

Our horse fairs are one of those events, I have little doubt they enthrall those visitors to Ireland who are lucky enough to come across a fair while in the country.

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