Beach horse races going strong 50 years after Timmy's win
IT was 50 years ago when his horse won at the races and yesterday an octogenarian was honoured for the achievement.
Timmy Kelleher (86) and his brother Stevie from Milltown in Dingle, Co Kerry, brought their horse Eileen Og to the first races at Beal Ban in Ballyferriter in 1951 and won. They made the 16km journey on bicycles, pulling Eileen Og on a rope.
"I was the first man to win a race here and I won £15 and it was a huge amount of money," Mr Kelleher said yesterday, when he was honoured at the latest event.
The races take place on the strand at Beal Ban but are dependent on tide and weather. And yesterday, riders took to the beach for seven races after the conditions were deemed suitable.
"We had to wait for low tide, that was around 12.50pm, so the last race was at 3.30pm," said Seamus Leahy, chairman of the race committee.
Racing on Beal Ban was popular in the '50s and '60s but died out when there was a dispute about the appropriateness of holding a race meeting on a Sunday.
The races are amateur but former winners have gone on to become professional jockeys.