Saturday 1 October 2016

'Ladies Day is bitchy and catty as hell', says Best Dressed regular Bernie

Katie Morris

Published 28/07/2015 | 07:33

Bernie and Dawn Leadon-Bolger at the Punchestown Festival first Day...KOB..2/5/11
Bernie and Dawn Leadon-Bolger at the Punchestown Festival first Day...KOB..2/5/11
Hats off to Carol Kennelly, left, from Tralee, Co. Kerry, and Jennifer Wrynne, from Leitrim, enjoying Ladies Day at the Galway Racing Festival on Ladies Day.
Rachelle Guiry
Martha Lynn from Roscommon at the Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show for the Blossom Hill Ladies Day which runs from August the 7th to August the 11th in the RDS, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

They've dusted down their fascinators, slapped on the fake tan and sharpened their nails.

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The Galway Races Ladies Day is almost upon us and, according to Best Dressed regular Bernie Leadon Bolger (46) things can get pretty ugly around the parade ring.

Hats off to Carol Kennelly, left, from Tralee, Co. Kerry, and Jennifer Wrynne, from Leitrim, enjoying Ladies Day at the Galway Racing Festival on Ladies Day.
Hats off to Carol Kennelly, left, from Tralee, Co. Kerry, and Jennifer Wrynne, from Leitrim, enjoying Ladies Day at the Galway Racing Festival on Ladies Day.

"Ladies Day can be catty as hell and dare I say bitchy, too," Bernie told the Herald. "I've had drinks spilt on me and had comments that would scare you. It's sad because horse racing is so much more."

The annual competition sees women from around the country go handbag-to-handbag as they battle it out to be named the most fashionable filly.

While Bernie has dealt with catty comments, other Ladies Day regulars insist it's nothing but friendly rivalry. For Carol Kennelly (43), from Co Kerry, the Galway Races are the highlight of her year.

"I'd rather miss Christmas than miss the Galway Races," she said. "I haven't seen a nasty side at all. It's a very sociable event."

Kennelly has been crowned Best Dressed Lady at various race meetings and says planning is essential if you want to stand out from the crowd.

"There is nothing worse than a pair of shoes or a bag letting the outfit down at the last moment. It is attention to detail that pays off," Carol said.

Rachelle Guiry
Rachelle Guiry

Limerick native Rachelle Guiry, who picked up the Best Dressed title at the Darley Oaks in July 2014, spends months making sure her ensembles are perfectly polished.

"You have an idea, it might generate around your dress or hat. But you also want to be fresh and trendy for the spring/summer season," Rachelle said.

But getting dolled up for the Races isn't simply a bit of frivolous fun - there's cold, hard cash to be made.

For many, attending the races has become good business; Dublin-based milliner Martha Lynn has won thousands over the years. The designer never spends more on her chic outfits than the potential winnings.

Martha Lynn from Roscommon at the Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show for the Blossom Hill Ladies Day which runs from August the 7th to August the 11th in the RDS, Dublin.
Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Martha Lynn from Roscommon at the Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show for the Blossom Hill Ladies Day which runs from August the 7th to August the 11th in the RDS, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

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