Reaching for the stars
Millstreet Arena manager Thomas Duggan has big plans for the Co Cork venue
"The potential for Ireland to one day run a four-star event is not out of bounds," commented Thomas Duggan of Green Glens Arena as he prepares to host the venue's inaugural CIC international event next month.
As the site is fine-tuned ahead of what will be a busy time from August 28 to 30 at Green Glens and the adjacent Drishane Castle, Mr Duggan is already looking ahead to bigger projects and says that, with careful planning, they could have a venue capable of running a four-star in years to come.
"This has always been our goal, to take little steps at a time and build up the venue for major eventing competitions," he added.
"We are delighted to be running our first CIC in a few weeks' time and already a letter of interest to run a CCI in 2016 has been submitted to Horse Sport Ireland. There's also rumours of the FEI possibly introducing CIC four star at some stage, but we have little knowledge of this as yet. It could be an option sometime too if it happened."
"We've held show jumping events here for years, but even before we were allocated the European Pony Eventing Championships in 2014 we had started on the cross-country course.
"Drishane Castle is a unique venue and we are merely polishing an old diamond by opening it up for such events. Our course designer Mike Etherington-Smith has done a wonderful job on it."
Ireland has always been renowned for producing top-class event horses, and Mr Duggan believes that the addition of this new CIC to the eventing calendar next month can only be good for business.
"The entries are just starting to come in and already we have interest from riders from the UK and the US. An added incentive is that we have offered free entry to riders who win at the British events of Barbury, Hopetoun and Burgham.