The Irish have a major interest in this month's Cheltenham Festival - and it's not just the horses. Dubarry, which started life in Ballinasaloe, is one of the key sponsors of Ladies' Day on March 15… and all Irish eyes will be on the Gold Cup, which falls, appropriately enough, on St Patrick's Day
Cheltenham lies beneath Cleeve Hill, the highest point in the Cotswolds, and on a good day you can see for miles. On a cold March day, the weather can chill you to the bone, which is why the racing fraternity wisely resort to their reliable 'county wear' of warm-hued tweeds and waxed jackets, set off by cheerfully bright trousers and a dapper felt trilby or fedora.
It's very much a Cotswolds and county look that the hardcore Cheltenham enthusiasts will wear to mark the start of the racing calendar. And while there will be an element of feathery hats, the main bulk of the racegoers will be dressed for the weather... all of which is good news for Galway company Dubarry, which has gone from making deck shoes to designing a complete women's and men's wardrobe of outdoor clothing.
The latest ladies' looks include the Samphire, a very sharp tweed cape (pictured left) with faux fur collar and centre front toggles. It's a refreshing alternative to the jacket or conventional winter coat that allows for lots of movement - and cheering on your horse as it crosses the winning line.
On the course, Dubarry will be sponsoring the Best Turned-Out Horse for all 28 races over the four days and is also involved with Ladies' Day, where the style winner's prize includes a voucher for their newly opened store in Cheltenham itself. See dubarry.ie