2nd International Polo Festival comes to Kerry
This September the world's largest polo tournament since 1991
is taking place. The venue isn't Smiths Lawn in England, an
estancia outside Buenos Aires or even the hallowed turf of
Phoenix Park in Dublin, but on the Dingle Peninsular on the
West Coast of Ireland.
Players and polo fans from around the world are meeting at
the close of the European polo season for a final polo showdown
on the sands of Inch Strand. This is the second time that
polo tournaments have been held at Inch and the location lends
a great sense of fun to what can be a stuffy sport. Last year
saw a trial run for this year's festival when 4 teams from
Cork, Waterford, Loais and Limerick met for a weekend's sport
was first played in Europe in Limerick in the 1860s, but went into
a decline in popularity. The sport in Ireland is undergoing a revival
with five new clubs starting up in the past four years and player
numbers doubling to around 200. The comparative newness of the sport
here will give the teams from countries with more established polo
traditions an advantage at Inch.
the experienced international teams from the USA, India, South Africa,
Hungary, France, Germany, Argentina and the UK meet us in Inch we
might have to rely on our acclimatisation to rain, the cráic
in Dingle and the black stuff to level the playing field!
festival runs from 11-14 September 2003 and is being run by
Inch Polo Club based out of the Inch Cafe. So far 25 international
teams are attending and the entries are pouring in. Inch Polo
Festival will be the largest polo event since the Polo World
Cup in 1991. It is no wonder then that elements of the festival
will be televised around the world and will be the subject
of a Channel 4 documentary.
festival also makes the record books for being the first polo
tournament to be played on sand using international polo association
'grass' rules as opposed to 'arena sand'. The Monte Carlo
tournament pits three players a team on soft sand using an
inflatable ball on a field 100 yards by 60 yards.
are altogether much more dramatic at Inch, four player teams will
be playing on hard sand, with a hard ball on fields 300 yards long
by however far out the tide is. As ponies gallop at full speed,
the ball can be hit at over 90 miles per hour and travel over 100
the soft sand by the dunes acting as one boundary and the
sea as the other, ponies running into touch could be in for
a cold shock! Unlike polo on grass, spectators will not be
required to tread in diverts during the breaks between chukkas.
If a field gets too marked by the ponies, the goal posts will
just get moved along the beach to the next strip of virgin
sand and the tide will prepare the ground for the next day's
tournaments will be held over the four days of the festival,
an international open, a ladies open and an Irish open- the
Ungodly Cup - that was won by Laois last year.
Polo is one of the few team sports where women play alongside
men and last year's winners matched two men and two women
against all male sides!
a company would like to sponsor one of these or an individual prize,
for example, best player, best playing pony or even the best tumble,
they should contact the organisers.
With over 240 polo ponies being brought to the festival, 120 players
and an estimated 5000 spectators, the festival promises a great
few days out but also a requirement for local support.
Many of the teams will be bringing their families for a Kerry holiday
and making a week of it. The organisers are hoping that everyone
in the tourism and equine trades in the region will provide their
details to the organisers for inclusion on the festival's website
and to give out to visitors.
is also hoped that local businesses will support the festival by
adopting teams coming to the festival. Any company sponsoring a
team or event will automatically be made Inch Polo Club members
and can make use of the facilities throughout the festival.
will include a private viewing area, bar and buffet, the opportunity
to design your teams colours and to organise corporate hospitality
events banner advertising and trade stands.
polo at Inch will provide tough competition for all teams attending
and give spectators a unique opportunity to witness polo at its
best without having to go to Smiths Lawn or Argentina. And its free!
information on the 2nd International Inch Polo Festival is available
via the website www.inchpolo.com,
via email firstname.lastname@example.org
calling +353 22 48281.