HISTORY was very much in the air for the recent meet of the Stonehall Harriers at the little monument known as ‘The Stoneyman’. It represents a blacksmith hard at work and is embedded in a wall just west of Rathkeale in an area known as Stoneville. It is on the corner of the Massey estate adjacent to what is known as The Dark Road so called because it is arched for its length by overhanging beeches. This picturesque road divides the estate which is run as a modern dairy farm. The Masseys have been there for generations, certainly since 1743 when Hugo Massey married Frances Ingolsby, believed at the time to be the wealthiest woman in the British Isles.

For all that, modern hunting history was being made as the senior-master on the day, Michael O’Shaughnessy, is believed to be the longest serving master of hounds, not only in these islands but in the greater world of hunting.