Antrim fans of Irish Country Sports unite to launch new book

The significant contribution which field sports makes to Ireland’s traditional way of life, rural habitat and species conservation will be celebrated in an important new book launched recently at Parliament Buildings, Stormont.

‘Irish Country Sports - A Heritage’, is the first major publication to chart and examine the traditions, history and development of country sports across the whole of Ireland.

Packed with contributions from some of Ireland’s most respected and committed country sports stalwarts, the glossy volume provides a unique insight into their sporting passions and love of Ireland’s flora and fauna. The ambitious publication maps the development of country sports and explores how they have helped to shape and preserve both the rural landscape and its culture. The book also provides an overview of how those sports are responding to the challenges of modern lifestyles, encroaching urbanisation and changing attitudes.

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Launching the book, editor Albert Titterington, a qualified biologist, passionate environmentalist and lifelong champion of country sports, said, “Country sports are too often the subject of contention and can be both misunderstood and maligned by today’s largely urban society, but we hope that this book may go some way to redressing the balance by demonstrating how care and concern for the environment invariably go hand-in-hand with country sports. Unchallenged and unchecked, misdirected negativity could adversely affect our rural way of life way of life, causing

(From left) David Hinds, director of printers WG Baird Ltd in Mallusk and Don Hawthorne, project manager with the company, present the first copy of launch ‘Irish Country Sports: A Heritage’ ‘hot off the presses’ to editor Albert Titterington.

this rich heritage to be profoundly diminished or even lost entirely to future generations. As a community we are passionate about protecting our landscapes and waters – and not only so that we can enjoy our chosen sporting pursuits, but also bringing extensive tangible benefits to native habitats and species. As this book demonstrates, the strong ethical code of country sports enthusiasts yields a legacy of enhanced environments with great improvements for a wide range of flora and fauna in our fields and streams and wild places. Fundamentally, this is brought about through the actions of individuals, sporting clubs and the various organising associations. Because we are constantly out and about and engaging with nature, we see and understand what is happening within our much-loved countryside. We don’t

just talk about the need for conservation and biodiversity, we act.”

Regarded as the most important publication on traditional country sports for a generation, ‘Irish Country Sports - A Heritage’ takes an in-depth look at the major sports of hunting, shooting, and angling as well as devoting chapters to deer and deer stalking, falconry and taxidermy, game and fish food heritage and the promotion of Irish country sports, with potential benefits to tourism.

Not surprisingly, the Irish love of dogs is also extensively reflected with chapters on The Irish Kennel Club, springer and cocker spaniels, the retrieving breeds, pointers and setters and ‘HPRs’ and even legendary Irish greyhounds, lurchers and terriers.

illustrations and wildlife studies by Cullybackey artist John Moore have added visual impact to ‘Irish Country Sports - A Heritage’, the definitive new publication which charts and celebrates the traditions, history and development of country sports across the whole of Ireland.

The book, which will shortly launch in the RoI, chronicles a huge country-wide enthusiasm for county sports which enthusiasts believe will help secure the survival of entire rural ecosystems and all within them.

Albert Titterington said: “We believe that there are already 130,000+ active supporters of country sports in Ireland and, as interest in the natural environment and concern for conservation increase, we believe that figure will increase. We don’t expect everyone to embrace every country sport, but we hope that even the most confirmed city-dweller may be persuaded to look with fresh eyes at the traditional sports and pursuits which have endured for so many generations, operating across all divides, and bringing people of all ages, classes and creeds together though a love of their sports and the countryside.”

‘Irish Country Sports - A Heritage’, published by Country Lifestyle Exhibitions Ltd and printed by WG Baird, is now available from the publishers on 028 4483 9167, email: [email protected] at £40/€50 including P&P.