In the midlands of Ireland the traditional sport of meggars, or horseshoe pitching, is going through a revival.
The ancient game of meggars also known as horseshoe pitching, was traditionally played at crossroads, mostly in counties Wexford, Carlow, Laois and Kildare.
The object of the exercise to throw your horseshoe as near as possible to a peg in the ground which is 11 yards away from you.
The sport is going through a revival with leagues all over the country. Áine O'Connor meets up with members of the Midland Horse Shoe League to see the sport in action. One of its members Pat demonstrates how to pitch a horseshoe. Áine O’Connor gives it a go, warning bystanders,
Duck for cover everyone.
Her first attempt goes nowhere near the peg and she is advised to spend a little time working on her technique,
Get used to the balance of the shoe, even the way you stand is essential.
Horseshow pitching is thirsty work and the men of the Midland Horse Shoe League repair to a nearby pub. There, Joe recounts the history of the sport. He claims the ancient Greek and Roman armies played meggars. The fist set of rules came into being in England in the 1890s, but the sport is most popular in America.
With meggars tournaments lasting up to 8 hours, horse shoe pitching could be seen as an excuse to escape family responsibilities, followed by a session in the pub. Denis disagrees, saying the sport attracts men and women from the ages of nine to 90. It is a great way to meet people from all over the country and,
It’s a great social outlet because you can have a day out and bring your family with you.
Jim insists women are not purely bystanders and to prove it he lays down a horseshoe pitching challenge,
We will take them on anywhere they want to in the country.
Michael considers horse shoe pitching is a serious sport. The game has received a considerable boost by the arranging of the 1981 All Ireland Final to be played at the Dublin Horse Show in the Royal Dublin Society (RDS).
This episode of 'Ireland’s Eye’ was broadcast on 4 March 1981. The reporter is Áine O’Connor.