News from Ireland

Click HERE for photos.

07-17-05: Update from the Ireland and World Trial:

Riggs and I made it home yesterday. It was a bit of a crazy day on Friday, but all is well now.

We arrived at the cargo office at 6:45 on Friday. It was only supposed to take a few minutes, but ended up taking a bit longer. The rate on Riggs had been reduced to 984.60 Euros, which is about $1200. Riggs was pretty calm about the situation, I was nervous. Meeting a stranger in a parking lot to give him money to ship your you lots to worry about.

After checking him in, I got to the terminal. My flight was delayed about 1.5 hours. We finally were boarded and took off for Newark, NJ. The connection in Newark would be tight, as I only had about 2 hours, and had to clear customs. Since we were late, I was nervous about that. But when we arrived in Newark, the connecting flight to Seattle had been delayed as well. We were 2.5 hours late going to Seattle.

My friends, Bill, Elizabeth and McKee had dropped off my car at the airport, and I arrived about 3 hours late. As soon as I got my luggage, I headed to the car to go get Riggs. Unfortunately, Riggs didn't make my flight (don't know why). The cargo department was really good, and called NJ to find the status. Riggs was on the next flight and would arrive at 9:30 that evening.

I waited for Riggs, and he made it in about 10. Since I had planned to drive part of the way home that night, I took off. I was really tired, more mentally than physically. It was about 1:30 and I couldn't go much further.
So, I pulled off and slept for an hour. After that, I was good to go and drove the rest of the night. Riggs and I pulled in at 6:30 Saturday morning.

It was a great site to see the house, and all the dogs. All was fine thanks to Susan Lindstedt, the house sitter.

Reporting from Home;



07-14-05: Update from the Ireland and World Trial:

We are in Dublin today. I dropped off the rental car as I wouldn't be doing any more driving. When I got back to the B & B, Ruben, Nikki and I headed out to explore the sights of Dublin.

Ruben suggested that we take the Dublin city tour. It is a bus tour, that you can hop on and hop off at any point, and is good for a full day. We got to see St. Patrick's Cathedral, the Guinness factory, the Phoenix park, the Ha'Penny bridge, and 17 other destinations. It was a great way to see the city. Everyone was quite nice, and the shopping avenues were extremely full. We bought a few more trinkets and headed back for our last pub meal.
We had to get up very we didn't want to get in too late.

Reporting from Ireland;

Patrick Shannahan

07-13-05: Update from the Ireland and World Trial:

We left Tullamore today, on our way to Dublin. The last few days we were able to stay at a beautiful bed & breakfast, The Barony House. The accommodations and hospitality were hard to beat.

We are in Temple Bar, in the heart of Dublin. Our B & B is quite nice, and just moments from the bus stop. Our hostess, Aran House also has been great about Riggs. She actually had a couple of kennels for Riggs to stay in, and at the same time has told me that he is welcome in the house.

Tomorrow we will head out and explore Dublin. Should be lots of fun. Friday morning we head to the airport to start the trip home. I will arrive in Seattle Friday evening, and make it home on Saturday.

Reporting from Ireland;

07-12-05: Update from the Ireland and World Trial:

It is about 9:00 pm
Good news, I received a call from the shipper and I have a lower price quote. The price is to be about $1200...MUCH better than the original quote.

Tomorrow Ruben, Nikki and I will head to Dubin to explore the city. Riggs...will be excited to get home, a place where he can relax and work some sheep.

Reporting from Ireland;

07-12-05: Update from the Ireland and World Trial:

We are in Kilkenny, viewing the castle. It is a hot day here, but I am enjoying the time.

Yesterday I had bad news. The quote on sending Riggs home is $2000. This is huge problem, not only with me but with all the people trying to ship out of Dublin. It is horrible thing, as I was quoted that it would cost $879 to send him home before I came over. I have done exactly what the airline suggested, but the booking agent it taking a huge cut. There is nothing I can do...except pay the fee. Other people had to sell their dogs because they couldn't afford to ship them home. One friend has to pay $5000 to ship her two dogs home. So....will try to work on something, but I am afraid I will probably have to pay it.

Reporting from Ireland;

07-11-05: Update from the Ireland and World Trial:
Yesterday was the finals, and everyone was there anticipating the great runs that day. Unfortunately, the fog delayed the running for a couple of hours. We saw some great runs early in the morning, but by about noon, we knew a lot of dogs were going to be in trouble. It was turning very hot, especially for Ireland.

The outruns were difficult. The first outrun to the left, was about 800 yards and a fence separated the sheep from the dog in several places. If the dog didn't go wide enough, he wanted to cross the course, because the fence prevented him from getting to the sheep. Many dogs did cross, and no one got out very clean. The second outrun was also difficult, but maybe not as difficult as the first.

In the afternoon, when it started to heat up, most dogs couldn't handle the heat and stress and needed to be retired. Nobody wanted to put their dog in jeopardy, and it was accepted that it was just too hot to really do well. You can get the final results at the world trial site.

Yesterday, we did take a tour of the Charlesville Castle. It was great. even better than I thought.

Today, I am trying to make arrangements to bring Riggs home. The airlines have done a terrible deed in the fact that they wouldn't quote us on a price to come home, and now they are really 'sticking' it to us. I get my quote today, but it is to be really expensive. I have heard that two dogs cost about $2500 for the trip home. Will know more later.

We are in Galway Bay, seeing the sights.

Reporting from Ireland;

07-09-05: Update from the Ireland and World Trial:

Just a quick note, as I have only a minute.

The semi-finals today were good. They used the Scotties, and the running wasn't as good as some had hoped. Jimmy Cropper had a beautiful run and was leading it when I left at 4:30. Aled Owen had back luck with Bob, last World trial Champion, and Bobby Henderson had awful luck with a bad ewe with Bill. Looking forward to seeing the finals tomorrow.

Reporting from Ireland;

07-08-05: Update from the Ireland and World Trial:

We have posted a couple pictures from the world trial HERE.

07-08-05: Update from the Ireland and World Trial:

Yesterday was the big day. The trial started right on time all it all seemed to go really smoothly. The three fields were all going, each with a different type of sheep. Field 1 had suffolk-continental (texel, charlois, etc..) crosses, field 2 had straight suffoks, and field 3 had Scotties. Field 2 probably had the most consistent sheep, as the other groups could have some erratic sheep.

I didn't get to watch the other fields as I stayed on field 2 as I was one of the last to run that day. I had lots of great competitors on my field, including Bobby with Spot, Gwen Jones (international winner), Aled Owen, Jimmy Cropper, Tommy Wilson, Ceri Rundle, etc. The running on field 2 was very good. Most people hit their panels and completed the course. The suffolk lambs were a bit heavy, and leaned on a dog on the fetch. The outrun was good either way, and most of the dogs had relative ease with the outrun.

I ran about 6:00 pm last night. The weather was good the entire day. It was a bit warm, but with a light breeze. I sent Riggs off the the right. He didn't see the sheep immediately, but knew they were out there. He came over a little rise and kicked out beautifully. Right as he was approaching the top, the lambs started headed back to the set out. I stopped him a bit short, and he covered them beautifully. It took a few seconds to lift them, but he did it without any commands. The fetch started quite nicely, and about the fetch panels, one ewe started to push on the sides. Riggs kept putting her back, but the moment he took pressure off to push from behind, she would push to the right again. We made the fetch panels, and the ewe started to stop and push on Riggs a bit. He was very good, and kept pressure on her and kept walking up on her. The turn was good, buy my ewe tried Riggs again, but he pushed on her beautifully and we had a great drive with only 1 point off. Coming into the shedding ring, we got a perfect shed, very quickly. At the pen, my friend, the troublesome ewe, still wasn't convinced. Riggs pushed on her beautifully, and we had a perfect pen.

Here is where we had our big problem. Coming to the pen, Riggs had to push the ewe really a bit hard. Possibly, a bit hard, but I am sure he was bit tired and frustrated with her. We got back into the ring, and an opportunity for one of the marked ewes happened quickly. As Riggs was coming in, two lambs turned back to join the collared ewe. Riggs ran between them and kept her apart, but overshot through that hole a bit. He then kept her separated.  Needless to say, we had 8 points off our single. We ended up with a scored of 182 out of 220. That put us in about 10th place or so, and we needed to be at least 7th to get to the semi-finals. With just an average single, we would have easily made it.

As soon as I came out of the field, I was surrounded by many handlers. They all said what a tremendous dog Riggs was, and what a great job he did on that ewe. The course director came and told me that Riggs would be the dog that he would take home.

Afterward, I felt both proud and confused. Just wondering how I could have handled it different, and made it to another day. But, in the end, I still am very happy with our performance. Riggs is still only 2 and will have many great runs to come in his lifetime.

I wasn't able to hear much about the other Americans, but I am afraid none made the semi-finals the first day. I know that Wayne Tippett had a good run, but didn't quite make it. Haley Howard, who was running Spot, didn't finish, but felt Spot had a good run. Suzy Applegate was on the most difficult field, and had a tough ewe that wouldn't conform to being in the trial. Will try to find out more and write again.

There are some amazing stories for you to hear of the determination for some people to make it to the finals. Haley Howard's Dionna was sick, and couldn't make the trip. She, and Michelle got on the plane with Spot and Moss and headed over. At the airport in England, they couldn't find the micro-chip on Moss, so they had to send him home. Albion Urdank, had a similar problem, but flew back to Newark, NJ, got approval, flew to Amsterdam, rented a car and came over. I don't know what the cost is....but he is to be commended on his commitment.

Reporting from Ireland;

07-06-05: Update from the Ireland and World Trial:
Tomorrow is the start of the World Trial. I get a bit nervous even thinking about it. We will be running tomorrow, the last dog on Field number 2. They will take 7 dogs from that field, and there are some great handlers competing on that field as well. So, will the best of luck, we hope to have a good run and show everyone what a great dog Riggs has become.

There will be check-in and a parade later today. I have seen a few American's, but will probably see the rest of them this evening. I don't know exactly who runs in which field, but if I get a chance, will try to keep you posted on the runs that we get to watch.

This morning, I ran Riggs in a large pasture with about 70-80 ewes with lambs. I just wanted to make sure that he was listening and had some exercise. It is too late to cram for any late minute problems, but I really am not too worried about his work. He is young, and can make mistakes, but then again, so can his handler!

The Bog Train that we took was quite interesting. McKee (age 4) had the best time. He even got to sit in the conductor's chair and blow the whistle! We also stopped at a monastery and viewed beautiful ruins of the old Celtic crosses.

Okay...better run
Reporting from Ireland;

07-05-05: Update from the Ireland and World Trial:

Hope everyone had a good 4th of July. They don't celebrate it here...believe it or not!

Yesterday was a great day of driving and exploring the local town. We visited the Athlone Castle and looked through many of the shops. We headed back to Moate and did a bit of grocery shopping.

This morning I headed out to Barra o'Briens to work Riggs. It is a bit rainy, but Riggs didn't mind of course. Barra's sheep are quite nice, and I was able to work on a few things that I needed to school him on. He is running well, so we will hope for the best on Thursday.

Tomorrow is the parade in town, and I will see some of my teammates. I am looking forward to all the activities. In the morning, I will run out and work Riggs one last time before the trial.

This afternoon, we are headed Shannonbridge to catch the Bog Train Tour. McKee should enjoy the train ride, and the rest of us will learn a little history about the make up of the area. Will try to write more tomorrow.

Reporting from Ireland;

07-02-05: Update from the Ireland and World Trial:
We are in Athlone, catching up with some sightseeing after a really busy weekend. Ruben and Nikki arrived on Saturday night, and took a taxi out to the house.

Saturday day, we headed back out to the Inch House Trial near The Ragg in Tipperary.  I was able to get another run in with Riggs, and we had a pretty good run.  Something funny happened up at the top of his run, and I am not exactly what it was.  A ewe left before he got there, and he finally got her back on the fetch.  Anyway, after that, it was a really nice run. We didn't place, but felt great about the way he is running.  Suzy Applegate placed with Bet with a really great run, I think about 7th place.

Sunday I wasn't to run at the Inch House until about 77th, and was to help judge a 'Champion of Champions' Trial at 3:00 pm.  So, in the morning, we ran to a another trial held at Clomel, held at another ag show. It was about 2 hours away.  This was Rubens and Nikki's first experience of riding in Ireland.  The were happy to see the scenery, but also enjoyed getting to finally get to our destination. The course was a bit small and tight, but the sheep were great. 

Riggs ran well, but I made the mistake of trying to get the tightest turn possible at the first drive gate.  So, I missed 3 out of the 4 on that gate. The rest of the run was okay.  I didn't stay around and check my score, as it was 1:00 pm then, and we needed to get to the other trial, which would take about an hour.

We arrived at the Inch House trial, and were greeted by Elizabeth and McKee.  The running was going more quickly that day, and it was only a few minutes before I ran Riggs. I was the second to the last dog to run before they started the 'Champions' trial.  Riggs went out beautifully and I never gave a command until about 1/4 way down the fetch. He had a great fetch, a really nice drive (with one little bobble) and a great finish.  We got a score of 90 out of a 100 and that would place me, as I think there were 2-96's, a 92, a 91 and 3-90's. So, Riggs had a great day on Sunday, getting to run at two different trials.

The Champion of Champion's Trial consisted of the North American Champion (Scott Glen), the European Champion, the International Champion (Toddy Lamb) and the New Zealand Champion. They had 4 judges, including myself.  The course was a standard course with a shed, pen and single. The European Champion from Norway, won the trial.  He did a great job with a little bitch. Scott had a great run, but had some trouble in the shedding ring, but ended up second.

They had a dog sale following the trial, and there were about 20 dogs We didn't stay for the sale, but I was curious to see how they ran it.

On the way home, we were going to grab a bite to eat.  It gets difficult on Sunday, as most establishments close their food bar early.  So, after about 4 stops, we managed to sneak in at the very last minute at a local hotel.

I will try to get out and work Riggs again, possibly later today or in the morning. HE is feeling good, and I will be anxious to run him at the end of the week.

Thanks so much for the encouraging emails.  I really appreciate all the support that everyone has given me and Riggs.

Also, thank you to Eric JT Harlow, who has been really good at posting my emails and keeping them current.

Reporting from Ireland;

07-02-05: Update from the Ireland and World Trial:

Yesterday, we went to a trial in the County of Tipperary.  Michael Ryan and his family put on the Inch House Trial. It was on a good size field, and there were about 72 dogs entered.  Most of the dogs were entries that were from the other countries going to compete at the world.  The New Zealand tema, Italian, French, Dutch, etc.. were there.  There were also a number of good Irishmen as well. The ewes were Suffolk crosses, and for the most part very workable.  They used 3 sheep, had an outrun, lift, fetch, drive, single and then pen.

The day was much like our weather at home of late. It was windy, rainy, sunny, cold, hot, etc.  It was mostly cloudy and raining though. The big treat of the day was the arrival of Elizabeth Anderson and McKee.  They made it to Ireland after a short delay, and without any luggage.  But McKee was in great spirits and was able to play with some new found friends.

I ran 47th.  Suzy Applegate had just run before me and had a great run with Bet. Riggs went out well, but started to come in early, and I had to whistle him down and out, which he took immediately.  The fetch and drive were really good, and I had a little difficulty in getting my single.  The pen was really good.  It was an okay run, I hit all my panels, and felt okay with it.  It wasn't good enough to place, but a good practice run.

There were some excellent runs that day. A lady from Denmark had the best run in the scoring so far.  Scott Glen also had a good run, as well as Bud Boudreau.

We are headed out to the trial again today. I run a bit later, so I hope to get in another good run.

Will try to email again soon;
Reporting from Ireland;

06-30-05: Update from the Ireland and World Trial:

It is another nice day here in the midlands.  We did have some rain last evening, but the sun is shining and it should be a nice day. We are in Tullamore, running some errands. I hope to go later and work Riggs a bit this afternoon.

One thing I have found interesting in the price of dog food. Everything except food seems really expensive, and dog food is one of the most. When I landed in Dublin and picked Riggs up, the vet had Royal Canin. I thought I would get a bag, it looked to be 30 lbs. In looking at the ingredients, it isn't the same food that we have. The first ingredient is maize (corn), and the other listed ingredients aren't the same as well. Well, it was 55. euros, or about $60.00, and I thought it probably was more expensive because it was at the vet. In looking other places, that was a reasonable price for over here. So, I have been buying a mid-line dog food and supplementing the food with meat, eggs and veggies.

Tomorrow I leave to go to a trial down south. I don't know when I will get to email again, but hope to soon. Thanks for all your notes. I appreciate them.

Reporting from Ireland;

06-28-05: Update from the Ireland and World Trial:
This morning I met Suzy and John Applegate at Barra O'Briens farm to work dogs. He has a beautiful farm outside of Athlone with plenty of nice sheep for working.

It was great to get Riggs out and to work on a few things this morning. The sheep are Galway Hornies, a local breed that looks a bit like a Swalesdale. They moved much like my sheep at home, just a tad bit lighter. His field wasn't really large, but it had lots of hills and space to move the sheep and dog about.

Afterward, we came into his house for tea. He told us that he actually worked in New York for a few years in the 80's. It is surprising the number of Irish that have worked in the states for a few years and then have come home to Ireland. Barra works outside dogs and does a really nice job. His place is really set up well for working.

My parents are off for a day journey to Galway. They took the train and will be gone most of the day. I will pick them up in Athlone later this afternoon.

Reporting from Ireland;

06-28-05: Update from the Ireland and World Trial:

It is Tuesday night, and I have come to Athlone to walk Riggs.  Our house is quite nice, but it is near a busy road and I do not feel comfortable walking him near the highway.  It is a beautiful evening, so I thought I would take Riggs for a walk along the Shannon River.

Today we went to Tullamore and looked at the trial site.  The fields are beautiful, and each one should have some great challenges. I am running on field 1, which will be in front of the Grandstands. I met Suzy Applegate at the site, and she will be running on fields 2 and 3.  I don't know which field will actually be the best, as the best field will be the one that you can qualify to get into the semi-finals.

Con McGarry was kind enough to show us the fields. He and other handlers were working on getting set out pens built, and preparing for next week. They have done a tremendous job thus far, but still have lots of work to do. The grand stands should be quite nice for spectating on the fields.  I will be anxious to see them.  I have run 39 on day 1 on field 1.  Look for more information at the World Sheepdog Trial web site.

I am getting more comfortable about driving around Ireland. Most of the roads are marked well, and I have actually started to like the roundabouts.  They make sense to me, and seem to make traffic flow quite well. My Mother has not quite gotten use to the small roads and roundabouts, so most of the time, her knuckles are white.  Dad has been sitting in the back enjoying the scenery.

The food has been great.  I know that might surprise some of you, but the food that we have had in bars and restaurants has really been quite good. Nothing too fancy, but fresh, and very tasty.  Of course, you can have as many potatoes as you want, and fixed as many different ways, all at the same meal.

Tomorrow I am going to work at Barra O'Briens field. He organized the Athlone Sheepdog Trial and was kind enough to invite Suzy and I to work there.

Dad & Mom are hopping on the train for a short trip to Galway.  It is supposed to rain, so it might be a great day to ride the train.

Friday starts 3 days of Trials in Tippary. I am judging on Sunday, so I will only have the chance to run on Friday and Saturday. 

Reporting from Ireland;

06-28-05: Update from the Ireland and World Trial:

We are headed to the trial field for the world Trial this morning. Con Mcgarry will be working there, and has offered to show us the fields in which they will be using. I will be running on July 7, on field 1, late in the day. Rumor has it that they will be using different flocks of sheep on each field, so I possibly might know what type of sheep I will be running on as well.

It is another beautiful morning here, the sun is shining and about 65. We may get rain later today.

Reporting from Ireland.


06-27-05: Update from the Ireland and World Trial:

Yesterday, Sunday June 26, we went to a trial in Athlone at the Athlone Agriculture Show. I had spoken to the organizer a few days before, and he told me the trial would start at 9 or 9:30. Like typical Americans, I arrived a 10 minutes early, and found I was the second person there. Suzy Applegate and her husband John, showed up shortly after and I enjoyed getting to speak with them. They had a good trip as well, but were delayed about 7 hours on their flight to Ireland. That caused a bit of a back log in their schedule to pick up the dogs, rent a vehicle, etc.


The trial got started. It wasn't a large field, but it was it was great for spectating as it was rolling on freshly mown grass. The sheep were nice, and pretty much uniform for most of the runs. They set the sheep by person, and they seem to set pretty easily. Early in the day, the cattle show was having a few problems as a big Limousin bull came trotting down from the show into the field. As soon as he was caught, a huge Simmental heifer came wandering through.  It added a bit of excitement for all to see.


They ran the people with the most entries first. Everyone who had extra dogs ran the extra dogs early in the morning.  Then they went down to the people with two dogs. They ran the second dog, in no particular order. Then they finally  drew for the single dogs, which their were about 27. WE didn't get started on the drawn trial until about 4 pm. The running was really good. Most dogs completed the course, with a few running out of time at the single.  Suzy had a good run with Hap, and was really pleased on how he ran.  I didn't get to run until about 7:30 that night. Riggs ran beautifully, with a great gather, drive, pen and shed. We hit all our panels, and I felt really great the way he worked. My dad, who is quite prejudiced, thought it was the best run of the day. I thought it was pretty good, probably not good enough to win, but maybe good enough to place.


Since my parents had been really patient all day, I thought it would be good to leave after I ran. I didn't get a chance to see my score, or anyone else's before I left, but will hope to know later in the week. 


I met Con McGarry at the trial. He was very helpful and I hope to go and work at his place later on this week.  I am going to Tullamore tomorrow to see the field and find out about working sheep down there.


The weather today is beautiful, with sunshine and a nice cool breeze.


Reporting from Ireland.



06-25-05: Update from the Ireland and World Trial:

Not much going on here today,  just came over the Athlone to see where the trial is to be held tomorrow. The ag show looks pretty big, so I am looking forward to meeting a few people and seeing and participating in my first trial. Riggs is also ready to get going.  He is enjoying his leisure time, but thinks we should be doing more work!

The weather is great, really mild. There has been the occasional rain storm, but it passes pretty quickly.  I am getting more confident every day driving.  I was a nervous wreck the first few days.  Coming out of the parking lot, or turning on to a new street, still worries me a bit.  But I think I could get most places.

Will try to write on Sunday or Monday.

Reporting from Ireland

06-24-05: Update from the UK and World Trial:

We are in Athlone today, a city on the Shannon river. We headed down to the French market and look around the shops in the city. The parking is a bit hazardous, but otherwise, it is pretty easy to get around. The weather is nice, a little rain, but quite pleasant.

Sunday is the first trial. It is in Athlone, and held during agricultural show. So that should be interesting as well. Riggs is doing fine, he is enjoying being the only dog and hanging out with us.

Reporting from Ireland,


06-23-05: Update from the UK and World Trial:
Yesterday was a busy day, as I was finally able to get Riggs. He was happy to see me of course, and I was happy to see that he was in good shape. We made our way into Central Ireland and got to the house we rented. It looks great, and is very easy to find. There will be plenty of room to stay.

Riggs was exhausted last night. I don't think he was able to sleep much in the kennel. He zonked out on the floor, and it would take 3-4 times of calling to wake him. Picking him up was also a bit expensive. The cost of the kennel, including checking him in from the US, was 240 euros, or a little under $300. That didn't include his flight cost of nearly $900 (which doesn't include his return home.)

Today, we are in Tullamore, looking around the city, and doing some shopping. It is a nice city, with lots of shops and businesses. It takes about 20 minutes to get here from the house.

I have a trial to attend in Athlone on the 26th. That is about 20 minutes from the house. The river Shannon runs in Athone, so it should be really nice.

Reporting from Ireland,

06-21-05: Update from the UK and World Trial: 

It is Tuesday, June 21st and we have made it. Most stuff has gone smoothly, except Riggs has to stay overnight in a Kennel.

The pet passport for Ireland states they must be treated for ticks 24-48 hours before they arrive. My vet did this, but didn't check the approved tick treatments. He used Revolution, and it wasn't listed as an approved tick treatment. So, the Vet here treated Riggs again, and we have to wait 24 hours.

Riggs made the trip fine, but I am sure he will be happy to get back with me.  The other experience that I am a bit nervous about is driving. We rented a car, and they upgraded us to a mini-van. It is pretty nice, but that driving on the wrong side of the road is a bit much. I know I will feel much better in a day or two.

The country side is quite beautiful. Looking forward to driving to our destination tomorrow.

Reporting from Ireland,