Could Ireland host the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in 2022? The Duggan family, who own Millstreet, now believe they have a suitable venue.
The site in Co. Cork has 11 international standard all-weather arenas, three indoor schools and stabling for 1,200 horses.
This year a new cross-country course, designed by Mike Etherington-Smith, was built for the venue to host the Pony European Championships (30 July-3 August).
The competition was heralded a “great success” and Noel C Duggan, and the rest of the Duggan family, have now set their sights on WEG 2022.
Senior international eventer Michael Ryan supports the bid.
“It would be fantastic for the country and there is no question Noel C is the man for the job,” he said.
The cost of hosting a WEG — due to the need to be able to facilitate seven different disciplines — has regularly prevented countries from bidding, with the event typically making a loss.
In 2008, Millstreet offered to hold WEG 2014 and Irishman Dr Pearse Lyons — whose company Alltech sponsored this year’s event in Normandy — reportedly offered €10m (£7.8m) towards the running costs.
However, Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) rejected the idea of Ireland bidding for the event after a feasibility study.
“The main finding was that hosting the games would require substantial private and public funding,” said a spokesman from HSI.
“Given the economic situation in 2008, the HSI board took a view, following consultation with the government of the time, not to bid for the 2014 games.”
HSI told H&H that it had not yet discussed the potential bid for 2022 but that it had attended information sessions, which were held at WEG in Normandy this summer, for countries that might consider hosting in the future.
Earlier this year it was announced that Bromont Olympic Equestrian Park in Canada had been awarded the 2018 event (news, 6 June).
2010 host Kentucky was the only other venue in the running after the British Equestrian Federation did not put in a formal bid, while Wellington, Florida, withdrew from the running due to a sponsor conflict.
This news story was first published in H&H magazine (16 October 2014).