The rain was teeming down in Dublin last Saturday, but it did nothing to deter the enthusiasm bouncing off the hordes of dog owners and their four-legged friends entering Malahide Castle for the Pups in the Park festival in Malahide Castle. I arrived with several umbrellas and my family, including the most excited member of our party, George our two-year-old golden Labrador.
Pups in the Park
By Emer Roche
On entry, there was a free run area designed to allow the furry guests to blow off steam. It was cleverly run, with a holding pen slowing down excitement slightly for safety. Endless stalls ran the circumference of the demesne, displaying everything from organic dog treats to pet photographers.
We stopped at a panel discussion featuring employees from the Irish Guide Dog Foundation hosting an informal chat with two young people who have profound sight issues; both spoke candidly and movingly about the impact and improvement in their lives through the help of their service dogs.
In the main arena, Matty Lambden, a trainer with Tamrose Labradors walked us through some tricks involved in the training of champion hunting dogs. Matty himself displayed a droll sense of humour and had the crowd in stitches.
Although there was plenty to see and do, the main attraction of the day was the visiting dogs themselves. Every shape, size, breed, and personality was in the mix. While standing in a queue at Los Chicanos Mexican food truck, I met a tiny, curious cockapoo. To my delight and love of irony, I discovered this fella’s name was Nacho!
Rolo, a Labrador puppy with a chocolate brown coat worthy of his name was catching plenty of attention. His owner told us he was the sole survivor of a large litter and is utterly full of himself due to the attention he receives. He did seem to be looking out for the pup-arazzi!
If you missed out or the rain got the better of you this bank holiday, I can highly recommend looking out for it next year.