This Wonderful Little Place … Derrynane, Co Kerry

KATE HARRINGTON, assistant trainer and JOCKEY, on why she loves her FAMILY HOLIDAY HOME in DERRYNANE, Co Kerry …


Because ours is a dual-purpose yard where we train horses for both flat racing and the national hunt, there isn’t much downtime but I love it. Working with my sister, Emma, and Mum [former Olympian and champion trainer Jessica Harrington] has been such an inspiration. Even though Mum turned 72 last year there is no sign of her slowing down. I’ve learned a lot from her and she is very encouraging; she listens to my ideas and is open to change. She realises the yard needs to move on with the times. That said, we still have the usual mother-daughter arguments!

I’ve been riding for eleven years. When I finished college, I worked at home for six months and then I went to work full-time with Aidan O’Brien at Ballydoyle for three years, which was an invaluable experience. My overriding impression is of his dedication and belief in keeping things simple. He also taught me that you’re only as good as your last winner.


One of my proudest wins this year was with Story of Friends, the first horse I trained, which was a good morale boost. As a jockey I’ve had other memorable wins including my first on Moscow Flyer when I was just 17. I don’t think I really appreciated the significance of this at the time. My win on Modem in the Connacht Hotel Amateur Riders Handicap at the Galway Festival in 2015 was probably the most high-profile of my career to date. [Harrington was also a bronze medallist in the European Championships]. We are now preparing for the Boodles Ladies Day at The Curragh where I’ll be riding Sandymount Duke owned by Rolling Stone legend, Ronnie Wood. I also have my eye on one of their tennis necklaces.

A typical day starts at 6.30am when I get to the office and do the riding-out list and plan the logistics of the day. We have between 130 – 160 horses riding out each day and work lists have to be drawn up by 7.30am, Mum will check and change them if necessary. Then I go out for a ride until 1pm, after which I’ll take an hour for lunch. The afternoons are spent checking up on the horses; some may require physio or training for the starting stalls. My day stops around 5pm but, as we’re in the middle of the summer season, some of my races might not be until 9pm at night, so we might not finish until around midnight.

When I unwind I catch up with friends in London or in Dublin, where I went to Alexandra College, but by far the most relaxing place to be is in Caherdaniel – one of the most scenic locations of the Ring of Kerry, on the shore of Derrynane Bay. The area is referred to as Derrynane by locals and Mum has a holiday home there to which I’ve been going for as long as I can remember. I love that it is so rural; it’s like going back in time and is perfect for a social media detox. I try to go as often as possible. If we’re racing in Kerry an added bonus is spending the night there. The house overlooks the sea and an inlet on Lamb’s Head. The nearest village is a fabulous spot and when I’m with family and friends we all make a beeline for The Bland Piper bar.

Boodles Ladies Day is on Saturday July 21, during the Darley Irish Oaks Weekend at The Curragh.

Penny McCormick

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