Dermot Hannify Huntsman Laois Foxhounds with David Lalor MFH and Marcus McLoughlin MFH. Photo © Catherine Power

The IMFHA

Established in 1859, the Irish Masters of Foxhounds Association (IMFHA) represents the interests of 41 foxhunting packs in Ireland. It governs all matters connected to foxhunting legislation, regulation, conservation, education, communications and finance.

About the IMFHA

The Tipperary Foxhounds, and the wider Irish hunting community, lost one of its brightest stars on Saturday November 25th, when Maria O'Grady died in a tragic hunting accident.

Effortlessly stylish in all that she did, and a fearless, elegant horse-woman, Maria could be an intimidating figure to those who encountered her for the first time, until they discovered the warm, witty, kind-hearted character that she truly was.

The daughter of renowned horseman Peter Anderton, who relocated from England to North Tipperary in the 1930s, Maria grew up surrounded by horses, and hunted all over Ireland with her father from earliest childhood. She attended St. Andrew's University and afterwards embarked on a career in TV production in London & Dublin. Among the many television programs which she produced and distributed was the acclaimed series 'Waterways' with Dick Warner.

Maria's interests encompassed swimming, skiing and yoga, all of which she did to a high level, but horses and hunting were always her ruling passions. In 1998 she moved back to Tipperary. In the course of a day's hunting with the Tipperary Foxhounds, she had her hunting cap swept off by a low bough, only to have it gallantly retrieved by a gentleman who turned out to be leading National Hunt trainer Edward O'Grady.

The love affair which quickly blossomed between the two of them led to a particularly close and happy marriage. Edward and Maria were blessed with two daughters, Mimi & Rosie-Mae, both of whom ride with a proficiency and panache inherited straight from their mother. Saturdays with the Tipperary Foxhounds never felt quite complete without the four O'Gradys - Edward, Maria, Mimi and Rosie-Mae - among the mounted field, always beautifully turned-out and beautifully mounted. Maria's step-daughter Lucy said of her, 'You did not go hunting with Maria; you went to the meet with Maria.' There can be few people who regularly hunted in Tipperary who never had the dispiriting experience of trying to follow Maria across country, only to discover that it wasn't nearly as easy as she made it look.

For those of us who enjoyed her company and admired her inimitable style, the hunting field will never be the same again. May she rest in peace.

L.C.

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