Since the kennels were moved to Beechfield in June, 1953 the town of Abbeyleix had been closely associated with the Laois Hunt, and residents were privileged to see this famous pack meet occasionally in the Market Square, the Demesne, and other places in the locality.
Before coming to Beechfield the hounds were kenneled at Moyne, Durrow and the pack, which consists of 25 couples, noted for their good “cry”, owes its earlier breeding to Sir Hunt Walsh of Ballykilcavan, Stradbally. The breed was further improved by the introduction of hounds from Berkley by Captain Hamilton and a good stud dog was brought from Heythorp, Hunt, England, by Mr. J. Dix. This dog was mated with bitches bred from Duke of Baufort’s strain and Old Tiverton. The object of this was to produce strong and hardy hounds.
County Laois was a comparatively good hunting county but was one of the roughest and “trappiest” in Ireland and calld for a considerable amount if jumping. Hunting during the 1953-1954 season was exceptionally good and many excellent runs were enjoyed. The Laois Hunt owes its successful 1953-1954 Season largely to re-organisation carried out by Mr. Kenneth Harper, Chairman and a capable committee. New kennels and stables were provided at Beechfield, and the residence of the M.F.H. was situated there.
The principal venues for the meets of the hounds at that time were: The Square, Abbeyleix, Blansford Cross, Abbeyleix House, The Pike of Rushall, Spink, The Swan, Ballacolla and Ballinakill.
One of the highlights of the year for the Laois Hunt is “The Gathering” on St. Stephen’s day, which is a wonderful day out and where family and friends meet over the festive season.