LETTER: Make Whiddy Island a sanctuary for hares

January 5th, 2020 8:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

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SIR – I hope 2020 will prove a better year for Whiddy Island. In recent times that picturesque haven of tranquility in Bantry Bay has taken a severe reputational hit due to its link with the horrific practice of live hare coursing.

No praise would be too loud or lavish for Whiddy, with its lovely walkways, idyllic scenery and its dreamy rock pools … all framed by the breathtaking picture postcard mountains of the Beara peninsula to the north and the Sheep’s Head peninsula to the south.

What a pity that one of its other premier attractions, the island’s hare population, has also drawn the attention of hare coursers. Not only are hares captured on the island and removed to the mainland in little boxes to be used as bait in coursing, the animals are not even safe on the island itself, as shown in the RTÉ Investigates programme last June.

Unregulated coursing events are frequently held on Whiddy, with terriers used to flush the hares from cover so that the greyhounds can chase them.

Hare coursing at any venue is bad enough, a cruel sport in which timid creatures are terrorised or injured for the amusement of misguided human beings. But it is surely unthinkable that this blot on our society is being allowed to stain the cultural and scenic magnificence of Whiddy Island, one of the jewels in the crown of Ireland’s tourist industry.

Let 2020 be the year when the island is declared a sanctuary for hares and the discredited coursing connection is relegated to the pages of history.


John Fitzgerald,

Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports,


Co Kilkenny.

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