Baltinglass - The Horse
Horses played a number of roles in the life of Baltinglass. They were specially bred for a variety of tasks. The most valuable horses were used for racing or fox-hunting. Fox-hunting became a passionate pastime of the well-to-do. The plough horse and carthorse for agricultural work were huge, slow-moving animals, valued for strength and endurance.
The horse became a symbol of the dominance of the Protestant gentry. Any large house had its stables, which were built on a larger scale than the cottages of the farm labourers. Some horses even had their portraits painted.
The roads that connected Baltinglass to Kildare, Carlow and Dublin were used by the stage-coach, with its heavy and reasonably quick horses. Inns along the way provided changes of teams. It is thought that the stage-coach, properly run, could manage a speed of 10 mph (16 kph) on a journey.
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