Showing in The Emerald Isle.

The HSS from Holyhead arriving in Dun Laoghaire

Been there! Seen that! Done the whole scene! Got the Grand and now all there is to aim for is the UK Grand and the Supreme. Do you ever wake up in the morning and feel like this? Take heart. Help is at hand.

You can achieve more – the titles of International Grand/Champion/Premier. Now I am not suggesting for one moment that you take your cat through the Channel Tunnel; in fact, you go in the opposite direction and cross the Celtic Sea to the Republic of Ireland where Cat Shows held under the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy of Ireland (GCCFI) are acceptable to the GCCF and vice versa. Furthermore you will be furthering the knowledge of your breed and giving those exhibitors who cannot attend the United Kingdom shows a chance to see different blood lines.

The first rung on the ladder to these heady titles is to register your cat with the GCCFI. Application must be made to the GCCF for a three generation certified pedigree, and if the male is entire, his certificate of entirety. Whilst awaiting this request a registration form from the Registrar, Mrs Betty Dobbs, 23 Butterfield Road, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14, Eire and then return all the completed paperwork together with the certified pedigree (which is retained by the GCCFI) together with a copy of the GCCF registration certificate or transfer together with the fee for the active register or the inactive register. (Betty will tell you the current fees).In the fullness of time you will receive an Irish registration certificate. The cat cannot be shown unless it is registered with GCCFI.

Four shows are held annually, including a Supreme. The rules for showing are very similar to those of the GCCF except that kittens must be four months old on the day of all the shows. The thirteen day rule is strictly enforced between the two Governing Councils. You have your current vaccination certificate with you as each one is examined before admittance and the vaccinations must include FIE and Respiratory Virus. Cats are vetted in the usual way – but the queues are shorter!

No titles gained under GCCF rules count. You have to start at the beginning again. I have been amused on more than one occasion to see a UK Grand Champion in the Debutante class but the delights of winning your first Irish PC or CC are unbounded. Only Open class winners or titled cats are eligible for the Supreme Show, but there are sometimes qualifying classes for kittens. Breeds that have Provisional or Preliminary status are judged in classes similar to that in the UK

Shows are held by the Cork Cat Club in the South, Siamese and All Breeds Cat Club of Ireland in Dublin (held around October time) and the Midland Cat Club in Limerick, West of Ireland (about February ). The Supreme moves around a bit and year 2006 (April) it will be held in Dublin. The shows are usually held on Sunday.

old distilleries
One of Irelands old distilleries. Still serving the weary traveller but now as a Tea room

Ferries and High Speed Catamarans run from Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire and Dublin Port; Fishguard or Pembroke to Rosslare. Depending on the route and type of boat chosen crossing time is from 110 minutes up to 4 hours. The Swansea Cork boat travels overnight and they will not allow cats in the cabins. Consequently I do not recommend this route. There is also now a Dublin/Liverpool high speed boat which, I am told, takes about 4 hours. When I first started to travel to UK I either took a cabin or lugged the cage up to the lounge but now I find it is far less hassle for all concerned to leave the cats in the car. They are always sound asleep when we return so the motion obviously doesn’t affect them.

Planes fly from most major airports to Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Knock and Galway. Intending passengers need to check that the plane has a pressurized area for animals. This is usually at the back of the passenger cabin and on several occasions I have been able to check up on the cat before take-off. I advise persons travelling alone to take a companion with them to the airport as the security staff can ask to inspect the cage. Don’t be alarmed. This is done in a quiet area away from the public. However, because of the low-priced airlines in the travel arena very few planes will actually fly animals at all.

Once the International title has been attained it can be used in advertisements, pedigrees and on show entry forms. Do not fall foul of the dreaded rule of filling in show entry forms from the registration certificate – and don’t get the two muddled! Neither the Irish nor the UK Governing Council would be amused!

We also have a large and thriving Household Pet section which causes the big headaches for the judges because they are all so immaculately presented.

Views across Lough Corib on the West Coast of Ireland.

Showing cats in Eire is great fun. Most people are very friendly and the shows are smaller, comparing in size with some Breed shows. Whilst judging is taking place the delights of Dublin, Cork and Limerick can be explored. Judges are the same as you will see at any UK show apart from a few who are Irish trained but the Standard of Points does not alter. The one notable difference is that the judges are comparatively easy to nobble for a chat once the judging has been completed. Another delightful practice is that the Clubs usually hold a Club dinner on the evening of the show for judges and exhibitors where people can meet informally, have a good meal and start inquiring about the next show.