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How one woman changed the Irish equestrian world forever

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She was a lifelong horsewoman and champion showjumper who had a huge influence on the Irish equestrian world. In this extract from the Dictionary of Irish Biography's new book Irish Sporting Lives, Terry Clavin tells the story of Iris KellettIris Kellett was born 8 January 1926 in Lower Baggot Street, Dublin, the only child of Thomas Kellett, of Mespil Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin, and his wife Julia (née Maron).

A veterinary surgeon, her father was also managing director of his family's drapery business in South Great George’s Street, Dublin.

He had bought the old British army cavalry academy at Mespil Road, opening a riding school there in 1923.Born into a Church of Ireland family, Iris attended school at St Margaret’s Hall, Mespil Road, and delighted in jumping ponies and horses over the natural obstacles built by her father on the family property.

From childhood, she rode at agricultural shows and on hunts.The Kellett riding school, which had lapsed, reopened (c.1939) once Iris could help by instructing children and teenagers.

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