From the Archives: George Kearns - Perspective from the Horse Yard

George Kearns was groom in the large animal medicine department from 1979 until his retirement in 1998. From four generations of Dublin's leading horse dealers, George has worked with horses all his life and even now occasionally acts as groom on horse-drawn hearses, for his cousins, Massey the undertakers. Here he shares some of his colourful reminiscences of daily life in the horse yard during his long years of service at the college. 

Professor Kelly

George remembers clearly his first day at the college. It was 1979 and he had an interview for a job as groom with Professor Ron Kelly. After finding his way through the rabbit warren of the fifth floor of the new building he was met by the professor, immaculately dressed in brown with his desk complementing his suit. 'Mr. Kearns,' he said sternly, ‘you are three minutes late.'

Professor O'Connor

Professor O'Connor was passing a horsebox one lunchtime and saw two lads looking over the stable door at a horse. 'Hallo, sir' the two lads nodded respectfully. A born teacher, the Professor always had time for students, so he spent the next ten minutes describing the horses surgical condition including full diagnostic workup and prognosis. The two lads dutifully listened. When he had finished they said politely, 'you'll have to excuse us sir.' They walked across the yard and picked up their paint­brushes.

On Vet Students

'There was one very keen student who would always be first down in the yard in the morning doing his rounds of the medicine boxes. It wasn't until the end of the year we discovered he was running a book on which animal would be dead before the end of the week'.

(From: Pegasus, the Graduate edition, Summer 2001)