Newport International Polo Series, sponsored by Turkish Airlines has proudly hosted over 32 different countries throughout its 32 year history. The first international guest welcomed was very fittingly Ireland. Newport County and the Irish have a long-storied past since the inception of the city. From 1639 when the City of Newport was founded the Irish have immigrated to and helped transform Newport into the bustling seaport destination it still is today. Long regarded as a traditional Irish neighborhood, The Fifth Ward is the finishing line for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade since 1965 and Irish flags still adorn nearly every home in the neighborhood throughout the year.
Polo found its Irish home in Dublin in 1873, once reaching a peak of 30 clubs during its pre-war heyday, but still maintains a strong presence with 8 active clubs today. In 1992, the then president of the All Ireland Polo Association received an unusual invitation from the USA to bring a team for the inaugural season of the Newport International Polo Series, an entirely new concept in polo. President Michael Herbst led the contingent himself from the new polo club he was building in Wicklow, and the rest has become the stuff of polo legend. Today, Herbst’s daughter, Siobhan carries on the tradition, captaining the Irish team competing on July 8th, and a fan favorite player since 2000.
While always a bitter but friendly rivalry, USA vs. Ireland promises to be a battle of tradition and pride. The team from the Emerald Isle hope to make it three in a row on July 8th against their American Cousins accumulating victories on their past two visits by a combined score of 20-15. A historic roster of past players and scores can be viewed here.
Join the players on the eve of the match for a welcoming Meet & Greet Cocktail Reception on Friday, July 7, by RSVP, at the renowned, Clarke Cooke House’s Midway Bar, a colonial era, sea-side restaurant where one can experience sailing vibes from the past centuries and unparalleled hospitality. Witness the action the next day for USA vs. Ireland at 5PM in the Newport International Polo Series, presented by Turkish Airlines, and stay after the match for an après polo celebration with the teams consisting of a complimentary toast by ABSOLUT and The Cocktail Guru in the Modern Luxury Lounge, and a catered menu of authentic Irish braised beef short rib and more by celebrity chef, Kevin Des Chenes via advanced reservation only. RSVP to the catered menu today!
Siobhan Herbst,fresh from competing in the first Women’s World Cup in Argentina, will make her 21st Polo Series appearance, leading her nation’s team against USA. Herbst started as an equestrian at a young age, though didn’t take up polo until her late teens at her father’s behest. She quickly excelled at a time before there was strong support for women in polo. Her career has taken her all over the world, including medal finishes in European championships as the only woman participating. Her home base remains at the Wicklow Polo Club, established by her father Michael, and recognized as a national training center in Ireland.
Ian Megahey is a polo player and businessman from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He comes from a family of horse enthusiasts; however, he is the first polo player in the family having his first taste of polo just 4 years ago. Ian’s brothers show jump professionally in Belgium and his Dad is an avid foxhunter. So, horses are in his blood! Ian’s wife hails from New Jersey and they are over visiting family with their 2-year-old daughter at the moment. Outside of the polo season, Ian enjoys skiing, drinking Guinness, and watching Ireland play rugby. In between all of this- he runs a software company called WorkPal based in Ireland.
Michael Connolly: Michael began playing polo at 15 years of age and has played seasons in West Palm Beach, New York and Sotogrande. He comes from a family of polo players, learning to play polo from his father who was a renowned polo player in Ireland. His brother James also plays regularly. Michael is a barrister and now enjoys polo when time allows, competing in Ireland and the UK.
Michael Gately: Michael is a latecomer to Polo, but played the Irish game Hurling for many years and so is a confident hitter of the ball. He has worked in over 120 countries in investing and emergency support to NGOs. He is a Harvard graduate. His other passions in life are hunting, fishing and reading.
Be on the lookout for the Team Ireland itinerary to see where you can catch up with the players on their Newport Tour, published in the summer weekly eMagazine. While the possibilities are endless to plan your Irish-themed polo picnic for a chance at Stella Artois Best in Show nothing stands out better than the green, white, and orange of the Irish flag, nor tastes better than Dublin Bay Prawns and cottage pie paired with the velvet undertones of Guinness Stout.
Newport Polo is the home of the Westchester Polo Club, America’s first polo club, offering exhibition polo and club member services for outdoor & arena polo, and polo instruction. Est. in 1876, founding member of the United States Polo Assoc, host of the Newport International Polo Series. Spectator audiences enjoy the athletic display and horsemanship every Saturday in June thru Sept. at 5 PM / 4 PM in Sept. Minutes from downtown Newport, the International Polo Grounds are located at historic Glen Farm, 250 Linden Lane (off of Rte. 138) in Portsmouth, RI.
Info about the Polo Series, our venue, concessions & amenities, and other information can be found in the About Us section.