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Naked man thrown from horse in Castlewellan Park says it was part of ritual for dad

By Christopher Woodhouse

Published 06/07/2015

Tomas Finnegan was injured while trying to ride a horse naked near Castelweelan Forest Park on June 24.
Tomas Finnegan was injured while trying to ride a horse naked near Castelweelan Forest Park on June 24.

The man injured in a naked horse ride in Co Down last week has revealed he was conducting a ritual in memory of his dead father.

Tomas Finnegan, 53, said that he was carrying out an act of remembrance when he fell in a field near Castlewellan Forest Park, breaking his arm and dislocating his shoulder.

“I was doing a ceremony for my father the night that I hurt my arm — it was a ceremony of remembrance around the summer solstice in a sacred place to me,” he told Sunday Life.

“So I did the ceremony and these horses were in the field, the horse that I tried to ride was rubbing its nose up and down my back.

“I’ve ridden horses all my life and I thought this horse has been ridden before and it’s looking to be ridden.”

He added: “I ended up on the horse and the horse bolted because it hadn’t been broken.”

Tomas, who works as an artist, suffered a badly broken arm and a dislocated shoulder and had to be rescued by the police and ambulance service after his June 24 adventure.

“I shouted for help and lay in that field for three hours,” he said.

Tomas, originally from Kircubbin, got the idea for the ceremony after spending time at a spiritual community based at an eco-village in Scotland.

“I did a healing thing with them earlier in the year. At some point I was to find a sacred spot of my own to do something for my father and my father’s father,” explained Tomas.

Tomas said he grew extremely close to his father, also called Tomas and the former owner of Finnegan’s Bar in Kircubbin, as he cared for him before his death from cancer four years ago.

His tale hit the headlines last week after the owner of the field recalled the strange incident. Patsy King, who also owns the nearby Mount Pleasant Equestrian Centre, was alerted by the police who wanted access to his field to help an injured man.

Describing the scene, Patsy said: “He (Tomas) was lying along the wall, completely starkers and there was a police woman shining a torch on him while the ambulance crew were treating him.”

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