North West Clare Agricultural Show is back

North West Clare Agricultural Show is back


File Photo

The North West Clare Agricultural Show will make a welcome return on Sunday, June 5th, for the first time since 2019.

Forty-six years since the popular show was revived in 1976, the show committee is “excited to get the show back on the road again”.

Today, there are over 40 members and the show was initially revived and carried on in the 70s by locals such as Gus Clair, John Nagle, Jamesie Garrihy and former treasurer Patrick Garrihy, amongst other founding members and some of whom still play a vital role in the running of the show.

Current Show President and founding member, Fr. Willie Cummins will offer a mass for deceased members of the show committee in Ennistymon Church on Saturday evening May 28th at 7.30pm.

Show PRO officer Kieran Houlihan said: “The founding members of the show in 1976 approached Dan McCarthy who had purchased the Falls Hotel shortly before that, to see if they could use his grounds and he was very welcoming. The first year they held the show on the grounds, it drew such a crowd that he requested they hold a gymkhana, I think it was six weeks later.”

That partnership has carried on with the new generation of McCarthys and Kieran says the committee is proud of that partnership, noting the “fantastic facilities” on hand at the hotel and its beautiful backdrop of the cascades, mature trees and the hotel itself. “We are really spoilt with the hotel facilities and it really adds to that family day out and sets the tone for the day. The Vocational School which hosts the poultry, home produce and arts and crafts classes is a huge asset too”

The show traditionally welcomes con- testants from around the country, however attracting entries has proved challenging in the face of rising costs post-Covid. “Some of our regular exhibitors don’t seem to have entries coming forward and there’s been a huge cost increase in travel and preparing animals for show. Prices for cattle have thankfully increased and we would expect to see some roan coloured heifers which fetched some very fancy prices at weanling sales last autumn making their appearance on show day.

Connemara ponies have also enjoyed a huge resurgence and with many producers in the locality, we look forward to them supporting our show. Lots families also got dogs as family pets during lock-down so we would expect to see a large turnout of canines too” Despite increased costs associated with the running of agricultural shows, the North West Clare Show has sustained t h e generous prize money on offer in all classes while still maintaining the same affordable entry fees for classes and spectators from 2019.

Kieran adds, “we would have had very good sponsorship and support from local businesses over the years but we felt it wasn’t right to approach the smaller enterprises this year as they find their feet and we just approached larger businesses who were still operational during the pandemic, and we’re very grateful to them for their support.”

On the day, spectators will be treated to horse and pony classes, cattle and sheep classes, a dog show, along with a varied home produce show in the vocational school with baking, arts and crafts, horticulture, poultry, photography and more on display. Kieran also explained that “Many people took on Covid lock-down projects such as woodworking and baking and we would encourage these people to enter our classes to show case their new found talents”

Speaking about the significance of the re- turning show, Kieran states that as a rural community, “It would have been a big day in a lot of people’s calendar. It’s the first big summer event for a lot of families in the area and it was definitely missed over the last number of years,” adding that it’s a positive day for businesses in the town.

Kieran notes that the Falls Hotel will televise the match at 4pm directly after the show and there’s plenty to keep the kids entertained such as face painting, amusements, and tug of war open to all primary schools in the area which has been kindly sponsored by Castle Darcy Glamping site; there’s also a hay bale rolling competition for families and a mini-digger driving skills competition for spectators. “The side attractions, we’ve found over the years are as popular as the livestock.”

Contestants are being urged to enter exhibits by this Sunday May 29th at the latest. Entry fee is €5 per adult, kids go free.

Class judging starts at 10:30 and the craft market is open from 2pm to 4:30pm. There will be prizes for most appropriately dressed person of the day and bonnie baby at 3pm.