A packed line-up for the country’s oldest show

THE oldest agricultural show in the country – Ballinasloe – has its big day of the year on Sunday next, Sept. 24, with a whole range of activities lined up at the local Show Grounds.

Loose lunging for three to four year old horses (3pm), a massive dog show (2pm) as well as cattle and sheep classes (11am), will all be part of the day’s entertainment.

There is also the All-Ireland Connemara three-year-old filly class (11am); the Irish Draught filly foal (11am); the Irish Draught colt foal (11am); and the All-Ireland donkey mare and foal class (12 noon); as well as a whole range of other horse, pony and foal classes.

According to the show organisers, the early events dating back the years were held in the hall of what was known as the old Mental Hospital and later at a big building in Main Street.

Then the grounds were given to the local committee at the time by landlord Lord Cloncarthy, to hold an agricultural show. This was the first showgrounds purpose built and fully owned by a local committee at the time.

It was traditionally a one-day show with showing classes starting at 10am and continuing up until 2pm when the showjumping started.

One of the features of the old show was the stonewall showjumping competition with the likes of Paul Darragh and Eddie Macken taking part over many years.  Now the showjumping is held at another time of the year and the show goes on for a full day.

Later in the 1980s, it went on to be a two day show and then a three day show, but this proved not to be affordable and in the early 2000s it reverted to a one-day show which continues to this day.

Pictured: At the Ballinasloe Agricultural Show last year were: Tommie Dolan, Noel Harney, Michael Ward (all Ballinasloe) and Aideen Kelly, Tanvey, Ballydangan, winner of the Best Heifer Calf along with Paul Kelly. 

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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