MORE than eight decades on, the Limerick and District Canine Club still has the power to surprise.
This year, their 84th show which takes place next Thursday, August 22 has bucked the national trend and has registered an increase in entries. And it has also managed to attract a number of rare breeds on their first ever visit to this country.
“We are very fortunate. In the current economic climate, every other show in Ireland this year is down in entries but we are up,” Anthony Kelly, the club’s chairman told the Limerick Leader. This, he added, is all the more surprising given that the Limerick show is just one of a run of four shows and is also held on a Thursday, a working day.“We thought we would be down but we have had to bring in an extra judge to cater for the extra numbers,” he said.
And the reason for Limerick’s success? “I think it is because we run a very good show. The planning and the organisation as well as the venue are excellent and all the people on the committee are all actively involved in showing dogs themselves so they know exactly what people want. That, I think, is why we get it right every time.”
The fact that judges come from all over the world and many are judging for the first time in Ireland is also attractive to dog-owners keen to win rosettes, according to Mr Kelly whose family connections to the show anda to dog-showing stretch back over decades.
Mr Kelly’s father, Michael was a committee member for many years, and following his death, his mother, Margaret also got actively involved and is currently president of the Limerick club.
This year, judges will come from Spain, Italy, Australia, Argentine, Taiwan, Norway, Sweden, Belgium as well as the UK and Ireland.
There are 1,860 dogs across 180 breeds entered in this year’s show – and all have to be judged in one day.
The entries include a number of rare breeds, never before shown in Ireland, Mr Kelly explains. Among there will be the Retriever Chesapeake Bay, the Bracco Italiano and the Cirneco dell Etna.
This, Mr Kelly believes, will be a big draw for dog-enthusiasts, of whom there are many.
And he expects up to 6000 people, both exhibitors, dog-owners and visitors, on the show-grounds in the course of the day. “We get people who are visiting Ireland and we always get strong support from the city and county,” he said. “It’s a day out, a good day, right in people’s own back garden as it were.” The show which takes place in the grounds of the Fitzgerald’s Woodlands House Hotel in Adare opens at 9am and will finish around 5pm.