THE annual Limerick Show brought all walks of life together last Saturday and Sunday. The man in the chip van flipped his burgers. The best dressed ladies steadied their fascinators. The politicians pressed the flesh.
“I’m enjoying it immensely. I was just saying to Leo that from the point of view of a show, this is the most comfortable one you could attend,” said MEP Sean Kelly, one of the 15,000 who visited Limerick Racecourse for an afternoon in the fresh air.
“The facilities are excellent and it is about the only show where you can walk around in your Sunday best. I met a lady earlier on who had lovely, sexy wellingtons on and I met her again ten minutes ago and she had them taken off, she said she didn’t need them,” he smiled.
Beside him was Cllr Leo Walsh, show chairman. The clear blue skies overhead had brought a broad smile to his face which didn’t seem to budge.
“Saturday was a very good day here; we were very pleased with the crowds. Everything went very smoothly. A lot of work went into it. We will go home happy,” he said.
Around the corner another county councillor, Noel Gleeson, was tapping his toes to the Rocky Road to Dublin which was being belted out by Limerick band, Cuisle.
The sales people from Brian Geary motors were a little nervous initially when they heard a band was to be playing near their stand between 2pm and 4pm. But they ended up with possibly the best spot in the place, such was the crowd they drew.
Dancing to their own tune down in the fields were the County Limerick Hounds under the direction of huntsman Graham Bustin with his bugle. The ladies in the hospitality tent had to batten down the hatches at one stage and grab onto the trays of apples tarts and wine glasses as three of the hyper hounds galloped in at lightening speed.
Norman Wheeler, who was enjoying some refreshments before judging the Grand Prix, could only laugh along. Norman from Patrickswell admits he took the lazy option and drove to the venue and has judged horse shows around the world including Abu Dhabi. He judged for many years with the RDS and he was also president of the jury at the Millstreet International Horse Show. Norman hunted for many years in his youth and did a little show-jumping but had to give up riding due to a back injury.
The Limerick Show he said is run “to a very high standard”.
“They attract some very well-known names, very good horses. It is not an international show but it is a very good national show - one of the best in the country,” he said.
Beside Norman was Clarina’s John Harty who has been involved in the Limerick Show for the past 30 years.
“The weather is grand this year. There is a good crowd and there is great management on the gates coming in,” he smiled before breaking into a hearty laugh as one determined hound returned to the marquee for the apple tart.
The show’s PRO, Frankie Ward, was well-pleased that the rain has stayed away and the crowds had arrived in their droves.
“God is very good to us. I have his mobile number but I’m not passing it on to anyone,” she joked.
Despite a tough economic climate and a poor summer weather-wise – entries in almost all classes and competitions, she said, were up.
“We thought cattle might be down because of the awful weather and the terrible time farmers have had but all the entries are up. The trade stand entries are up, the horse entry is up. There is a terrific buzz around the place.”