QUIETLY and without fanfare, the Limerick Dog Show has grown to become the premier dog show in the country, outstripping Dublin and many other venues in terms of numbers.
But chairman, Anthony Kelly is not blowing any trumpets, preferring to focus on what Limerick has been doing very well for over 80 years, and even before: hosting an enjoyable and worthy show.
Thursday next, August 23 will see the Limerick and District Canine Club hold its 83rd All Breed International Championship Dog Show in the grounds of the Woodlands House Hotel in Adare which has been the new home of the dog show for more than a dozen years.
“We were part of the Limerick Show when it was in Greenpark Racecourse,” Mr Kelly explains. But the dog show became too big and the venue unsuitable and instead, the move to Adare has proved hugely successful.
It is now one of the best venues in the international circuit, Mr Kelly believes. “We have the car parking, we have the facilities. Our overseas judges just absolutely love it. It is brilliant,” he told the Limerick Leader this week.
Mr Kelly is very upbeat about this year’s show which has seen a sharp rise in numbers after a number of years of somewhat lower entries. Some 2040 dogs are expected at next week’s show, he points out, almost 200 up on last year, and the highest of any Irish show. “We are now getting entries, thanks in part to the pet passport, from Germany, Russia and Poland as well as from the UK and the Isle of Man.”
Because more than 60% of exhibitors come from abroad, the Limerick Dog Show is also a huge boost for the local economy and for the ferry company. “The Woodlands is booked out. The Adare camping site is booked up,” Mr Kelly points out, adding that many exhibitors spend a full week in Ireland – starting the week with a show in Dublin then travelling on to the Munster circuit which includes Tralee (to be held in Castleisland this year), Killarney, Clonmel as well as Limerick.
“It is an attractive week for exhibitors. They can get five shows within a week,” Mr Kelly says. Many base themselves either in the Adare area or in Kerry and many stay on for a week after also. “From a tourist point of view, it is huge money,” he says.
This year’s show will attract some 250 breeds, all competing to be best of breed, then best of group and ultimately to be best in show. The renowned Italian judge, Claudio De Giuliani will attend to judge best in show. There will be some 19 judges in action at the show, the majority from overseas.
The show is always open to the public. “You are never going to get such a variety of dogs in one place,” says Mr Kelly, explaining its attraction and urging people to come along and enjoy the day.
“You are seeing dogs you would never have seen in your life and you are seeing them at their best.”
The doggie-fun starts at 9am on Thursday, August 23 and goes on until 6pm.