WHAT a difference a year makes. In 2012, the relentless rain washed away plans to stage the historic Newcastle West agricultural show on two separate occasions. Last Sunday, as the show returned after last year’s hiatus to scorched earth and sunny skies, the contrast could not have been greater.
Hundreds of people of all ages attended a number of events in the expanded three-day show, which can trace its roots all the way back to 1923. Outdoor barbecue events and food fairs on Friday and Saturday provided an appetising lead-in to Sunday’s main show, which took place in Ballynoe, Castlemahon.
Peter Leonard, a member of the show organising committee, said that after last year’s weather enforced cancellations, it was refreshing to see a large crowd out enjoying the final shakes of our recent heat wave.
“After the disappointment of last year, it is great to see it back in the locality. We were very pleased with the turnout, and we’ve had lots of positive feedback since so we’re happy”.
However despite the success of the various livestock showing competitions and other events, Mr Leonard said that the tragic death last week of 14-year-old Jack Lyons from Clouncagh weighed heavy on many visitor’s minds. Jack was laid to rest on Sunday.
“It was a very sad day also, with the death of the young boy of the Lyons’s, just over the road in Clouncagh. We were very pleased with how things went, but that cast a little dark cloud over it”.
Mr Leonard said that future shows will continue to take place on the third Sunday in July. “It’s been that way for 50, 60 years and we’re going to stick with it”. Mr Leonard also thanked Robbie Cronin, winner of the €450 top prize in the event donkey derby, who is to donate his winnings to local charity the Friends of St Ita’s Hospital.