Aidan Liston, Banogue, was pictured testing out one of the JCBs at the Charleville Agricultural Show
SUNBURNT shoulders, big fluffy balls of candyfloss, bespeckled baby piglets and ice-cream smudged chins were just some of the colourful summer scenes that greeted a record 30,000 people who attended the two-day Charleville Show.
Just after 1pm on Saturday Shane Naughton from Newtownshandrum, his son Robbie and daughter Carly were tucking into some tasty ice-creams at the showgrounds at Pike Cross.
“We come here every year - mainly on a Saturday. It’s great this year we have the weather. We bring up the little ones as it’s great to get them out for some fresh air,” smiled Shane.
Further in on the grounds where thousands of men, women and children were wandering around inspecting the hundreds of exhibits on the sprawling site, Ann O’Connell and her grandson Ryan Lynch from Feenagh had been lured towards one attraction in particular - the Redser Challenge. The target shooting hurling challenge is named after former Tipperary hurling captain Ger ‘Redser’' O'Grady who was on hand to hand out hurleys to participants.
Young Ryan hurls for Feenagh, in the midfield position.
“You do the backs as well, Ryan, don’t you?” prompted his proud gran.
“I do,” said the young lad, eyeing up a target in the challenge, the aim of which is to succeed in belting the sliothar though one of the many round shaped openings on a large wall which is plastered with hurling legends.
It’s €50 if you’re on target on Marty Morrissey’s forehead, a free hurley for slicing through the Sam Maguire, €10 through Ollie Moran’s jersey and €25 for going through Davy Fitzgerald’s head.
“We have given out two €25s and a fiver,” explained Jim Mackey from Thurles, “the home of hurling” he points out in a thick Tipperary lilt.
They all seemed to be aiming for the circle between Donal Og Cusack’s ankles.
“They don’t seem to like Donal, for some reason,” added Jim.
Anne Guiney from Dromin, Kilmallock, and her daughter Maria were strolling around the neon-lit theme park which, complete with an ever-turning ferris wheel, drew as many inquisitive pensioners as daring teenagers. Mother and daughter were delighted to stop to have their photograph taken before heading off to sample some of the amusements.
According to Billy Biggane, PRO of the Charleville Show, the second day of the two-day event was even busier again with aficionados of livestock, bloodstock and all aspects of farming life turning out in their droves for what is the farming equivalent of Glastonbury.
“Sunday was chaotic - good chaotic,” said Billy who explained that attendance figures for the two days was up over 5,000 on last year.
Charleville Show was established in 1979 and the cost of running the show that year was €22,000 while last year the show cost in excess of €220,000 to stage.
Charleville Show was selected as Show of the Year in 2013 and Show of the Year in 2016. The show has been going on for 38 years and Billy has been involved since day one.
“We have been getting great feedback. Everyone enjoyed it - there was a great atmosphere there. Everyone was saying they would be back again next year. Robert Mizzell went down a treat altogether - there was a massive crowd in the field, the place was black with people.”
For more coverage on the show see P21