Callie Connolly, Katherine McCarthy, Geraldine Nicholas, Eileen Noonan and Diana Williams at the Limerick Show launch in AIB, O'Connell Street - Picture: Michael Cowhey
IT WAS a unanimous decision to reduce the Limerick Show from two days to one said Leo Walsh, president, at their launch this Tuesday evening in AIB O’Connell Street, Limerick.
The committee is saving everything for Sunday, August 27 in Limerick Racecourse and are banking on the public’s support.
“We looked at all the angles and we are clashing with other shows. It is going to be a long day but we are up for it,” said Mr Walsh.
Up to 20,000 visitors, 1,000 competitors and 150 trade exhibitors will descend on Greenmount Park to enjoy a celebration of rural life combined with lots of attractions for those who wouldn’t know a bull from a cow.
“We are launching Limerick Show in the heart of the city and and we hope it will encourage people of the city to come out on August 27,” he said.
Deputy Mayor Marian Hurley said the show has been running continuously since 1929.
“I come from farming stock and there was always a sense of excitement in the run-up,” said Cllr Hurley, who praised the hard-working show committee.
“Organising it all in one day will be a real challenge and they do it all on a voluntary capacity,” she added.
David Sheehan, incoming president of the Irish Shows Association, said Limerick Show continues a long and proud tradition and presents all that is “good and wholesome about agricultural life”.
“I hope the weather is good. My own show – Bridgetown – had three bad years but this year was nice and we had a good turn out,” said Mr Sheehan.
Diarmuid Donnellan, AIB agri advisor, said Limerick Show continues to progress, evolve and encourages community integration under the umbrella of agriculture – “a very important indigenous industry”.
James Lynch, Dairygold chairman, said the animals and products on display for the day have taken 12 months to two years of work to get the show.
“We have the best products in the world and it is something we should be very proud of. In Holland they are paying farmers to put cows out on grass whereas it is the norm here.
“The weather can affect shows or a big match if your county is playing but Limerick are out, although the U21s are going well, and Clare are out. It will a big challenge to put it all on in one day but Irish people are unique – we embrace challenges,” said Mr Lynch.
Pat Byrnes, Bank of Ireland, said it is all about community.
“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to everyone involved in a rural organisation as it is hard to get people involved. It behoves us all to promote the show,” said Mr Byrnes.
Pat Murphy, head of Kerry Agribusiness, said farming can be lonely at times and that Limerick Show is an opportunity to get out and meet people. He said his daughters really enjoyed Charleville Show and can’t wait for Limerick Show.
Rachel Walsh, marketing, events and PR manager, praised show legend Angela O’Mara, secretary for 35 years.
“They are big shoes to fill and she is still getting lots of phone calls from me,” said Rachel. Limerick Show is noted for having the very best cattle, horses, sheep, dogs, goats, poultry, as well as arts and crafts, photography, baking, horticulture.
And to add to that, Rachel says there are lots to attract those from a non-farming background.
“There is free kids entertainment all day with bouncy castle, face painting, a train that goes around the grounds and there is free entry for kids.
“We have done our research and people want to see more food stalls. We are working closely with the Milk Market to create a food village. Attendees will be able to sample foods you won’t normally get at shows.
“We will always have a rare breed section – cattle that are almost extinct. This has never been done before,” said Rachel.
Tom Keane, Askeaton, spoke about the Droimeann breed – one of the oldest of the Irish rare breeds. “This is a good opportunity for people to get to know about indigenous breeds,” said Mr Keane.
The last speaker was Limerick Show chairman and IFA deputy president, Richard Kennedy.
He said success of shows are about sponsors, volunteers, community, exhibitors, patrons and the man above.
“Volunteerism is critical – if you don’t have that you’re at nothing. I was representing the IFA at Kilgarvan Show on Sunday and it was washed out. It was desperate to see all that hard work put in and then it rained. It is very difficult but the show must go on, just like we will have to if it rains on August 27,” said Mr Kennedy.
He revealed that they are working with University of Limerick students to carry out research.
“It is to see where our future is in the eyes of young people. We need to make the show more attractive to young people. We have a brilliant venue and if anybody is looking for something to do we will give them something to do on August 27!” concluded Mr Kennedy.