Fowl play: Orna Ivory, Galbally, Felix Kirklar, France and Ruairi Ivory, Galbally with some friendly fowl at the Charleville Agricultural Show Picture: Dave Gaynor
THOUSANDS of farmers, animal lovers, businessmen and families, young and old, flocked to Charleville to witness one of the biggest agricultural spectacles in Ireland at the weekend.
From learning how to handle a chicken, judging the best bullocks in the land, exploring the world of vintage cars and antiques, debonair horse-jumping, to the latest in farming technology, and even a fun fair, this proved to be an apt showcase that lived up to the expectations of the 40th annual Charleville Show, the largest two-day agricultural show in the country.
As you walk through the gates of the carnival atmosphere, you’re greeted by the soundtrack of a typical Irish farm, thanks to the chorus of pigs, donkeys, goats, sheep and a variety of poultry.
Learning how to cradle one of the many feathered friends were Orna and Ruairi Ivory, Galbally, with French friend Felix Kirklar, who had just arrived at the show.
Mum Ailish Ivory said they decided to stop by for the day as they had been on a Charleville Show hiatus for a number of years.
“It’s a brilliant show and we just wanted to come, and we have a French student with us as well so we brought him.”
Snacks and young Aidan Kinehan, from Kilfinane, could both relax early in the weekend after the cross-breed won the Bullock with no more than two permanent teeth commercial category.
But where did the name “Snacks” come from?
“Ah,” Aidan says while rubbing an affectionate Snacks, “we kind of went through a phase of naming our cattle after bars of chocolate.”
“He likes an ol’ scratch,” he adds. “I am happy with him anyway, it’s a good day out.”
Croom man Frank Burke and his children have been showcasing commercial cattle for the last 20 years, and the Charleville Show is generally their first show of the year for them.
“It’s our first day out now and we have had two red rosettes already, so we are delighted. It’s a good day now and we take every day as it comes,” he said, adding that the Charleville Show gets better every year.
“It doesn’t happen easily. There has been an organising committee who have been working very hard, almost since the gates closed this time last year. It’s obviously widely supported by the public all over Munster. It is a fantastic show, it has everything, it is a tribute to everyone in the organising committee,” Agriculture Minister Michael Creed told the Leader.
But it’s also an opportunity for farmers in the region to bring up the issues that are affecting them ahead of a looming Brexit.
“There is no shortage of issues at any time in farming. Obviously, at the moment, Brexit is a big concern to us. The one thing that I notice over many years, and not just the last three years as Minister for Agriculture, is that there is a real resilience in the Irish agriculture and farming community.
“And there are challenges, and they are ones that we will overcome I am sure,” he added on Saturday afternoon.
Joining the Minister at the major event was Ireland South MEP Sean Kelly, who has been attending the show for a number of years.
And speaking on the threat of Brexit, he said: “We all know that Brexit is already going to have a huge negative effect on the agriculture industry in Ireland because of the fall of sterling.
“But if it happens, it’s going to be even worse. If they crash out, which they threaten to do, that would be absolutely devastating. We hope that won’t happen. With just a few months to go, a lot can happen in politics,” he said.
Cork County councillor Ian Doyle was a member of the original committee, and has been a member since, having served as chairperson in recent years.
He said it has been a pleasure to see the show grow from strength to strength.