THERE will be no cattle displayed, fences jumped or prizes for the best rice krispie buns in County Limerick, or just over the Cork border, this year.
Limerick, Cappamore, Newcastle West and Charleville Shows have all been called off due to coronavirus.
Richard Kennedy, chairperson of Limerick Show, said they couldn’t go ahead with the show under the present circumstances.
“There is a real acknowledgment that our supporters - exhibitors and sponsors - are going through very difficult times. All we want for those people is that they are able to continue in business. We feel that it would be unfair to be out looking for sponsorship to run a show because it is very difficult for all those people. It is difficult for everybody,” said Mr Kennedy.
The former IFA deputy president said, “Our dearest wish for everybody is that things will come back to as near as normal as possible. And we will be able to go forward in 2021 with a show.”
“We wish everybody the best, people stay safe and please God we will get back again in 2021,” added Mr Kennedy.
Limerick Show was due to take place on Sunday, August 23 in the Racecourse. Cappamore’s date was eight days earlier on Saturday, August 15. Long-serving secretary, Paddy Ryan “Luke” said shows are important to every locality, parish and region but there’s no point in holding the show with the likelihood of lives being lost.
“Another aspect is we don't know how long the restrictions are going to remain in place. I believe that when they are relaxed it will be on a phased basis. Come August you'll have some people that might be hesitant to go where there are numbers of people congregating.
“At the moment organisers and committees can't meet to plan and we want a decent timeframe in advance to make preparations,” said Mr Ryan.
Like Mr Kennedy, Mr Ryan is very mindful of the business community.
“Lots of businesses are closed due to the restrictions and unfortunately some of them may never again open. They are all taking a financial hit. A lot of those local businesses were sponsoring the local shows around the country. It would be an insult to go knocking on their doors looking for sponsorship,” said Mr Ryan.
After Cappamore Show was cancelled in 2001 due to foot and mouth disease, Mr Ryan said they regrouped and came back with renewed vigour. And they will do so again 20 years later.
“The simple things in life will be more greatly appreciated. Maybe what was regarded as a necessity two months ago is a luxury nowadays. Hopefully, people will more fully appreciate the value of those events,” said Mr Ryan.
Charleville Show PRO Billy Biggane said they would be going to sponsors now for their two day event scheduled for June 27 and 28 but “you couldn’t go to them”.
“I’d like to thank past sponsors, organisers and patrons for their support and we look forward to seeing them next year. We will be back as good as ever,” said Mr Biggane.
The Newcastle West Show committee issued a statement.
“We would like to thank everyone for their continued support, and we hope to see you all in 2021. We will come back stronger than ever. We hope you are all staying safe and well,” it reads.
Prior to Covid-19, we took a lot of things for granted, including agricultural shows. That will never happen again. I’m sure bumper crowds at local shows in 2021 will reflect that mood.