WATCH: Cappamore Show keeps the field of dreams alive

Donal O'Regan/Video by Sean Ryan

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Donal O'Regan/Video by Sean Ryan

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donal.oregan@limerickleader.ie


DEPENDING on the time of day you could have been burnt by the sun or drowned by a shower at Cappamore Show.
The typical Irish summer’s day didn’t put off attendees as crowds were up 25% on 2018. Paddy Ryan “Luke”, secretary for the past 60 years, said around 11,000 headed for Ballyvoreen.
The over 130 on the committee, supplemented by some 70 more on Saturday, were ready for all eventualities. Rubber mats were placed on the way in to the car-park and at the major crossroads on the grounds. You could have got away without wellingtons although some wearing sandals were a bit optimistic.
Horse boxes doubled up as shelters from the rain at times but when the sun came out it split the rocks. To celebrate the show’s 65th anniversary there was plenty of trips down memory lane. 
A big talking point was Bernard O’Connell exhibition of old electrical appliances.
“It brings them back to a place and a time,” said Bernard. There was old washing machines from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s; kettles; hoovers; irons; gramophones and lots, lots more.
“It is only gone noon and I’ve had 10 people that remember one of the washing machines. One man told me it was much bigger. I asked him how old he was. He said he was six so he was much samller then! I love the discussions and reminiscing,” said Bernard, who was joined by his grandchildren Emily, Harry and Thomas O’Flaherty.
He even had a two cow portable milking machine from the 1950s. He flicked the switch and it hummed away. There were plenty of cows up in the cattle section he could have tested it on.  Bernard said after rural electrification farmers would try out this new fangled machinery before taking the plunge on getting a proper milking parlour.
His collection started thanks to a man born very close to the showgrounds - Canon John Hayes.
“A clock was presented to Canon Hayes by the ESB when the lights were switched on in Bansha in 1948,” he explained.
Bernard was subsequently given the clock as he worked for the ESB and is a Bansha man. That started the ball rolling on his passion and his collection brought many back to days gone bye. Men and women dressed in clothes from the 1950s for the special best dressed lady and gent added to the old time feeling.
Across the way from Bernard was a celebration of McCarthy’s Circus Bar and Ollie Dillon of Cappamore Historical Society. Ollie displayed old photographs and showed old videos form the show.
Sadly, there are no pictures from the first show in 1954 but Ollie said there was “huge interest” in the ones from 1955 onwards.
One man who was featured was Jimmy McCarthy -the only continuous link by a serving committee member to their very first event. One and all were delighted to see Jimmy at the show with son Seamus and grandson Charlie.
The show is a real family day out and there was lots to entertain youngsters. Nigel Waters, Dooradoyle and Alan Connors, Raheen, were on a daddy daycare day out with their girls. Emily Waters, aged 10 months, and Cara, 2, were fascinated by the alpacas in the pets corner.
The last word must go to the man who has been secretary for 60 of the 65 Cappamore Shows - Paddy Ryan “Luke”.  
“It would rate highly with any show we would have had down through the years. Patrons, sponsors, judges - across the spectrum - they were all highly complimentary of the work that went it. We had new features this year. Our aim is to put on a programme to satisfy all tastes.
“It is important to us that exhibitors and patrons go home in the evening, say they had an enjoyable day and they will be back next year. That is our ambition,” said Mr Ryan, who adds that he is “just part of a great team”. He met one lady who lives in Dublin but returns every year because the show was close to her father’s eart.“She said she had the most enjoyable day. We are putting on something by the parish and for the parish,” said Mr Ryan.