This Sunday the 114th annual Clare Agricultural Show takes place at Ennis Showgrounds.
Gates open at 8am with show jumping the first event on the timetable and that commences at 10am. Organisers are hopeful that the recent good weather runs through until after the Show at least.
Chairperson Joe Lillis maintains that the prize fund for the Banner Yearling means this event will more than likely generate the most excitement. “We’ve twelve entries and I know there’s three more to come, that’s 15, we could well have 20 entries in that, that’s €2500 prize fund and the guys that wins that I think the first prize is €600 or €700 so if its worth travelling for that alone. The All-Ireland breeding heifer we were only 45 cattle four years ago, last year we were 135 cattle, we’d the sixth or seventh biggest cattle show in the county right now”.
Along with the horse classes, there are eleven Connemara classes and various cattle classes throughout Sunday. On top of that there will be showjumping, horticulture, dog show, donkey and carriage driving classes. There’s plenty of activities to keep the children entertained with a theme park and funfair plus tug of war, rodeo bull, vintage cars and miniature horse classes. “We have nearly everything, we tried to get lamas but it’s not easy get those, we have everything else that you’d want”, Lillis said.
Joe feels the popularity of the show is growing each year. “The All-Ireland breeding heifer we were only 45 cattle four years ago, last year we were 135 cattle, we’d the sixth or seventh biggest cattle show in the county right now”.
There’s another important event taking place on Sunday involving the county and Joe is expecting a drop in the crowd because of the Munster senior hurling final. “We certainly will have a smaller crowd, there’s no doubt in the world it’s going to take a bit from it but the people interested in showing horses and cattle never go to too many matches anyhow, their sport is a different sport and a different discipline altogether. We will have a smaller crowd but we’re trying to cater for the people who want to see the match as well with the two big screens”.
When asked whether the County Agricultural Show could have been rescheduled as a result of the hurling, Joe replied, “There was earlier on but we didn’t anticipate the two things happening on the one date. We had fixed our date last November and we didn’t expect this to happen and who would have given odds two months ago that Clare would be in the Munster Final, I don’t think anyone would have given even money on it but I’m delighted that they are of course”.
Such a clash won’t be happening next year, “If this Munster Final is on the first Sunday in July next year we will have to reschedule and go a different day. We’re not in the Irish Shows Association and these are the people that dictate the days, all other shows in Clare are in the Irish Shows Association but we broke rank with the Irish Shows Association five years ago and would you believe our show has gone from strength to strength since,” Lillis concluded.