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THE North West Clare Agricultural Show returns on Sunday, June 5, for the first time since 2019.

Forty-five years since the popular show was revived in 1977, the show committee is “excited to the show up and running again”.

Today, there are over 40 members explains PRO officer Kieran Houlihan, who recounts that the show was initially revived and carried on in the 70s by local men such as Gus Clair, John Nagle from Kilshanny, former treasurer Patrick Garrihy, and James Garrihy who sadly passed away in recent years. “They approached Dan McCarthy who had purchased the Falls Hotel shortly before that, to see if they could use his grounds and he was very welcoming. The first year they held the show on the grounds, it drew such a crowd that he requested they hold a gymkhana, I think it was six weeks later.”

That partnership has carried on with the new generation of McCarthys and Kieran says the committee is proud of that partnership, noting the “fantastic facilities” on hand at the hotel and its beautiful backdrop of the cascades. “You couldn’t ask for a better location and with the bar and restaurant facilities, it really adds to that family day out and sets the tone for the day.”

The show traditionally welcomes contestants from around the country, however attracting entries has proved challenging in the face of rising costs post-Covid. “Some of our regular exhibitors don’t seem to have entries coming forward and there’s a huge cost increase in travel and preparing animals for show.” Despite this, the North West Clare Show has sustained generous prize money while maintaining the same entry fees from 2019. Kieran adds, “we would have had very good sponsorship from local pubs and businesses over the years but we felt it wasn’t right to approach them this year as they find their feet and we just approached larger businesses who were still operational during the pandemic, and we’re very grateful to them.” Contestants are being urged to enter by this Sunday at the latest.

On the day, families will be treated to horse and pony classes, cattle and sheep classes, a dog show, along with a varied home produce market in the vocational school with baking, arts and crafts, horticulture, poultry, photography and more on display.

Speaking about the significance of the returning show, Kieran states that as a rural community, “It would have been a big day in a lot of people’s calendar. It’s the first big summer event for a lot of families in the area and it was definitely missed over the last number of years,” adding that it’s a positive day for businesses in the town.

Kieran notes that the Falls Hotel will televise the match at 4pm directly after the show and there’s plenty to keep the kids entertained such as face painting, amusements, and tug of war open to all primary schools in the area which has been kindly sponsored by CastleDarcy Glamping site; there’s also a hay bale rolling competition for families and a mini-digger driving skills competition for spectators. “The side attractions, we’ve found over the years are as popular as the livestock.”

Entry fee is €5 per adult, kids go free. Class judging starts at 10:30 and the craft market is open from 2pm to 4:30pm. There will be prizes for most appropriately dressed person of the day and bonnie baby at 3pm.

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