More than 8,500 people shunned the seaside to enjoy the multitude of attractions and competitions of the Clonmel Show ranging from a daredevil air display and racing pigs to top class showjumping, obstacle racing dogs and some of the country’s best agricultural livestock and produce.
The Clonmel Show may be 148 years-old but its organisers showed on Sunday the event is certainly improving with age with Powerstown Racecourse thronged with visitors throughout the day. The event featured over 200 different competitions boasting a prize fund of in excess of €45,000.
Show PRO Victor Quinlan said the event attracted close to record numbers and benefited from the weather being slightly overcast for most of the afternoon, which meant the heat wasn’t too oppressive.
“We were absolutely thrilled and the weather truly added to the occasion,” he said.
One of the prominent visitors to the Show was newly appointed Minister of State in the Department of Agriculture Tom Hayes, who presented the awards for the best Hereford cattle and the All-Ireland Texel Sheep Champion.
Minister Hayes was very impressed with the standard of livestock in the show classes and the organisation of the event. “What strikes me is the amount of volunteer workers who have contributed to its success. I want to salute them,” he said.
This was echoed by Clonmel’s newly elected Mayor Cllr Pat English, who was in awe of some of the cattle on show.
“As someone who comes from the town I don’t see cattle much, so seeing beasts of that size and the care and attention they get from their owners is fascinating,” he said.
The Mayor was delighted with the number of visitors from all over the country the Show brought to Clonmel. He had met people, who travelled from Offaly and Meath for the event.
Victor Quinlan’s personal show highlight was the jaw dropping aeronautical display performed by Irish Aeronautical Champion Dave Bruton. The hustle and bustle of the Show ground to a halt as visitors stopped and turned their gazed skywards to watch his plane swooping, looping, diving and climbing across the sky.
The show was jam packed of such novelty events. The famous end of show donkey derby was watched by thousands. Eoin McDonagh was the clear winner after leading the final on his trusty steed from start to finish.
Pig racing returned to the Show after 30 years. Ten feisty bonhams delighted kids and adults alike with their antics as they galloped down the 30m course. Elsewhere at the Show, men and women vied to put milking machine teat-cups on a cow the fastest, teams of hardy men heaved with all their might in the Munster Inter-Club Tug-of-War Championships and dogs tested their agility over an obstacle course.
Kelly Doheny, looking cool and elegant in a yellow summer dress, won the Most Appropriately Dressed Lady title following a public vote while little Rosie Beckett won the Bonny Baby contest.
In the Show’s farm livestock and equine show classes, Mr Quinlan reported there were more than 400 entries in the Sheep Section, which hosted for the first time the All-Ireland Texel Bred Championship.
Mr Quinlan said securing this high profile competition was a tribute to the Sheep Section’s chief organiser Shay Kennedy from Rathgormack, whose sheep won three classes at the Show.
Limerick competitors won two of the main equine show classes. Lyndsey and Suzanne O’Brien from Adare won the Riding Champion Hunter Class while Gerard Mullins from Clarina scooped the Champion Young Horse title.
The Champion Dairy Cow was awarded to K&S Kelly from Burncourt and a Charolais owned by Michael Ryan from Thurles won the Champion Beef Cattle title.
Highlight of the Show’s showjumping competitions was the Grand Prix, which continued until around 8pm. Mr Quinlan said it attracted a huge number of entries from all over the country due to the good grass cover and ground conditions on the racecourse. Liam O’Meara from Nenagh was the winner while international showjumper Francis Connors from Waterford,was second.
Mr Quinlan also reported a record number of entries in the cookery and home crafts competitions and there was a very fine display of flowers and vegetables despite the fact the growing season was late this year.
He paid tribute to Show Committee Vice Chair Clare Wilkinson for her brilliant co-ordination of the Show and secretary Sheila Quinn for her trojan work.