The preparation for Clonmel Show is like a jigsaw and when all the pieces come together it provides a wonderful day out for the people of Clonmel and surroundings areas, chairman Tom Acheson told a civic reception to mark its 150th anniversary.
Clonmel Show is part of the fabric of Clonmel and its remarkable longevity was praised by Mayor Martin Lonergan, councillors and TDs at the reception in the Council Chamber last Friday night.
Its century and a half service to the people of Clonmel and surrounding area was something few other organisations could match and was something today’s committee could be justifiably proud of, the event heard.
But Mr Acheson said the credit goes to all the commitees that served over the past 150 years. They made changes to the format when changes were needed and were appropriate to the time.
“We have tried to stay up with the times and to provide a wonderful day out for the people of Clonmel. And I want to thank all those people who have attended the shows and contributed so much to our success”, he said.
Encouraging a new generation was also important, he added, and Clonmel Show provided access to farm animals for young children who otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity.
He also paid tribute to their sponsors and particularly their exhibitors who make the show what it is - those who bake cakes, arrange flowers, breed animals or show horses.
“This is when the jigsaw comes together”, he remarked.
Mayor Lonergan outlined the history of the Show since its foundation, its many changes over such a long period of time, and how only events such as world wars and Foot and Mouth disease managed to force its cancellation.
He paid glowing tribute to its ongoing support for indigenous Tipperary industries such as agriculture and food production and how it provided a showcase for local business.
“The Show plays a major role in celebating entrepreneurship and excellence in our area”, he said.
Other councillors and TDs joined in the tributes - and all sent best wishes to Show president and one of the people whose name is synonymous with Clonmel Show - Carrie Acheson.
She is recuperating in hospital but was fondly remembered in a chamber where she had the honour of serving as Mayor.
Also remembered - but perhaps not as fondly - was the participation of some of those present in the donkey derby which became such a key part of the show, thanks to the organisation of John Fitzgerald and Eddie O’Gorman.
Independent TDs Mattie McGrath and Seamus Healy recalled their experiences, with Deputy McGrath reminding the organisers that he ended up in hospital after a fall one year, while Cllr Siobhan Ambrose remembered her father Tom taking part, much to her mother’s shock but to the delight of High School students who encouraged their teacher’s efforts in the derby with some well placed slaps to the donkey’s behind!
All the councillors paid tribute to the work of the Show committee and all those who had gone before them over the past 150 years, highlighted its community role, its effort to bring urban and rural communities together, and how much a part it played in the lives of Clonmel people for generations.