Turnout proves Cahirmee Fair is still a rural hit
Hundreds of horse traders haggling and bartering under the hot sun shows that the traditional horse fair is alive and well
Sunglasses and ice cream were the order of the day at Cahirmee Fair in Buttevant, Co Cork, last Tuesday. Temperatures in the mid-20s took their toll on both humans and animals, as the handlers got burnt and the horses got progressively more tucked up as the day wore on.
However, the blazing sunshine did give a cheerful, summer atmosphere to proceedings as horses, ponies, donkeys and even a jennet were sold at the fair.
The fair, which is hundreds of years old, is still called Cahirmee after its original site two miles outside of Buttevant, even though the fair has been held in the town for the past 90 years. It is said that the Duke of Wellington's horse at the Battle of Waterloo, a black horse called Copenhagen, was bought at Cahirmee in the early 1800s.
While there were no military buyers at the fair this year, there was still plenty of interest in the stock for sale. Miniatures, children's ponies, traditional cobs and lighter sport horses were plentiful, but three-year-old hunting types with a bit of bone and feather were thin on the ground.
Westmeath horse dealer Jim Derwin bought 30 horses on the day, and his new stock ranged from a 12.2hh child's pony to a 16.2hh horse.
The dealer and his spotters combed the fair from 7am for the best horses and ponies and paid from €250 up to €4,000 for the animals of his choosing.
"I got some nice riding-school types and a few horses," he said. "There were some nice cobs and Connemara ponies in the bunch too."