A SHOVEL for a man with a bad back was one of the antique gems that captured the imagination of visitors to the annual Knockanure Vintage Fair on Sunday.
It was one item among hundreds on view that illuminated rural life in times past. Aside from the old machinery and tools, the fair represented one of the best vintage days held in the high village in recent years, drawing a huge crowd from across the country.
"We had a fierce turnout, well beyond what we expected with everything going on this weekend from the Abbeyfeale Races to the Rose," organiser Bobby Stack said.
Held on Seamus and Brenda Clancy's land near the old cemetery for the first time ever, it brought people from as far away as Tyrone and Co Wicklow. "We're very close to our friends from Tyrone who come down every year, but we had one man travel all the way from Wicklow on Sunday morning especially for it and other exhibitors came from Tipperary, Offaly, Galway as well as Limerick, Cork and Kerry of course." Wisely, the committee had secured a large TV to screen the Clare/Limerick match; keeping locals as well as plenty of visiting people from those counties glued.
Meanwhile, Sean Stokes and Denis Flahavan pulled off a fantastic children's programme including everything from face-painting to a special 'choo-choo' train that used barrels instead of carriages and a quad bike instead of a choo-choo. "It was massively popular, the kids were queuing for it all afternoon," Bobby said.
But one of the displays that really tickled the imagination of vintage afficianados was the haul of old farm tools brought over by Denis Enright from Ballylongford. "It was incredible what he had. There was everything there from spades to pikes, anything you could think of, and there was even a shovel for a fella with a bad back!"