ONE of Ireland's oldest customs, the age-old traditional sheep fair, was celebrated in Camp on Tuesday afternoon where hundreds of locals and visitors gathered for what organisers deemed another hugely successful event
Blessed with sunshine, visitors to the west Kerry village were transported back in time as dozens of traders and punters haggled at the road side hoping to grab a bargain before heading home.
As with previous years, the sheep fair was complemented by a smaller horse fair, with over 50 horses, ponies and donkeys changing hands thoughout the afternoon. The sale of sheep was swift, according to local sheep farmer and event organiser, Brigid O'Connor, who herself admitted having quite a fruitful day at the fair.
Brigid explained that in addition to the buying and selling on Tuesday, a number of awards were also presented, including the main prize - The Michael O'Shea Perpetual Cup for the the overall sheep of the day - which was presented to owner Tom O'Connor from Cloghane. Michael O'Donnell from Kilteenbane Camp, meanwhile, was deemed to have the best horse on the day and also picked up a prize.
Two of Camp's youngest sheep men, brothers Cian and Mark Griffin from Beheenagh, won the overall prize in the 'Best Traditional Pen of Sheep' category.
In the 'Best Pen of Quality Sheep' category, it was Camp's Jimmy Herlihy who took top honours. A special award was also presented to Catherine Fitzmaurice of the Camp Childcare Centre who created a stunning artistic display of the fair setting.
"The fair has been going on in Camp for hundreds of years, since Lord Ventry first brought sheep from Scotland to Beheenagh, and it's one of the longest surviving fairs in the country," Brigid told The Kerryman. "It was a great day where hundreds of adults and children came together to celebrate tradition, which finished with music in the pubs on Tuesday night."