Farm Ireland

Sunday 25 February 2018

ballinasloe fair to draw big numbers

A busy Ballinasloe town centre during the annual fair in the 1940s
A busy Ballinasloe town centre during the annual fair in the 1940s

The hugely-popular Ballinasloe Fair takes place over two days on the earlier dates of September 29 and 30 this year.

The Fair kicks off a long week of festivities in the town which also includes a smaller fair for mares and foals on October 5.

Numbers on the Sunday were down slightly in 2012 due to the clash with the replay of the All-Ireland Hurling Final.

But it is anticipated that it will attract close to 35,000 visitors and 1,000 horses on the Fair Green this year.

"Ballinasloe has such a great history and tradition," says committee member Ciara Croffy.

"In the 1800s it was where members of the British Army came to find good horses.

"Nowadays there is so much more and, in addition to showing classes and on-site horse vetting for customers, we also have lunging competitions.

"These have produced some great show jumpers in recent years, including Katies Grey, who was runner-up in the 148cms novice pony final at the RDS last month," Ciara points out.

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"In addition we have the Country Fair Day on the final Saturday, which is a great day to buy mares and foals."

Other upcoming key horse fair dates include Banagher Fair, Co Offaly (October 15), Mohill Fair, Co Leitrim (October 27), Maam Cross Fair, Co Galway (October 29) and Castleisland Fair, Co Kerry (November 1).

Indo Farming