Tullamore Show cancelled for second year after downpours
THE unpredictable weather has left organisers of a major agricultural show "bitterly disappointed" for a second year running.
Meteorologists had warned of showery weather last Saturday but there was flash flooding in many parts of the country instead, leaving organisers of the Tullamore Show in Co Offaly with no choice but to call off the event.
Up to 50,000 were preparing to make the journey to the Charleville Estate on the Birr Road, but were stopped in their tracks as the show was cancelled.
The sun came back out yesterday, but it was too late to salvage the event, as the rain had flooded car parks and left organisers with health and safety concerns for visitors and animals.
"After last year we went to extra efforts and preparations and put down tracks we brought in from Scotland and everything. We were promised fine weather, I don't know what's happening with the weather at all," Christy Maye of the Tullamore Show told the Irish Independent. The organisers had spent over €30,000 on a thousand metres of underfoot metal track to make the field more accessible to spectators in the event of rain.
However, it wasn't enough and the committee didn't want to risk a repeat of the Barbra Streisand concert in Castletown House in Celbridge last year, where there were long delays getting in and out of the car parks at the event because of heavy rainfall.
"It's amazing that two years ago we had exactly the same weather. It's never come as bad in a century and it arrived at the same time this year.
"Competitors come from all over the country and we didn't want people to be disappointed and they'd have to be able to get in and out of the car parks," said Mr Maye.
"Unfortunately, we can't just postpone it for four or five days, it's not like a football match," he added.
Organisers said they are "determined" to have another attempt at holding the event next year, despite two years of cancellations and lost expenditure.
"We will convene a meeting as soon as we can, in the next day or so, and decisions will be made," said Mr Maye.
More than 500 volunteers were left deflated after six weeks of working on the 150-acre site, which was expecting 550 trade stands and thousands of visitors.
The Tullamore Show is the country's biggest one-day rural event and was due to have been opened by Taoiseach Brian Cowen.