Sights and sounds of fair day return to Castlegregory this weekend
The sights, smells and sounds of a traditional fair's day will fill the air in Castlegregory on Saturday when the village hosts its second annual Street Fair.
Before marts took over, fair days were part of the lifeblood of towns and villages throughout Ireland. Farmers brought their animals to be traded and dealing and hand slapping were the order of the day as keen buyers bargained with sellers who knew the value of the animals they reared.
One of the organisers of the Castlegregory Street Fair, Pat O'Shea, recalled that, "in my father's time there were 25 street fairs in Castlegregory every year. Each month there was a pig fair and a cattle fair and once a year, on December 8, there was a turkey fair".
"The pig fairs continued until 1953 and ended with the demise of the train and the cattle fairs continued up until the 1970s".
Last year, a group in Castlegregory revived the street fair and next Saturday on Forge Road the trading for cattle, sheep, pigs, horses and poultry will commence once again. According to the organisers all animals are welcome, but cattle owners will need to bring certificates of compliance, sheep and pigs must be tagged and have a relevant dispatch document.
"It went well last year and if this year goes as well we will look at running a food festival along with the fair next year," said Pat.
"It will be a sight to see for visitors," he added. "Young people will get to see an unusual sight and it may stir memories for people who were young when the fairs were in their heyday."
To add to the flavour of the fair, there will be prizes for the best animals, with judging starting at noon. Bovines will be judged in two categories - best pen of heifers and pen of bullocks. The ovines have five categories - best pen of lambs and hogget scotch ewes, best scotch ram lamb, best scotch ram and best scotch aged ram. Prizes will also be awarded for best horse and best pony. There will also be a prize for the best rare breed across the classes.
The fair will start at 9am on Saturday, July 13 and will go on until 4pm. For further information contact Pat O' Shea at 086 1738187.