Wednesday 20 February 2019

21 years of Strandhill show

David Goulden

All roads leads to the seaside this Sunday as a landmark edition of the Strandhill Show and Craft Fair takes place.

Now in the 21st year of its current guise, the show was revived in 1997 after a hiatus of over four decades when locals Kieran O'Keefe and Liam Filan along with the late Willie and Dominic Gilligan, took it upon themselves to resurrect the tradition.

Originally known as the Strandhill Gymkhana, the event takes place this coming Sunday, June 24th on the estate of Lisheen House from 1pm.

Explaining the link between Lisheen and what is a wonderful day out for all the family, John Kivlehan of the organising committee says the day is firmly pressed within the fabric and history of the coastal town."The site was suggested by the committee as a location and with the goodwill of the Lindsay family their estate and lands became home to our show. George Lindsay became a member of the gymkhana committee and remains so to this day.

"Built in 1798 by William Phibbs, the house was for long roofless and in ruins when the Gymkhana began there, and now, in our 21st year, we see a strong cover of ivy almost hiding the ruins completely as we prepare for this year's show. However, the grounds and lands are as beautiful as ever, and the site remains the perfect home for the annual event that takes place here."

The committee were forced to drop the equestrian element of the show during the downturn. A name change was required as the show took more of an agricultural focus. "We sadly let go of the Showing and Showjumping classes which had graced the venue for so long", Johnny recalls.

"Strandhill Gymkhana and Craft Fair then became Strandhill Show and Craft Fair. We endeavoured to maintain the ethos of a country show with farm tasks, beehives, horse and cart rides, family sports, entertainment, Kiltimagh pet farm, home industries, mini diggers challenge, kiddies maze, bouncy castle and vintage cars." display, smallest cow, sheep shearing, Geevagh Honda 50 club, dog show, arts and crafts, face painting and music with the Sligo Concert Band.

For more information on this weekend's much anticipated event, see

Sligo Champion