PERFECT weather conditions ensured the best ever crowds for the Castlewellan Show with a surge in the afternoon as people made their way over from the seasonal event at Scarva.
This year Nick Hewer, best known for The Apprentice and also as presenter of Countdown, visited the Show to assess the task set to make it bigger and better. BBC’s Karen Patterson was kept busy compering the Magee fashion show and judging some of the exhibits. There was plenty to do and see right across the fifty acres with large crowds gathered around the dog agility, show jumping and livestock rings.
County Down Young Farmers provided plenty of entertainment with their wellie throwing, tractor driving and several activities involving water. Compere Raymond Bready provided a great commentary throughout the day culminating with a tremendous interview with Libby Clarke during the cattle parade giving a real sense of what livestock breeding is all about.
Michelle McCauley, Castlewellan Show Chairperson said: “New this year was a fashion show and vintage tea tent with four catwalk shows throughout the day. Delicious food was served by Simply Irresistible catering with the fashion provided by Magee Clothing modelled by a selection of local volunteers. Funds were raised for the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children. The Best Dressed Lady provideda highly competitive field for some wonderful prizes and was won by Clare McCollum. The Best Dressed Gent was a more motley crew though Jim Nelson was a worthy winner.
“Displays of blacksmithing, threshing, felt making, spinning were complemented by the vintage cars, tractors and machinery which contrasted greatly to their more modern counterparts on the trade stalls. The Show was particularly delighted that the World of Owls was able to attend with some of their birds which were recovered after the recent vandalism. The birds provided by them and the Flying Falcons were a great attraction.
“The craft tent was steady throughout the day with a wide selection of things to buy including jewellery, wood turning products, knitwear, art, linen, ceramics and cookwear. Award for best stall went to Nosy Rosie Crafts. The gourmet food tent was also popular hosting the best of Northern Irish and Irish produce with the Abernethy cup awarded to Little Treats NI for their wonderful display of cake pops.”
Down District Council’s Vice-Chairman Gareth Sharvin was in attendance to co-open the 46th Castlewellan Agriculture Show. Councillor Sharvin said: “The Castlewellan Agriculture Show is the cream of the crop across Down and Northern Ireland. With over 4,000 entries it shows how prestigious the show is in the agriculture industry.
“The biggest attraction was Nick Hewer from The Apprentice and Farm Fixer. This was another clear indication how successful the show has become. The Castlewellan Agriculture Show contributes to our local economy and gives the whole family a great day out to enjoy everything agriculture.”
A range of public bodies including the PSNI Education Road Show, Patient Client Council and the South Eastern Trust fostering team provided very useful information to the general public. Tiny Life volunteers were among a number of charities present and were visible in their yellow tabards selling Show catalogues to raise funds.
In spite of difficult times for many farmers, numbers in livestock classes held steady this year and the standard in many was very high. The Show hosted four national championships which brought people in from across the island.
Local limousine breeder Jim Quail with Lynderg Hero was a very popular winner of the All-Ireland Limousin Bull Derby and overall supreme beef champion. There was a great selection of Irish Moiled cattle, a breed which was almost extinct a number of years ago.
The sheep pens once again yielded a very competitive field across all classes with W McAllister taking the interbreed champion with a Charollais ram. Castlewellan hosted the final of the Hampshire Downs National Final which was won by Show chairperson Michelle McCauley.
The goats extended to a two day back to back competition which doubled the number of goats across the classes. Geoffrey & Lorraine Ringland from Ballyward once again dominated winning overall champion and Best British Goat in Milk with Churchview Swiftstill. Ally Whan ran a tight but noisy operation in the poultry tent which was very popular with visitors. Steven and Ryan Reid were delighted to take the Best Bird in Show award. The pig section was further down the field this year and attracted a good field of rare breeds and were popular with children and adults alike.
There was plenty of jumping with the Mossvale Riding Club running the unaffiliated show jumping in the main arena and the working hunters and ponies putting on a great display at the top of end of the field. The champion ridden hunter on the day was A Roseman on Good To Go with the Open Working Hunter won by Sarah Moore on Ladakas Guy. The Coolmore Search for a Young Horse competition was secured by Tattygare Good to Go from the Hurst Show team. Once again the Clydesdales were so graceful to watch, with the Shetlands providing entertainment at the other end of the size spectrum. The driving & hackney classes and the donkeys occupied the arenas towards the end of the day.
The Home Industries tent was busy throughout the day with over 1400 cakes, jams, art, crafts, models, handwriting and photography on display Overall winner retaining the Moorcroft Salver was Sandra Brown, who also won the craft section. In the baking section Beth McNally triumphed. Eileen’s Three Tier Delight – Elizabeth Martin Boardmills Women’s Institute put an end domination by taking first prize with their display of promoting their Institute. The ever popular scarecrow competition attracted lots of interest with Burrows family Ballynahinch winning first prize and the billy goat gruff competition won by Catherine & Grace Caragher, Dundalk with stiff competition.
After a busy day, new Show Secretary Jackie Fitzpatrick thanked the huge team of volunteers and added: “So many people work hard all year to make this day a great day out for all the family and certainly we succeeded, I’m looking forward to seeing the photos on our website.”