Monday, August 4, 2014

Agricultral shows.

July and August in Ireland means agricultural shows, most of the towns hold these shows often combined with music festivals, a ceilidh, street entertainment and a family fun day. Our local one is held over the August Bank holiday weekend, which was this weekend, unfortunately the family fun day which was yesterday was cancelled due to wet weather ( well this is Ireland) but today was hot and sunny, just right for an agricultural show.
It is many years since I have taken part in this type of show, in fact well over forty years, but urged on by our local Sein Fein councillor we decided we would enter some of the classes, as he rightly said, if people don't support these shows they could not afford to put them on and it is a community thing. Each class that you enter costs three euros, first prize is twelve euros, second prize is six euro, it does make it worthwhile to enter, this is on the Home Produce and Craft section. We did not enter any of our poultry as we are always worried about disease from other birds, neither did we enter any of the egg sections,( some washed eggs here, a definite no no) we were curious to see what the standard was like, the same went for individual vegetable categories,
Our onions which we should have entered, plus this years garlic.
              but next year we will be entering onions, rhubarb, and potatoes.

As is was we did well, four firsts, and two seconds. The veg basket that came first had a beautiful cauliflower and some very nice lettuce in it, we don't grow summer cauliflowers neither do we grow lettuce, but we still got second so we were pleased.
Good enough to eat.
We also got second for our herbs which were Sage, Bay and Rosemary, probably the herbs I use the most, we were beaten by Chervil, Parsley and Thyme.
Both our Gooseberry and raspberry jams got a first,
                             as did my flower arrangement
My entry got me a first.
which surprised me as there was a lovey round bowl of roses which I had thought would have won, I think it only got a third.
We also got a first in the photographic landscape which was in fact a seascape.
We were very disappointed to see that there were no entries for the junior  baking class, (under eighteen) maybe the young really don't cook anymore.
It was interesting but overall the standard was not as good as you would see in the UK shows where competition is fierce, unlike the shows in the UK there is no section for Runner beans, French Beans, Cucumber Marrow or Courgettes, it also confirmed what we had long suspected, not too many people grow their own veg, or if they do they don't enter them into shows.
There was a pets section put on by a local pet farm for the children,
the star of this being a Barn Owl who spent all the time asleep, well it was the middle of the night for her
and three Barn owlets, just three weeks old, they are so beautiful in their ugliness, yet in just another three weeks they will be as lovely as their parents.
The whole show was very well attended so the organisers should be able to hold it again next year, last year it was cancelled due to lack of funds.
A very enjoyable day and the sun shone.   


  1. Excellent start, I think such shows are important as they help to bind communities together despite the behind the scenes back-biting about Whose cake was better... You'll have your work cut out to keep it up now for next year. No such shows around here.... perhaps we ought to start one?

    1. I think that you starting one is a very good idea, we lived in two parts of Spain, Galicia where we never found any type of Agricultural show although you can grow anything there, and Catalonia where they do have such shows but purely livestock and crafts, yet everyone would have a garden or allotment growing veg, regardless of whether they lived in a town or the country

  2. Wow! Well done on the show, especially the veg etc classes. When we lived in Kent I was Treasurer of Faversham Hort Soc for ten years but never went near the veg classes because my stuff, being organic, could never compete with the old boys and their allotments. It was all about looks (big and completely free from blemish) and if you ever got given any at the end of the show, you knew that you would cook it for 3 months to get it tender and it would still taste like cardboard.. So a special well done you on getting that result with organic stuff against, presumably, non-organic competition!

  3. Size does not seem to matter here, the potatoes were small to say the least and the winner of the beetroots were the smallest. Presentation was very poor, especially on the onions in the UK they would all have been disqualified. I don't think the word Organic is even known around here!

  4. Your entries were great Its so much fun to enter. We have an old fair coming up in a couple of weeks it very similar to yours. We have horse pulls , tractor pulls all sorts of demo's from rope making to spinning. Sounds like you had grand time. and did well in the prize department.

  5. Yes we were both pleased Carole, it the first time for over forty years that I have entered any shows like this, it was good fun although we thought the standards could have been higher.

  6. Congratulations on all your prizes. What diverse talents you have, taking the photo prize too. Could you post the winning photo for us to appreciate?
    Best wishes,

    1. Thanks both, photo now posted on latest blog.

  7. Well done! Excellent work. The show looks like a great idea and I hope it continues to grow in popularity. Lovely flower arrangement and I am not surprised that your jams came first x

  8. The show is held every year, it was just last year that it was cancelled due to lack of funds, most of the local towns have an Agricultural show, some much bigger than others.

  9. I tried to post 3 times and each time I lose it so once more I was very impressed with the stunning photo that got a well earned first prize as for jams they are well practiced and all ways great to eat did you not put in you coffee cake that is a prize winner every time with us and the flower arrangement looks great no wonder you came home with a hand full of prizes. What show was it ? last year we went to one in Tubber we had a good day .lots of interesting things to see from cat and dogs to bulls pigs sheep and the list went on missed the shows so far this year but with a bit of luck next year .

  10. it was my end that messed up with the other comments

  11. The show was Castlerea Pat, last years was cancelled due to lack of money, might think about doing a couple of other local ones next year if we have the time and energy. There was no class that covered the coffee cake, let us know when you are next coming over and I will make sure there is one made for you!