BY JOHN SEXTON
WITH the lengthening of the days and the sun shining brightly, we are into the season of summer agricultural shows and foremost among these is Clonakilty.
Now in its 104th year, Clonakilty Show stands out like a beacon for all to admire. At the recent launch of the 2019 event, which takes place on Sunday, June 9th, the show society president, John O’Mahony, presented an extensive description of all the various classes and appealed to the general public to attend.
Show Day is all about animals with frisky calves being paraded around the ring by their proud owners on their first day out at the show. Foals as young as two weeks old can be admired, while fully-grown horses will be there in all their glory, groomed with manes and tails plaited and as each class is judged and the coveted rosettes of Clonakilty Agricultural Show are handed by the judges in the ring.
Gerard’s Mobile Farm will allow young people to get up close to farm animals. Farming is getting so commercialised, even country kids do not get up close to animals, so this is an rare opportunity to give a lamb or a kid or a rabbit a big hug.
The show will feature the Castlefreke €2,500 Breeders Championship sponsored by Stephen Evans Freke, Horse Sport Ireland and Clonakilty Agricultural Show for the second year. The winner of last year’s competition was PJ Lehane from Castleview in Clonakilty who walked away with the top prize of €1,000, trophy and rug and a further €300 for the breeder of the winner.
There are two other classes at the show carrying a prize fund of €1,500 each, the foal championship kindly sponsored by Internal Affairs, interior design consultants, and the yearling championship sponsored by KC Civil Engineering. Clonakilty Agricultural Show boasts of having the largest number of classes in any show in the region with 42 horse classes, 27 pony classes and four driving classes paying out a total prize money of €15,000.
In the cattle section, there are 77 classes from dairying to beef and the coveted class of course is the Dubliner Cheese All-Ireland Heifer in Milk, which carries a prize fund of €1,350, sponsored by Carbery. A total of €12,000 will be paid out in the cattle section on show day.
In the sheep section there are classes for all breeds Charolais, Scotties, Suffolk’s, Texels and Zwartables, carrying a prize fund of €1,000. The indoor section has 119 classes from home baking to crafts, flowers and plants and a special section for young people.
As well as all the usual attractions, the show will also feature Ireland and the UK’s strongest man, Pa O’Dwyer, from Limerick, who claims that growing up on a farm helped him earn the title. He will take on competitors from all over Ireland – Wexford, Dublin, Galway and Clonakilty’s own competitor and teacher, Dav.
For those who want to burn off a few calories, Tom Jive of ‘Arrive and Jive’ fame will be holding a one-hour workshop followed by the West Cork Jiving Competition from 2pm. Special guest is Christopher King, a 2018 finalist in the ‘Ireland’s Got Talent’ competition.
Carbery Macra na Feirme clubs will display their skills in competition beside the western wall.
Attending Clonakilty Show, you might meet your neighbour and catch up about politics, the weather and the crops, among other things.