Castlewellan Show anniversary

Castlewellan Show anniversary

12 July 2017

ALL roads to lead Castlewellan next month for one of the most prestigious events on the Northern Ireland agricultural calendar.

The town’s forest park once again provides a stunning back for the annual Castlewellan Show on July 15 which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Set across 50 acres in the beautiful surroundings of the park, the show takes place from 9am until 6pm featuring classes for cattle, sheep, goats, horses, ponies, donkeys poultry, pigs, rabbits, dog agility and home industries. 

A wide range of trade stands, food and craft producers showcase their wares alongside live music, vintage tractors, carriage driving, demonstrations of countryside pursuits, Young Farmers’ competitions, a pet show, fashion tent, vintage tea tent and children’s amusements which will entertain all day long. 

The annual show is organised by an enthusiastic committee keen to welcome visitors from towns and cities to profile all the countryside has to offer. There are also activities for children and young people, with those under 16 admitted free. 

Mrs Anna May McHugh, President of the National Ploughing Association, will be one of the guest judges for an event which has grown from a small local entity to an international attraction.  

Following the success of the introduction of new classes last year, with the Northern Ireland Pygmy Goat Club and Dexter cattle, Castlewellan will once again be hosting the British Wool Board Golden Fleece competition. The new James Graham Perpetual Cup for the Hereford Champion will also be presented.

Ahead of next month’s event, show chairwoman, Fiona Patterson, has thanked sponsors and is delighted the prestigious event continues to enjoy the support of EDA Media and Newry, Mourne and Down Council as well as this year benefiting from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Regional Food Programme, which will offer an opportunity to showcase local produce.  

An army of volunteers help ensure everything is in place ahead of the event and are also on hand throughout the day itself, working quietly and efficiently behind the scenes.

Castlewellan Show is not only at the heart of the local agricultural and rural community, it also makes a significant contribution to the local economy. Molly Robinson, who at 84 years old has attended 49 shows with her husband Cecil, plans to be in Castlewellan on July 15 to celebrate her 50th.

At a recent press briefing announcing details of this year’s show, Mrs Robinson spoke about the introduction of Charolais cattle to Northern Ireland in 1966 and their first purchase of a heifer in 1967 which motivated them to attend the event. Molly and Cecil were eventually invited on to the committee and have been key stalwarts over the many years.

Car parking on the day is also free, but organisers want to keep traffic moving as much as possible and there are a variety of routes people can use.

Those travelling form Ballynahinch are asked to take the Drumbuck Road, while those coming from Banbridge can veer off the main road into Castlewellan and head towards Leitrim, following the signs to the forest park.

Visitors who find a parking space at in Castlewellan town centre are being encouraged to use it and make their way to the show area on foot. Organisers have confirmed that due to the large number of traders, only blue badge holders and cars with livestock trailers or those entering the dog agility competition will be allowed onto the field.  

Permission has been granted to unload entries for the home industries competition, but people then must move their car to one of the dedicated parking areas. Those with horses, ponies and donkeys are advised to enter the park via Maginn’s Gate.