At a time when a number of big agricultural shows around the country aren’t taking place this year due to increased costs, the good news is that the Dundalk Show returns to Bellurgan Park on the Cooley peninsula on Sunday June 12th for the first time since the pandemic.
It’s very good news for the area,” says Sharon Eveson, treasurer and acting secretary of their decision to proceed despite rising costs.
“All our costs have gone through the roof but we’ve insured through the Irish Shows Association and got a good deal.”
Even with that, the insurance premium has gone up by 25 per cent and all other costs have jumped again.
“We’re lucky that we’ve got very good sponsors and supporters so we are delighted to be going ahead with the first show since 2019.”
The show is run entirely by volunteers, who Sharon says ‘are working their socks off.’
“We’ve got to have a committee of over twenty and everyone is working very hard. We are basically organising the show in four months, as it was only in February that we knew we would be able to go ahead with it this year. It’s nothing short of remarkable.”
“We get a lot of help from the local GAA clubs who provide the stewarding and fencing and the site at Bellurgan Park is second to none,” she says, adding that they are regularly told by people who go to shows around the country that the location is one of the best there is.”
“The show is a great day out for all the family with loads of free entertainment for all the family.”
Sharon grew up with Dundalk Show and is glad to be keeping the family tradition alive.
“It’s lovely to be back volunteering with the show.”
“My great-grandfather John O’Neill bred thoroughbred horses, my grandfather David also showed horses, my father Robert won cups and prizes for sheep while my mother Hylda won prizes every year in the home industries as well as in the cattle and poultry classes.” .
She remembers when the show was held on August 15th in the Marist grounds on St Mary’s Road, attracting top Irish show-jumpers like Iris Kellett.
‘It was held on the fifteenth as that was the day when the country came to town.’
As a child she exhibited the children’s classes and is keen that her grandchildren keep the tradition going for another generation.
“It really is a great day out for all the family. There’s something for everyone.”
“There’s live music and bands, the Show Queen and this year we’re having a competition for the Country Gentleman as well,” she says. ‘The Macra na Feirme Clubs from Louth will be taking part in lots of competitions and the dog show is always very popular.”
The cattle and sheep judging classes always attract high quality entries while the sheep shearing is another attraction.
There’s a big drive to get children involved in exhibiting in the and and crafts, handwriting and home industries classes, with a emphasis on recycling.
‘”We are trying to encourage everyone to go down the ecological and green route,” says Sharon.
The Cooley Community Alert will be there carrying out property marking for farm and other equipment.
The show catalog can be viewed on www.dundalkshow.com and entries can be submitted on-line while hard copies of the catalog are available by request.
The closing date for entries is June 4th.