15 Aug 2012
This years' successful Tullamore Show & AIB National Livestock Show was once again, deemed a great success by all involved! The event attracted large audiences, including a sizable number of international visitors and dignitaries, who spent many fulfilling hours on the showgrounds at the picturesque Butterfield Estate.
Sunday 12th August saw the Tullamore Show & AIB National Livestock show celebrate its’ 21st year and organisers are thrilled with yet another successful event! It was more than apt that the event awarded 21 prestigious gold medals in what has been described as the ‘Olympics of Agriculture’.
This years’ event was a truly International affair, with visitors from all over Europe and noteably dignitaries from all around the globe descending on the Butterfield Estate, 4 kms from Tullamore to experience Irelands Premier Show first hand.
Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney opened the event by complimenting the Executive Committee, Organisers and Volunteers on the tremendous effort involved in coordinating Irelands largest one day agricultural event. Minister Coveney also spoke of the importance of such an event to the national farming community. The Minister also made great reference to the difficult summer farmers are experiencing this year and followed by saying he can’t remember a June and July that was so challenging to agriculture, particularly those in the Shannon region and said he looked forward to meeting the community on his walkabout following the opening.
Dignitaries at this years’ show also included, Minister Michelle O’Neill, Minister of Agriculture & Rural Development in the Northern Assembly and MEP Mairead McGuinness. Representing the international community was HE Bruce Davies, the Australian Ambassador to Ireland who attended with his partner Megan, Mr Peter Zingraf, Deputy Head of Mission, German Embassy Dublin and from China, Mr Daniel Gao (Third Secretary Economic & Commercial Counsellors Office of Embassy of Peoples’ Republic of China). The visit of Mr Xi Jinping, (deemed Chinas future leader), to Ireland in the Spring and his interest in farming and visit to James Lynchs’ farm in Cappa, seems to have evoked an overwhelming interest in the agriculture amongst the Chinese and prompted a contingent of 10 from the Chinese Embassy to join Mr Gao.
Upwards of 50,000 attended the show this year and the organisers realise that competing with the Olympics, together with the inclement weather had an impact on the attendance. however, they were happy with the weather in the run-up to the show, with hundreds of large vehicles descending on the estate for trade stand set-up. Ironically in the run-up to show day it was necessary to spray tracks and roadways with water to keep dust down during last weeks’ heatwave. Sunday saw showers , but none heavy enough to dampen the spirits of the crowds at the show, the atmosphere being described by some twitter and facebook followers as ‘electric’.
The Show had over 650 trade stands displaying the best of Irish Enterprise, with everything from Artisan Food to displays of large agricultural machinery. A show never to rest on its laurels, there are always exciting new ideas and 2012 was no different. The Vintage Section, which is always a favourite, introduced for the first time, the Ladies Tractor Building Competition – proving a popular attraction. Also new to the show this year was the Hand-Shearing Competition, which proved an attractive challenge and avenue for the general public to get involved in the competitive spirit of show day.
Celebrity chef Neven Maguire with Bord Bia’s Sheila J Kelly were once again present to demonstrate the best receipes from quality Irish Meat and their focus this year; cooking tasty Irish Lamb! The Meat Village, now in its second year of a three year cycle placed focus on the Producer element of the cycle. This Educational component of the show proved very popular with crowds flocking to the hourly demonstrations, taking in every element of meat process from ‘marketing Irish Beef’ to ‘Breeding a good Beef Calf’ and ‘Fat Scoring for Finished Cattle’.
The Cattle, Sheep and Horse classes had a very successful day with entrants and winners from the length and breadth of the country. The medals recognised in the farming world as the most prestigious accolades, Minister Coveney was present to award the prizes with show secretary, Freda Kinnarney, Chairman George Gill and AIB Regional Director, Eddie Buckley.
While the show is a long way from its’ humble beginnings of 1991 and is now more inclined to receive attention for big news stories, such as dignitary visits and minister openings, it is the small anecdotal tales of show-day which give the show its heart and display the passion some have for the event. Mrs Myra Kingston travelled from Co Cork in the early hours of Sunday morning, on reaching Portlaoise at around 7:00am, Mrs Kingston and her daughter got a flat tyre and phoned a taxi, which cost them €80 to get them and their 80 plus baking competition entries to the show in time for competition commencement!
Organisers would like to thank all who were involved and all who competed in various classes and to those who attended the show! Looking forward to 2013!!