On Saturday and Sunday coming, July 21 and 22, the people of Granard will welcome the 68th annual Granard Agricultural show to Higginstown, on the outskirts of the town.
Although many small shows throughout the country face a bleak and economically tough future, the Granard show survives to this day and chair of the show, Gerry Tully, says it is all down to the consistent support from all corners of the community. He also wished to thank the show’s many long-time sponsors.
Gerry explained to the Leader, “Without the local community and businesses in the town, the show would be over. Local businesses have been very good to us. Year on year Kiernan Milling have come in behind us and without the likes of them, we couldn’t afford to run it.
“They are a great backing to us, even the local Farmer’s mart, Paul Belton agri consultant and Stewart’s Animal feeds as well. The local GAA also give us great support. We use their clubhouse for our crafts section.
“We also get great help from the Longford show, that’s what it is all about,” Gerry added.
For Gerry and his family, their involvement spans back almost four decades.
He explained, “My parents have been involved in the Granard show for nearly forty years.
“We come from a show background ourselves and it was great to see people from near and far coming on the day.
“We, the committee, are going again with it and have tried to build on last year's show.”
Gerry wished to take time to thank all former committee members, without whom the show would have disappeared.
“Small shows are disappearing all of the time, but we are pushing for 70 years now.
“Former committee members kept the Granard show going through hard times. We don’t forget that and we would like to see them coming back in to visit us this weekend.
“We are heading for our 70th show and god willing, we would like all our past members to come back to us for number 70. We want to make it a milestone.”
This year’s show, although an impressive 68th show to take place, will be the most unique to date. To some it could be seen as the show of many firsts, with the introduction of many new classes.
“Year on year we try to build on the show. Last year, we had a very successful show. We were blessed with the weather,” the show chair told the Leader.
“The local community really came in behind us. This year, we decided that we would try to get in a big sponsor for a class that no other show would have had before.
“We were very lucky to get AXA insurance on board, who put a prize fund of €2,000 towards the cow and calf championship. That has brought fair interest to the show, from all over the country.
“We have had enquiries from all over from people who want to come,” he adds.
Another first for the show, is the fact some classes will take place on new ground.
Gerry said, “Patrick Durkin has come on board this year as well.
“He will be hosting the working hunter classes.”
The show will again return to the two-day format and will take place on Saturday, July 20, and Sunday, July 21.
Gerry outlined, “The agricultural day will take place on Saturday and the show jumping portion on the Sunday.”
“We took a notion two years ago that we would try it and it was a great success.” He said of running the show over two days yet again. One other ‘first’ for the show, although there are many, many more, is the introduction of the afforementioned working hunter classes, something Gerry and the committee are excited about.
He remarked, “There wouldn’t have been showjumping on in Granard for many years.
“It is an agricultural show base, but there are so many other things at it.
“There will be trade stands, amusements, activities and things younger generations wouldn’t see everyday.”
Gerry wished to also commend the show committee for their tireless efforts throughout the year, to ensure the day goes off without a hitch.
“We have been working behind the scenes from the close of show last year until now. It is all year round,” he said.
“I would like to thank our committee, all our stewarts on the ground who come to help us on the day.
“Our show is going from strength to strength and it all comes down to our committee, especially our secretary Hazel, who is doing tremendous work behind the scenes.
“Without someone like her, the show just wouldn’t happen,” he concluded.