The Percy French Hotel in Strokestown was the venue for the launch of the 152nd Strokestown Agricultural Show recently. A good turnout heard details of this year’s event, which will be held on Saturday and Sunday, September 8th, and 9th in the grounds of Strokestown Park House and which will feature 23 All-Ireland finals.
Welcoming those in attendance, show chairperson John O’Beirne offered a preview of this year’s sections including Cattle, Sheep, Horse and Pony, Farm and Garden, Flowers, Fruit and Vegetables, Hay and Pasture, Turf, Adult and Junior Cookery and Adult and Junior Handcrafts.
Mr. O’Beirne confirmed that Michael Hughes, who will retire as National Secretary of the Irish Shows Association later this year, will officially open this year’s Strokestown Show.
He paid tribute to former committee members and volunteers who had passed recently including former secretary Anne Brennan as well as Seamus Shiel and John McDermott, who had both given the show sterling service down through the years.
Mr. O’Beirne expressed his gratitude to the show’s loyal sponsors including Greenvale Animal Feeds, the Sweeney and Stevenson families and Percy Hanly and his family.
He also offered a warm welcome to representatives of all the Breed Societies, members of the Roscommon Show and Elphin Show societies, public representatives as well as the Strokestown committee and friends of the show.
Highlighting the family friendly nature of this year’s show, Mr. O’Beirne detailed some of the novelty classes on offer during Sunday’s Family Day.
“We will have Best Dressed Lady with a prize of €500. This competition will be judged by Ciara Halpin, a personal stylist from a leading Dublin store.
“We will also have a Best Dressed Gent, Glamorous Granny, Little Miss and Little Mister for those aged 5-10 – and a Bonny Baby competition,” he said.
There will also be free bouncy castles for children on both Saturday and Sunday and music by 4 Degrees West throughout the showgrounds on Sunday.
The chairperson also thanked Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring.
“We would like to thank Minister Michael Ring for a grant this year made available to all shows and which is a major contribution to our running costs.
“In addition, the show has been granted funding from the Roscommon County Council Festival and Events grant scheme towards funding the Flavours from the Heart of Ireland Food Fair”.
Mr. O’Beirne did however raise the need for further support while raising concerns over the suckler cow scheme.
“From talking to mart managers, all are concerned about the demise of the suckler cow. We couldn’t put the show on without the suckler cow,” he said, before calling on politicians to “pull together” in order to deliver that message to Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed.
Mr. O’Beirne concluded by once again thanking those in attendance and offering everyone a warm welcome to Strokestown on September 8th and 9th.