It’s the end of the Fermanagh County Show as we know it

THE FERMANAGH County Show as we know it will not be taking place this year, with organisers announcing they are currently exploring “a new way forward” for the popular annual event, which is now in its 188th year.

In a statement released yesterday (Tuesday) the County Fermanagh Farming Society Ltd said they had taken a decision not to hold the event in its “normal format” this year as it was “unsustainable” due to soaring costs and other factors.

“Following a full evaluation of last year’s Show, which took place at Castle Irvine Estate, Irvinestown, we considered the numerous issues facing the Society in organising a large-scale community event,” said a spokesman.


“[These included] escalating costs of service provision, with increases of up to 35 percent, and ensuring adequate insurance cover is in place.

“There is an increased demand for risk assessments to be carried out for each area of the event as well as the cost of training for volunteer stewards.

“There is also the serious disease status of herds in Fermanagh to be taken into account and many breeders are cautious when exhibiting quality livestock at agricultural shows.”

The spokesman continued, “After much soul searching, we decided that the Fermanagh County Show in its usual format is unsustainable and we do not have the voluntary workforce to roll it out.

“Covid had an adverse effect on the show and there is not the same pool of expertise available to act as stewards as many of the farmers that previously volunteered now work part-time off farm.”

Established in 1836, the Fermanagh County Show is the biggest weekend in the local agri calendar, and its popularity has always extended far beyond the farming community.

Following the Covid disruption, organisers decided to hold the Show in a new format last year, holding it at the weekend rather than midweek, and moving it from Enniskillen Mart to Castle Irvine at Necarne.


Organisers have said they are working to keep many aspects of the event going this year.

For example, its huge children’s section, which attracts in the region of 3,000 entries, will be going ahead as normal, with judging beginning after Easter and children having until the end of June to work on the crafts section.

“This reinforces County Fermanagh Farming Society’s objective of engaging with the younger members of our rural community in agricultural-based disciplines,” said the spokesman.

“This showcase of children’s exhibits will be open to the public over the two days of August 2 and 3 with a venue to be confirmed.”

The Show’s Suckler Cow Classic and Breeding Heifer Derby will be judged on farms as a herds competition, with a judge visiting farms and shortlisting finalists. Video footage will be taken and shown at the autumn prizegiving.

A new initiative this year will be a top commercial sheep flock contest, with judges again visiting farms. Further details on the competitions will be released later this spring.

“The Society’s directors are working on a five-year plan with particular emphasis on education and agriculture, encouraging school competitions and supporting young farmers involved in farming in the county,” the spokesman concluded.

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