With four Game Fairs in Ireland sometimes people get confused about
what is happening at which fair - including apparently some of the organisers!
FACT 1: The Great Game Fairs of Ireland - the award winning
event at Shanes Castle and the super new event at Birr are organised by the
most experienced organising team in the world. And the most experienced team in
Ireland by far.
FACT 2: The competition prize structure at the 2007 Great Game
Fairs of Ireland was the best ever seen at any Irish Game Fair and in 2008 we
have not only maintained this but developed it through new All Ireland Game
Fair Championships. We lead where others follow!
FACT 3: The Shanes Castle Fair Provides the largest single and
most varied competitive Irish event for all kinds of dogs with: Ireland's
largest Gundog Event (with record entries in 2007) including the Feedwell MUGA
International Team and Individual Challenge; The Feedwell UGRC Dog & Gun
team and Individual event; The IWS Club Minor breed events; The Massbrook UGL
Spaniel Event plus the NIGFSS Gundog Group Show; Ireland's largest Terrier and
Lurcher event - the 20th All Ireland Terrier & Lurcher Championships (now
two day with racing Saturday & Show Sunday); Dog Agility Show &
Displays; Police Dogs; The HANI Hound Show plus other displays and exhibits
(including a visit by the Kennel Club the governing body for pedigree dogs).
FACT 4: The Clay Pigeon Shooting event at Shanes Castle at
2007 had the largest prize structure at any Irish Game Fair. For 2008 we have
provided a better prize structure spread over the two Fairs with two guns to be
won at Shanes (a Bettinsooli and Browning) and two guns including a Beretta 687
EELL to be won in the Grand Final at Birr.
FACT 5: The Angling section of the Fair at Shanes and the
Casting competitions at Shanes Castle and Birr Castle (with Irish records being
broken in 2007) have grown in stature every year and can now be viewed as one
of the highlights of the Fairs and certainly superior to any other Irish Fair.
FACT 6: We do not have the largest arena in terms of size but
we have one that is based on letting the public "get up close and personal"
with the largest and best arena programme in terms of content with the most
extensive and varied arena programme.
FACT 7: Unless something catastrophic happens the events we
advertise will actually be there.
Clay Shooting (Shanes Castle organised by Ballydugan Clay
The innovative format which enabled the top two in each class to go through to
exciting finals at both fairs will be continued in 2008 with the additional
bonus that the top shot in each class at both Shanes Castle and Birr Castle
finals will meet in the All Ireland Championship at Birr. This gives every
shooter two chances to qualify.
Clay final at Birr 2007
At Shanes Castle through the generosity of Donal McCloy from Donal McCloy Guns
Unlimited there will be top quality cash prizes for each class plus a
Bettinsoli Shotgun (for the Dog & Gun) plus a Browning Cynergy Shotgun
(worth c €3,500) to be won in the "shoot off".
The Grand All Ireland Game Fair Clay Pigeon Championship is once again
sponsored through the generosity of David Brennan of Ardee Sports who has put
up a magnificent Beretta 687 EELL for the top prize (worth c €10,000).
In addition there will be have a go air rifle, archery and lazer shooting.
The Dog & Gun will be run by the UGRC on the Saturday with similarly
generous prizes to 2007 sponsored by Feedwell, the Kennel Club and the
organisers. Once again a Bettinsoli Shotgun (sponsored by Donal McCloy ) as the
top Individual prize. For further details contact Joe Johnston (028 86736432)
or see the competitions pages.
Gilbert Irvine with the Dog Box to be won in the Spaniel Tests
Saturday will also see the UGL running Novice and Open Spaniel tests sponsored
by Massbrook. This superb prize fund has been enhanced by the sponsorship of a
DT Dog box (by Gilbert Irvine) for the top spaniel. The top four spaniels in
this event will qualify as the Northern Ireland team to run at Birr Castle.
Sunday will host what appears to be the major international team event for
Retrievers in Northern Ireland this year with a NI Team; the Ulster Select; an
All Ireland team and the Scottish team. Once again the prize fund has been
enhanced for this by Stuart Dunne sponsoring a dog box for the top dog in the
international and £100 vouchers for his products for the members of the
winning team. For the all comers international individual open test the prize
fund has been enhanced by the sponsorship for the winner by H&J Pet
Supplies of a Bumper Boy Remote Dummy Launcher (worth £595). The top 4
Northern Ireland dogs in this competition will form the NI team for Birr
Castle. The top four dogs (from anywhere) will qualify for the All Ireland Game
Fair Championships at Birr where they will compete with the top four dogs in
the Open Test at Birr for the top prize of a trailer worth c €5,500
sponsored by Joe Forde of Burren Trailers. Once again handlers can qualify for
the final at Birr or Shanes.
Bumper Boy worth £595 - one each to be won at Shanes & Birr
Also on Sunday (midday) the IWS Club will be running Novice and Open Tests for
AV other than Labrador Retriever (Contact T. Sellers 028 94453578)
Special two day tickets for gundog competitors are available from Albert
Titterington (028 44615416) or Joe Johnston (028 86736432). These must be
ordered in advance.
In angling, the casting competitions once again are sponsored by Dunfly with
good prizes in each of four classes i.e. Youths; Ladies, Amateur and
Professional. The winner from each class will compete in a final for some
special prizes including fishing holidays. In this final the professional
winner will have a handicap of 5 metres. The top four casters will qualify for
the All Ireland Game Fair Casting Championships at Birr where the top prizes
include the Pat Burns Memorial Trophy; £500 and fishing holidays.
Casting Demos by Ladies World Champion Glenda Powell & Former World
Champion Peter Anderson
Apart from the casting competitions and an extended Fisherman's Row there is
much to interest the angler or budding angler with a "put & take fishery"
and other displays and activities organised by Angling First; casting displays
by Former World Champion Peter Anderson and Ireland's top lady angler Glenda
Powell. Glenda will also be running her own (FREE) casting clinic throughout
the Fair with children and ladies especially welcome. A unique feature will be
the tying of a special Irish Game Fair Fly by Lawrence Finney on the Irish
Countrysports and Country Life magazine stand.
Terriers and Lurchers
The All Ireland Terrier and Lurcher Championships are qualifiers for the main
UK championships and because of the massive entries in 2007 will take place
over 2 days in 2008. Racing will take place on Saturday afternoon with the
Shows taking place on Sunday afternoon (special two day tickets for Terrier
& Lurcher competitors are available from Albert Titterington (028
44615416). These must be ordered in advance.)
The Top Terrier & Lurcher event in Ireland
There will be terrier & lurcher displays in the main arena on both days.
The Fair is also delighted to host N.Ireland's major hound show; carriage
driving competitions and displays, the Irish Falconry Championships (Sponsored
by Farrans Ltd), ferretting and stickmaking displays; The World Of Owls
Conservation display; the best Game Display in Ireland; dog agility
competitions and displays; police dog displays and a Gundog Group Show.
The Main Arena Programme (Sponsored by Firmus Energy)
The main arena programme at Shanes Castle is always the most varied and action
packed with the programme changing every half hour. It includes the very best
of countrysports, medieval and other country lifestyle attractions (see the
full programme on the website or in the special Belfast Telegraph supplement on
Friday 20th June 2008).
The Irish Medieval Festival
REAL Medieval excitement
This is a real medieval festival and is not to be confused with "hyped up"
copies at other events. This year the fearsome Welsh mercenaries of Drudion are
joined in the main arena and medieval village by The Border Reviers, the
Knights of Northern Period Productions and the muzzle loaders in exciting
displays of firepower, swordplay, pike work, archery and jousting. The medieval
village has been greatly extended to include village life through the ages,
arms handling, medieval cookery, medieval music by top international and Irish
groups, fire eating, juggling, arms making and coin making by Grunal Moneta. In
addition for the first time the village has been extended to include a medieval
market featuring a range of authentic medieval merchandise for all members of
the family to buy into the medieval lifestyle.
And as it is Midsummer Night - a very special medieval Banquet
and BBQ with music, traditional fayre (including Hog Roast) and medieval
entertainment will be staged in aid of the Special Olympics Ulster. Details
from Charlotte on 077 9894 1465
A Huge Tented Village of Trade Stands
The huge tented village of trade stands includes not only the largest display
of guns and tackle in Northern Ireland but basically every kind of product for
any member of the family to buy into the country lifestyle.
Ken Perrott with a 5Kg 'caper' destined for the smoker!
Some other attractions will include a number of shooting and fishing holiday
providers with Lapponia Hunting providing samples of a unique delicacy, Smoked
Capercaillie, on the ICS&CL stand.
Speaking of Fine Food & Drink
This year new catering contractors have been employed to provide a wide range
of food options at an affordable price ranging from burger & chips to
succulent Hog Roast.
Chef Emmett McCourt
The Fine Food and Drinks Pavilion will be one of the finest seen at any Fair
this year with a mouth watering selection of Irish and international
delicacies. As mentioned elsewhere well known fish and game cookery chef Emmett
McCourt (no mean angler and shot as well) has combined with Flogas to provide
Game & Fish Cookery demonstrations and certain other celebrity chefs have
been invited to fill slots.
And finally a piece of sartorial elegance
For the man or woman with £30,000 to spare the most expensive shooting
suite in the world. Yes, something that would grace the finest shop in Saville
Row - a completely hand cut, tailored and sewn suit from master cutter and
tailor Desmond Merrion. Desmond's profile can be seen elsewhere in the magazine
but with a history of providing suits for some very illustrious clients
throughout the world, he has brought his tailoring skills to Ireland to provide
a demonstration of tailoring on the Irish Countrysports and Country Life
magazine stand. Desmond will cut and make superb clothing on the stand - and
his clothing starts from a much more modest price for bespoke clothing!
The Fair is also delighted to host N.Ireland's major hound show; carriage driving
competitions and displays, the Irish Falconry Championships (Sponsored by Farrans
Ltd), The World of Owls; ferretting and stickmaking displays; The
World Of Owls Conservation display; the best Game Display in Ireland; dog agility
competitions and displays; police dog displays and a Gundog Group Show.
Most of these attractions will be replicated or even enhanced at the Irish Game
& Country Fair, Birr Castle Co Offaly so why not treat you and your family
to two great days out at Ireland's premier game fairs.
The Fair is supported by a number of very generous sponsors including the
Belfast Telegraph & Antrim Borough Council.
For further details call: 028 (from ROI 048) 44615416 E: