Irish Country Lifestyle Festival

               

2008 Attractions

With four Game Fairs in Ireland sometimes people get confused about what is happening at which fair - including apparently some of the organisers!

Some Facts

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.

The Competitions

Clay Shooting (Shanes Castle organised by Ballydugan Clay Pigeon Club)
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
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.


Gundogs
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
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
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.


Angling
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
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
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
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!
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
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

Desmond
Desmond

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.

Falcons, Ferrets & Hounds

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: irishgamefair@btinternet.com www.irishgameandcountryfair.com www.countrysportsandcountrylife.com