The Country Lifestyle Festival moves into the NO 1 slot!
The 2004 Irish Country Lifestyle Festival held at Shanes Castle, Antrim was
billed by its organising team as "the most exciting and action packed family
show" ever staged in Ireland. They promised a fantastic weekend of medieval and
country sports entertainment to appeal to both urban and rural families
including full armour medieval jousting; the best of hunting, shooting and
fishing displays, carriage driving and a huge tented village of trade stands.
AND that is precisely what they delivered.
Saturday - great crowds and fantastic entertainment
Saturday attracted a huge crowd which was kept thoroughly entertained by well
organised and action packed main and subsidiary arena programmes that neatly
integrated hunting, shooting and fishing attractions with medieval hunting and
jousting and various types of carriage driving. The competitions and static
attractions at the Medieval Village, the Game Keeper's area, the World of Owls,
the Falconry exhibit, and the Children's Entertainment and Learning area also
attracted great interest.
Music, jousting and more on Saturday evening
Saturday night and the old castle at Shanes Castle relived part of its former
glory as over 300 revellers enjoyed a medieval BBQ . The haunting music of
Distant Drums reverberated across the waters of Lough Neagh and as guests
feasted they were treated to displays of archery with flaming arrows, jousting,
falconry , fire eating and other feats of strength and agility.
Sunday brings Mammoth crowds and delivers a huge success
However it was the truly massive and record breaking crowds flooding through
the gates on Sunday that catapulted the show firmly into the Number ONE
position in terms of outdoor shows and countrysports events in Northern
Festival Hon. Chairman Michael Dickey expressed his delight at the Festival
achieving its objective to become Northern Ireland's top outdoor event in just
two years. He said " I was delighted to be heavily involved in the launch of
the Game Fair 27 years ago and thrilled to be asked to chair the organising
committee of this new generation outdoor show in 2004. It is a great testament
to everyone involved that in just two years the event appears to have surpassed
all the existing Northern Irish game fairs, country fairs and agricultural
shows except for the RUAS event held at Balmoral Show Grounds. "
John Mc Clelland, who was responsible for putting together most of the
countrysports attractions said " In just two years we have come a very long way
in terms of producing a real family orientated event with unrivalled appeal for
both urban and rural dwellers. We feel that the show is now the largest outdoor
event in Northern Ireland and within this the countrysports section is second
to none. The only complaint we had this year was that there was too much to see
in one day! Next year with even more to see we have taken the precaution of
offering a big value family TWO DAY TICKET! "
Albert Titterington , Michael's co founder of the Irish Game Fair, was equally
complimentary about the event stating " The event was reminiscent of the great
Irish Game Fairs the late John Beach and I staged at Shanes Castle in the
1990s, but it had that little bit extra in terms of attractions, layout , main
arena programme and of course attendance, especially on the Sunday. More
importantly still it brought the country sports message in a different fashion
to a larger and more diverse audience". He went on to say that he had been
working on a 2005 Land and Water Festival based on Lough Neagh and this would
now be combined with the Country Lifestyle Festival in 2005 to produce an even
However the crowds round the arena for the final jousting display demonstrated
more clearly than words ever could that in just two years the Country Lifestyle
Festival has clearly become a very major event in the Irish calender.