Terrier and Lurcher Shows at the Great Game Fairs of Ireland

Details have been announced for Ireland's premier terrier and lurcher events - the All Ireland Terrier and Lurcher Championships at Shanes Castle in June and The Southern Irish Championship in Birr, Co Offaly in August.

And the organisers poured cold water on the mounting number of announcements claiming 'top' status at similar events.

Matt Lee, Secretary of the Mid Antrim Terrier and Lurcher Club (the Club is 25 years old this year and has always arranged the classes at the Fairs) said that no other event of this kind would offer anything like the prizes up for grabs at Shanes.

Matt said: "We have always had the premier event in Ireland - a fact recognised by enthusiasts countrywide. Quite simply, for 21 years, we've been the biggest event, with the largest prize fund, the best range of classes (10 terrier and 10 lurcher classes this year) and always employ internationally acclaimed judges. Importantly, we offer the ultimate goal for Irish enthusiasts - the 'All Ireland Championship' crown. Not only that, our events are run by people who have themselves won every top award in terriers and lurchers throughout the UK and Ireland.

"Enthusiasts know well that the All Ireland Terrier and Lurcher Championship at Shanes and Birr are the blue riband events - that's why year after year the public arrive in droves to watch, show, race and enjoy our canine spectacular. It's a one of a kind event, unsurpassed anywhere in Ireland. Always has been and, in my opinion, always will be the top choice for terriers and lurchers."

In this, the 21st All Ireland Annual Championships at Shanes Castle sponsored by Barbour, Irish Countrysports and Country Life magazine and Feedwell, the event's prize fund tops £1400 and there will be a top of the range Barbour coat worth approx. £400 for the Champion to take home along with the premier trophy. And this year, the top terrier, lurcher and whippet will all compete for the overall Champion accolade. Again another innovation from the organisers.

Starting at 1.00pm each day, Shanes Castle will see the racing held on Saturday 27 June, with showing held next day, Sunday. Two of the most highly regarded judges, Neil Stobbart, Co Durham and Michael Ellard, both household names in the doggie world, will be there to select from the dogs all vying for the coveted All Ireland Championship crown.

The Judges are widely regarded as the doyens of the terrier and lurcher world. Neil Stobbart has bred Lakelands for over 30 years, and many of the top progeny are here in Ireland. He has won every major show in the UK and has also judged the top shows across the water. Michael Ellard has an enviable reputation as a lurcher judge and exponent and will be making his Irish debut at Shanes Castle, where enthusiasts will be able to see this top judge in action. One thing is certain: to win under the eyes of these scrupulously fair judges will mean that a winner really does have a dog that is very special indeed!

Apart from the shows, the racing will have classes for lurchers under 23 ins. and over 23 ins , whippets, and - always a crowd pleaser - the terriers.

There is a special discount for terrier and lurcher enthusiasts coming along on both Saturday and Sunday tickets for both days for the price of one and anyone interested should contact Albert Titterington on 028 44839167 for tickets. This offer remains open until the 14th June. Again this is something unmatched at other shows in Ireland.

The second largest Irish Terrier and Lurcher Show is at Birr Castle, Co Offaly on the 22nd&23rd August 2009

Similar ticket arrangements apply.

Both of these Great Game Fairs of Ireland are being televised by www.countrychannel.tv and unlike other Irish shows Terriers & Lurchers are part of the show including main arena demos not hidden away in a back field!