The ‘golden’ Game Fair
THE Great Game Fairs of Ireland stage their 50th Irish Game Fair - their ‘Golden’ Game Fair - at Shane’s Castle next month.
Albert Titterington and a group of enthusiasts staged the first ever sustainable Game Fair in Ireland 34 years ago and now Shane’s Castle’s Irish Game Fair and Country Lifestyle Festival on July 7 and 8 marks their 50th game fair in an unrivalled run of top quality events.
It will be a ‘golden anniversary’ like no other and the organisers are already cock a hoop the way that plans are shaping up to offer the public the most exciting game fair ever seen in Ireland.
Looking back at the record breaking history of the Fairs, Albert Titterington said that the Irish Game Fair & Country Lifestyle Festival at Shanes Castle, Antrim was always the leading spectacle for families and country lifestyle enthusiasts. And 2012’s event would be the very best so far.
Albert said: “Our Game Fairs showcase country pastimes, conservation and the rural way of life. Every year we introduce new attractions, competitions and themes and this year is no exception being the ‘Year of the Salmon & Trout’.
“And this fishy theme is the focal point for the huge Angling Village with everything one would expect at a top class angling show and more! Masses of tackle and plenty of bargains, boats, angling competitions, instruction and demonstrations, vintage tackle, fisheries, sporting art, taxidermy, and even speciality game and fish cookery with Emmett McCourt in the Flogas kitchen. Plus of course John R Moore displaying his iconic painting of ‘Salmon on the Glendun River’ and other paintings.”
Other traditional country pastimes such as shooting, hunting and working gundogs take pride of place too, with bigger and better competitions and displays and even more to see and do for everyone.
There’s a huge gunmaker’s row with displays of both modern and vintage weapons and even a product launch by Fabarm, clay pigeon shooting, black powder demonstrations, international equestrian displays, dog agility, horses, hounds and birds of prey with Main Arena entertainment to suit all ages.
Albert said: “The Fair has always sought to educate and entertain the whole family and at Shane’s, the sporting organisations have a focus on youth, living history areas emphasise the development of our history and culture, while conservation areas stress the importance of looking after our countryside. Other attractions for the family include fine food, art, crafts, fantastic action-packed main arena programmes, a huge range of animals and opportunities to ‘have a go. But it’s ‘re-enactment’ that the kids will really go for with riflemen demonstrating the way that battles were won or lost in an age when a soldier’s life depended on a musket ball and his own skills. As well you can mingle with these soldiers in their camp, so realistic you’ll expect to meet the legendary Sharpe himself as his sharpshooters go about their daily tasks. For those with an interest in more gentle living history you may well have the opportunity to join a stylish Georgian Tea Party.”
As for competitions and prize structures – the Great Game Fairs of Ireland have the best competitions and the best prize structure in Ireland – simply because as Albert says: “Unlike other events we believe in putting real investment back into our country sports.” Birr hosts the All Ireland Game Fair Championships in clay shooting, flycasting and gundog handling - this year Shane’s hosts the Barbour Novice Championship Finals and heats for the All-comers Championships at Birr.”
On display in the main arena will be the CLA Gundog team part sponsored by the Great Game Fairs of Ireland and there will be a strong array of supporting events including the Red Mills Novice & Open Spaniel Tests; and the Feedwell Dog & Gun team and individual events; Novice and Retriever open tests.
Red Mills and Dubarry Boots have teamed up to sponsor a head to head test between the Top Spaniel and the Top Retriever at Shane’s.
When one adds in a dog agility competition and main arena displays sponsored by Irish Countrysports and Country Life magazine; the appearance of the one and only Dog Guru Keith Mathews; horse & hounds; and the Chudley’s pedigree dog show organised by the NIGFSS including a special class which should see up to 20 Irish Wolfhounds create the imagery associated with the legendary Massereene Hound, one can see that the events which lead the way in terms of canine splendour and variety and international status are those organised by the Great Game Fairs of Ireland.
The Shane’s Castle shoot this year also hosts qualifiers for Birr and qualifiers and the final of the Barbour Novice Game Fair Championships. The overall shoot also has a superb prize fund with a Beretta 682 as top prize; a Bettinsoli shotgun sponsored by Donal McCloy Guns Unlimited and other excellent quality prizes including cash. BASC have kindly put up a £50 prize each day for the top score in the Side by Side competition.
The stand count for Shane’s is much higher than at this time last year and is expected to be the largest ever. Apart from the much larger Angling Villages and Gunmakers Rows, all the ‘old favourite’ clothing companies are there plus some new ones. Paul Morgan will be at Shanes with his fine range of sporting books as will the launch of a new 4 x 4 vehicle. In short if you want to buy anything for the family to enjoy ‘the country lifestyle’ you will find it, often at bargain prices, in the trade village at the two fairs.
The new Flavour Food Festival is yet another innovation, enhancing the normal food and craft displays. Albert added: “Following on from the successful partnership with Flavour magazine at Ballywalter Game Fair in mounting what many described as the best food festival ever seen at any game or country fair, the two teams have combined to put on three huge food pavilions at Shane’s Castle.”
Other attractions for the family include fine food, art, crafts, a fantastic action-packed main arena programme, a huge range of animals and opportunities to ‘have a go’ plus of course our Living history Villages.
The organisers will have some other exciting developments to announce shortly but if you want to be part of Irish Countrysports History – don’t miss the ‘Golden Anniversary’ Fair at Shane’s Castle on July 7 and 8 see www.irishgamefair.com
The Fairs are supported by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Antrim Borough Council, Shannon Development and Failte Ireland.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Antrim
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 8 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: South