Castlewellan Show: Jewel in crown still sparkling

Rachel Elder with her reserve Zwart at Castlewellan Show
Rachel Elder with her reserve Zwart at Castlewellan Show

Castlewellan Show continues to be a jewel in the crown of local agriculture, attracting thousands of exhibitors and spectators from the island of Ireland and further afield.

Saturday’s 48th annual show was no exception, with visitors impressed by the spacious and idyllic forest park setting, and the itinerary which offered an array of activities and attractions for all ages.

Libby and David Wilson rounding up the sheep at Castlewellan Show

Libby and David Wilson rounding up the sheep at Castlewellan Show

Show secretary Jackie Fitzpatrick was delighted with the success of the one-day show. “The show is going from strength to strength, and entries this year are on a par with previous shows.

“Agriculture remains at the core of the event, with more than 4,000 entries catalogued in the equine, cattle, sheep, goat, pig and poultry classes. Several sections have welcomed increased interest, especially the school crafts which have 1,680 exhibits catalogued.”

Comber flock owner Diane Christie secured the Danske Bank inter-breed sheep championship with a Charollais ewe from her noted Lornbrook flock. Scottish judge Clarke Lamont awarded the reserve ribbons to a Beltex ewe from Kells-based breeder Elizabeth McAlllister. The Aiken family from Dromara won the second reserve title with a Border Leicester ram.

Cows with calves at foot dominated the inter-breed beef line-up judged by pedigree Simmental breeder and Lanark auctioneer David Lowry. Supreme overall champion was the four-year-old Charolais cow Wesley Glamourous exhibited by Albert and David Connolly from Ballynahinch.

Taking the reserve award was the four-year-old British Blonde cow Budore Garnet bred and exhibited by the father and son team of Paul and Eamon McGarry from Dundrod. The second reserve title went to Lowbarn Fotty, a five-year-old Limousin cow from Robert and Stephen Clyde’s 50-cow herd at Templepatrick.

Co Monaghan judge David Boyd awarded the dairy inter-breed plaudits to the Holstein cow Corringham Windbrook L Juice VG88, a second calver from David Simpson’s Damm herd based at Lisburn. Runner-up was the Holstein senior cow Inch Goldwyn Daphne 4th EX93 exhibited by Inch Genetics, Downpatrick.

Simmental exhibitor Thelma Gorman from Armagh was the lucky winner of £100 in a free prize draw for handlers taking part in the cattle parade.

Popular attractions included vintage tractors, archery, a dog agility display, a variety of rural pursuits, and the colourful and imaginative scarecrows competing in the family fun competition. The Johnny and Molly Show proved to be a crowd-puller, while the younger visitors enjoyed the pet show and amusements.

Ladies from the Lisburn branch of Save the Children were serving vintage-style afternoon tea, while a host of tasty treats were available in the gourmet food marquee.

Henrietta Hunter was the winner of the best dressed lady competition, with the award for the best dressed man going to Joseph Connolly.

The prize for the best trade stand was won by Moorfield Flowers based at Rathfriland. Top awards in the craft marquee went to Muddy Farm Models, and Felt Sheepish.