The Kingdom County Fair, one of the longest-running agricultural shows in Ireland, returned to a two-day format this year. The event, which took place on May 6-7 at the Ballymacthomas showgrounds close to Tralee, Co. Kerry, attracted an estimated 4,000 visitors. The fair featured a range of showing classes for cattle, sheep, goats, horses, and ponies, with thousands of euros in prize money on offer. The event was a resounding success, and the organisers were delighted with the turnout.
James Tarrant, Chair of the organising committee of the Kingdom County Fair, expressed his satisfaction with the return to the two-day format. He said that the crowds on the second day of this year’s show were equivalent to the one-day event in 2022. Tarrant added that a new traffic plan, including an additional 10-12ac space for parking, ensured that visitors and exhibitors could access the site. He also said that the show provides a boost to the local economy, adding that a lot of what is spent hosting the event stays locally. Tarrant emphasised that the committee owning its showgrounds would be the key to the future success of the event.
The Kingdom County Fair featured an extended cattle showing programme on Sunday with classes for dairy, beef, and young handlers. The organisers were pleased with the entry of 100 cattle from 33 exhibitors, given that the Kingdom County Fair falls early in the show calendar. In the beef ring, judges Raymond and Veronica de Vere Hunt selected the Hereford heifer, Gouldingpoll 1 Ravette 1262, owned by Paul McGrath from Youghal in Co. Cork, as the Overall Supreme Champion. In the dairy ring, Laura Cornthwaite judged the exhibits and selected the winner of the senior cow class, Everground Hagley Gail 51, owned by Michael Laffan of Kilfinney, Adare, Co. Limerick, as her overall supreme dairy champion. Several animals from the Iveragh Droimeann cattle herd in Killorglin were on display at the show. The native Irish breed attracted much interest from the public, and the judges were impressed by the animal’s markings, docility, and overall appearance.
The Kingdom County Fair also featured a selection of classes for sheep and goat exhibitors. The sheep classes included Scotch, Texel, and Charollais. The event was also a major attraction for the display of agricultural machinery, with a multitude of trade stands exhibiting the latest technology available to farmers, including tractors, mowers, and slurry spreading equipment. One of the most popular machines with both young and old was the Vervaet Hydro Trike with a slurry disc injection system, which was brought to the show by O’Mahony Machinery Hire in Castleisland. There was also an impressive vintage display, including tractors, jeeps, cars, and a working threshing machine.
The Kingdom County Fair is not just about agriculture; it is a family-friendly event with entertainment for all ages. The fair included a dog show, an arts and crafts section, live music, and Irish dancing. Showjumping took place on both days, while the competitive in-hand and ridden showing for horses and ponies was held on Saturday. The Kingdom County Fair is a celebration of Irish culture, heritage, and agriculture, and it is an event that should not be missed.