N29S1PicOne of rural Waterford’s great annual traditions, the Dungarvan Agricultural Show, will celebrate its 100th staging at Ballygagin on Thursday, July 27th, and was launched before a boisterously good humoured Park Hotel audience on Wednesday last.
Last Thursday’s event was a double launch, as a book marking the show’s history, which dates back to 1913, was also ‘premiered’ at the Park. ‘The Show Story: 1913-2017’ represents fantastic value for €10 and is a wonderful memento of the show’s varied, intriguing and entertaining history.
In the book’s foreword, President Michael D Higgins extended his best wishes to all involved in organising the Show, describing its anniversary as “an impressive achievement, and testimony to the ability of the show to remain relevant in an ever-changing Ireland, whilst remaining strongly rooted in all that as best about our past”.
The President’s note concluded: “I congratulate you on this milestone anniversary, and wish you every success as the Dungarvan Agricultural Show continues to go from strength to strength.”
One of the chief refrains made at last Wednesday’s launch was the need to infuse younger blood into the show from a committee perspective, which, to be fair, has already demonstrated itself via the appointment of Michael Flynn as Secretary.
During a Q&A with launch MC and WLR ‘Farmview’ presenter Kieran O’Connor, Bonmahon native and former Waterford IFA Chair Harry Gray (who has been involved in the show for many years) stated: “What I would ask tonight is that all the young people that are here – and at home – that they could really get interested in our show in terms of committee work. There’s a lot of us involved in it who are pensioners now and we’re really won’t be able to do this work for too much longer so I hope that for the next 100 years of this great show, that we’ll manage to get our share of young people involved in helping out, and that’s the appeal I’d like to make tonight.”
Dungarvan Show President Nicky Connors, in fine fettle in his 91st year (who is interviewed in the special show book by former RTE journalist Frances Shanahan), admitted he was “amazed” by the fantastic turnout at the Park Hotel.
“The show doesn’t happen by magic; there’s a lot of work involved in putting it together so it’s great to see so many people turning out here for the launch of the show itself and the lovely book that’s the end product of many different peoples’ hard work,” he told this newspaper.
“We’ve always been trying to improve the show; I remember once upon a time we got a consultant down from the RDS to give us a few tips and he said that if the people are not interested and if people don’t work, then you won’t be able to run that show even if you’ve money to pay them. This is all about the local community. This is their show and they should feel as if they own it and work accordingly to look after it. And I feel we’ve done that, and to feel the enthusiasm and excitement here tonight really amazed me, and I hope that rubs on in terms of the committee and, with the greatest of respect to the rest of us, to lower the age profile and inject a bit of youth into it and draw from the great know-how we have here in our local community. The show is for everybody, from people in prams to people on crutches and we need to keep it going, so to have a night like this is marvellous.”
We’ll have more details of the show in pending editions, and many thanks to Secretary Michael Flynn for extending an invite to The Munster Express on Wednesday last.
* ‘The Show Story: 1913-2017’ is available for €10 from Readers Choice at Lower Main Street in Dungarvan and comes highly recommended!