Another great Iverk Show (founded in 1826) was held at the showgrounds in Piltown on Saturday last and despite the weather being dull in the morning, visitor numbers proved similar to last year.
The show has expanded in recent years, covering a greater number of events and this has attracted more crowds and media interest.
RTE’s ‘Countrywide’ programme reported from the grounds on Saturday morning and TV crews were also on site from both RTE and Irish TV.
The show is the biggest agricultural show in the south east and attracts a major attendance from the five counties and beyond.
There were great entries in cattle, home crafts and poultry, ensuring that the key areas were as popular as ever.
There was big trade interest with trade stand space selling out, surely a sign of improving economic times. Sponsorship opportunities were also heavily in demand, with many new sponsors on board across all areas.
The garden section and poultry area were busy and music was performed on stage throughout the day. Anne Marie Power did a great job when it came to the Iverk Fashion show, and her tent was full with over 200 watching the shows with local models performing, both male and female, exhibiting wear from local shops.
The food tent was also busy, as well as the arts and crafts, where schools competed for the Munster Express post primary school craft event.
Over at the cattle section, Iverk Show stalwart Joe Malone was delighted with the quality of entries, while the number of entries was up on last year.
There was a late rush to get animals to Piltown. We saw one Charolais winner from Tipperary, where the animal was purchased in France just a few months before for a considerable sum of €11,000 and won the Irish Life sponsored Walsh trophy event.
Joe remarked how some animals were even more valuable exhibiting in the various cattle events.
There were good numbers in the horse events also.
The tug of war was won by Carrickshock defeating Mooncoin GAA for an event that was and this was well compered by Bachelors in Trouble star Tony Coffey.
The Munster Express had a stand, with our weekend stay competition at Dooley’s Hotel proving very popular – and many thanks to Amy Moran of Cupcake Couture for providing beautiful Munster Express cupcakes, which also went down well.
Over at the poultry section, there was great interest with many different types on display at the show.
We met one woman who had eight small chickens at €15 euro apiece, which were later brought away in boxes.
Various speakers at the opening paid tribute to the work of the 250 volunteers who made show day possible, among them the 60-strong committee that plan in advance of the event under new chairman, Robert Dowley.
Chairman of the Dáil Public Accounts Committee, Carlow Kilkenny TD John McGuinness (FF) was the guest speaker to open the show.
He noted the great level of volunteering and noted the work of John Burke in the trade stand area and Breda McDonald, for her butter making and community work in Mullinavat.
The late Noel Power from Fiddown was also noted for his community work, while suffering from a life threatening disease.
Deputy McGuiness referred to the show succeeding despite wars and troubles. Now there are new challenges like milk prices, beef exports and equestrian issues in foreign markets.
Farm families need support and a plan needs to be set out for rural Ireland in the event of falling business.
The message was to keep rural Ireland vibrant – a note echoed by the IFA President Eddie Downey and former chairman Wattie Walsh. We need to show there is a future for the towns and village and their voice needs to be heard.
Robert Dowley, in reply, supported this point and said that the countryside and “real Ireland” will survive.
Minister for Rural Affairs and Economic Development, Ann Phelan (Lab), has been working closely with local communities around Ireland and notices the ‘Can Do’ spirit and attitude. This will create sustainable jobs and enterprise.
The agri food sector would deliver on this point. Artisan food businesses are growing. It was also noted that the Inistioge post office would be retained in a new five-year contract.
Fine Gael TD and Public Accounts Committee member, John Paul Phelan noted that the show united the counties of Kilkenny ,Waterford and Tipperary.
Kilkenny Council Chairwoman Mary Hilda Kavanagh said there were “no losers at the show” as she exhorted people to fill their bags, buying food and goods.
Declan Rice of Kilkenny Leader Partnership noted their support and also their new membership campaign launch and how Iverk Show and Kilkenny Leader are both community led.
IFA President Eddie Downey also referred to the great spirit of volunteerism in farming communities.
Farming helped Ireland recover from the financial crash, he added.
It proved to be an excellent day in a week that Glanbia announced extra profits from food exports.
We tried their new protein milk product developed from whey and milk and used by hurlers, athletes and other sportspeople.
Over 80 foreign visitors made it to the show from as far afield as Japan, China, Australia, Mexico, Hungary, Philippines, Poland, Germany, Spain UK and Canada. One man, Pat Ryan has been coming here from San Francisco since the 1930s, proof of the Iverk Show’s enduring popularity.
Pictures from this event can be seen in The Iverk Show 2015 Photo Gallery