Twenty six years ago a small number of committed enthusiastic people got together and the first ever Claregalway Agricultural Show was launched. The show was put together in a few weeks and since then it has grown into what it is today. The show has gone from strength to strength every year and although still run by a small dedicated committee it continues to improve each year. It is no longer a small show and is very well attended.
The first chairperson was Ray Halpin, Séamus O’Connell succeeded him, after that the late Paul Fleming, who was also one of the founder members and the present chairperson is Val Noone.
The early shows were all held in the local Community Centre and GAA grounds until the show needed a larger venue. The Duffy family in Rockwood was then approached and they very willingly gave full use of their facilities to the show committee. The show continues to be held in Duffys and it has proved to be an excellent venue. The committee is indebted to the Duffy family for the use of their facilities for the show every year.
This year the show is celebrating its 26th Anniversary. It will be held in Duffys Equestrian Centre in Rockwood, Claregalway on Sunday, August 24th this year. This year’s show has almost 250 classes in the following categories: Horses, Ponies, Sheep, Cattle, an impressive Dog Show, Fowl classes and a Pet Show. These classes all take place in the outdoor arenas.
In the indoor arena there are classes for Crafts, Art, Photography, Home Baking, Jam, Eggs, Flowers, Farm Produce and a large Children’s section.
During the day there will be lots of competitions taking place such as: Bonny Baby, Glamorous Granny, Best Dressed Lady, Junior Miss, Junior Mister, and Twins. The show grounds will be a hive of activity with trade stands, side shows and entertainment for children.
To keep it interesting and to attract new entrants, the show committee introduces something new to the show every year. This year it has added a Bay Mare Class in the Connemara Pony Classes and a Half Bred Mare Class in the Horse Section. It is anticipated that there will be great interest in these classes.
The Agility Class for dogs introduced to the show several years ago continues to attract great interest from dog owners and spectators alike. It’s a great spectacle—watching dogs being put through their paces, over the jumps and into the tunnels etc. The Donkey Derby is usually the grand finale of the day. It’s a real fun event and very enjoyable to watch. This year the prize money has been upped to €100 for first place, and it is expected the competition will be steep.
The show is affiliated to the Irish Shows Association and the Irish Pony Society.