Putting agri at the heart of fair

Ellie Kane get ready to take their hrese to the Auld Lammas Fair. PICTURE STEVEN MCAULEY/MCAULEUY MULTIMEDIA
Ellie Kane get ready to take their hrese to the Auld Lammas Fair. PICTURE STEVEN MCAULEY/MCAULEUY MULTIMEDIA

There will be an enhanced agricultural theme at this year’s Auld Lammas Fair in Ballycastle.

Ireland’s oldest fair has a connection to horse trading dating back hundreds of years and Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council wants to build on this tradition.

Since the 17th century, horse traders have flocked to Fairhill Street in the centre of the seaside town to buy and sell animals, and they’ll return to the area again this year on Monday, August 28, and Tuesday, August, 29, continuing the fair’s unbroken history.

Alongside the horse trading, a range of other attractions will be available over both days. These include a mobile farm, which will be housed inside the former Council depot. Alpacas, goats and sheep will be on display along with rabbits, guinea pigs, ducks and chickens. Or for something a little more exotic, there will be a snake, a bearded dragon and meerkats.

In a new partnership with the council, Coleraine-based charity, Riding for the Disabled, will provide pony and trap rides, along with pony rides for children, in return for a small donation. They’ll be bringing a wheel-chair accessible trap, allowing disabled visitors the opportunity to take part.

Over both days, look out for horse-shoe making displays and see a skilled farrier at work. Visitors will have an opportunity to take home a horse shoe made at the Fair as a unique memento of the event. And to add to the nostalgia, various vintage vehicles, including tractors, will be on display.

The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Joan Baird OBE, said: “Horse-trading has a long association with the Auld Lammas Fair, and I’m delighted to see these additional attractions are coming to Fairhill Street this year as we seek to build on the event’s agricultural appeal.

“I hope everyone visiting the Fair this year will enjoy what’s on offer, and we are looking forward to another memorable Fair.”

For the first time, this year’s Auld Lammas Fair programme will include a spectacular fireworks display, which will take place on Sunday night (August 27). On August 28th and August 29th, Ballycastle will be transformed into a town-wide market place, featuring hundreds of stalls, buskers, musicians, horse trading, and funfair attractions.

The weekend build-up also includes the traditional heavy horse show and vintage car and tractor parade on Saturday, with live music in the Diamond on Sunday night following the fireworks.

A small number of designated Council stalls are still available during the Fair. For more information telephone 028 2766 0216 or email environmentalhealth@causewaycoastandglens.gov.uk

For further details go to www.visitcausewaycoastandglens.com or follow Causeway Coast and Glens Events on Facebook.