Great success for very first Kilkeel Show to be held at old workhouse (1928)
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It noted: “The event was attended with a gratifying measure of success which augurs well for the future.”
Indeed, “the weather conditions were excellent, and there was large attendance, visitors coming from all parts of South Down”.
It was the first occasion that the show had been held at Kilkeel. In 1927 a sheep show had been organised and “it was so well supported that number gentlemen with the interests of agriculture at heart decided to form the association and organise a general livestock show”.
The project had been taken up enthusiastically, and the Earl of Kilmorey, DL, who was “always ready to support any cause which will benefit the people of Kilkeel and district”, and he became the patron of the association.
Mr W J Dobson was appointed president, and Mr Samuel Smyth, of the Ministry of Agriculture, who was largely responsible for the formation of the organisation, undertook the duties of secretary.
Meanwhile, “a representative committee” was formed, with Mr R Forsythe as the chairman, “and everyone connected with the event worked hard and willingly to ensure its success”.
The show, which was held in the old workhouse grounds, “which were very suitable for the purpose and afforded ample room for the judging rings, horse and cattle stalls, and the exhibits of agricultural machinery and appliances”. An excellent entry was received and the events were “witnessed several thousand persons”.
Meanwhile, the jumping enclosure was situated some distance away on the Manse Road.
“The committee had not at first intended arrange a jumping programme, and decided to do only one week before the show,” reported the News Letter.
There were sections for horses, cattle, sheep, and butter and eggs, and, including the horse jumping events, the entries totalled 375.
This figure was made up as follows: Horses, 89; cattle, 58; sheep, 73; butter, 30; eggs, 29; butter-making competition, horse jumping, &c., 76; and sheep dog trials, 6.
The News Letter's correspondent who attended the show in Kilkeel commented: “ The quality of the livestock exhibited was remarkably good, and a feature of the show was the display of two-year-old hunters.
“In the cattle section the dairy cows were particularly good, and very numerous. The parade of prize-winning animals took place through the town, headed the band the Balmoral Industrial School, which rendered selections in the show grounds, and subsequently in the jumping enclosure.”
Mr Smyth had the assistance of a large body of stewards, “and the admirable arrangements he had made worked without a hitch”.
The catering was carried out a number of ladies, Mrs Stanley Orr was charge, and was assisted Mrs Doyle, Mrs McGonigle, Mrs Coloughy, Mrs A Spiers, Mrs Holdsworth, Miss Lily Annett, Miss E Annett, Miss Irene Orr, Miss A Cunningham, Miss S Harper, Miss M Nicholson, Miss F Moffatt, and Miss B Nicholson.
The refreshment tent at the jumping enclosure and was managed by Mrs S Smyth, Mrs Berry, Miss Berry, and Miss McMullan.
The following were the judges: Horses, Messrs R J Hale, Banbridge; R J Finlay, Killinchy, and Robert Thompson, Killinchy. Cattle, Messrs Robert Thompson and R Wilson, Armagh. Sheep, Mr R L Wilson. Butter and eggs, Miss L Walters, Ballynahinch.
A number of cups and medals were presented on the day, they included, large silver medal; for the best colt gelding or filly suitable for agricultural purposes, which was won by F Houston, Killowen, Phyllis. Colclough-Sargent Cup, for best yearling or two-year-old likely to make hunter, won by A Martin, Banbridge. Large silver medal, for best colt, gelding, or filly, the progeny of the stallion Sanhedrin, won by L McClenahan, Rathfriland. Carey Challenge Cup, for the best dairy cow or heifer in show, won by Captain Hall, Narrowwater. Large silver medal for the best heifer in show, one or two-years-old, won by Captain Hall. Association Cup, for the best Blackfaced sheep exhibit show, male or female, won by John McCracken, Annalong. Hall Challenge Cup, for the best yearling, two-year-old or three-year-old, progeny the stallion Wildfellow, won by George Brown, Greenore. Quinn Challenge Cup, for the best butter in the show exhibited by a Mourne farmer, won by Miss Fitzpatrick, Moyadd. Special prize, for the best group of four Blackface sheep, the property of exhibitor any age or sex, won by John McCracken. Special prize, for the best gelding or mare two-years-old or upwards, suitable for farm work, won by D Wilson, Kilkeel with Polly.
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