25,000 euro prize fund at epic Birr Game Fair

Some sporting shooter at Birr Castle could win this Caesar Guerini shotgun sponsored by Francesco Morelli from Casale 200 Ltd, in Cashel, Co Tipperary.
Some sporting shooter at Birr Castle could win this Caesar Guerini shotgun sponsored by Francesco Morelli from Casale 200 Ltd, in Cashel, Co Tipperary.

It will be lights, camera, action all the way as Ireland’s No, 1 Game Fair rolls into Birr, Co Offaly, to create a show of epic proportions on August 23 and 24.

The international acts are booked, the competitions now have the biggest ever prize fund of around 25,000 euro and there will be more exhibitors and quality trade stands to provide the biggest and best game fair ever seen at Birr.

Everyone who goes along will be sure of a fabulous day out at the blockbusting Irish Game and Country Fair in the setting of historic Birr Castle.

For the first time in Ireland, direct from the UK, there will be medieval jousting with the Knights of the Damned. History brought to life with the clash of lance and sword on shields and the thunder of horses’ hooves.

Away from the thrills of battle there will be the Viking Village under the battlements of the castle. The Viking theme has a resonance in Birr as it is believed that Birr monastery was attacked by Vikings in 841 AD.

You can interact with the ‘Vikings’ from Living History Ireland in the village, watch their crafts, see them fight, and quiz them about life centuries ago.

You can ‘Have A Go’ at the archery stands in the walled garden with weapons of the period under the supervision of Cavan Instinctive Archery. It is also hoped that the longship which was such a feature of the Shane’s Castle Game Fair, will make an appearance.

Director Albert Titterington said: “Apart from the huge number of family attractions, as the Fair is organised by country sports enthusiasts, there will be particular focus this year on hunting, shooting, fishing, gundogs, and terriers, whippets and lurchers.

“As Ireland’s top Game Fair we have a record number of quality gun dealers exhibiting some really fabulous guns from great value ATA’s, mid range Caesar Guerinis to absolutely Mausers and Blasers at up to €22,000 on the Lakeland Shooting Centre stand.

“Anglers will be spoilt for choice with a huge range of products, as well as the chance to watch and learn from acknowledged experts including World Champion lady caster, Glenda Powell.

“With the international acts in the Main Arena, the record number of top quality trade stands and the Flavour Fine Food Festival’s fantastic array of artisan fine food and drinks to try and buy, there’s something for everyone to enjoy from falconry to ferrets, international gun dogs to flycasting and the cowboy-style Cochise horses and the Victorian Poacher trying to outsmart gamekeeper fast hands Eddie.”

Visitors will also have access to the magnificent ‘in situ’ attractions of Birr Castle’s world famous gardens, the giant telescope, refurbished Science Centre and the biggest tree house in Ireland.

Tom Kirwan, from Lakeland Shooting Centre in Tullamore, Francesco Morelli from Cashel and Brian Connaughton from Athlone have been joined by David Brennan from Ardee Sports and George Kelly from Millard Brows in Dublin to make the prize fund available at Birr for clay pigeon shooting one of the very best ever seen in Ireland.

The winner each day of the 50 bird sporting clay shoot will win a gun worth more than 1200 euro (Brixia shotgun on Saturday and ATA Shotgun on Sunday) with handsome cash and accessory prizes for the runners up. The names of everyone who enters this competition will go into a draw for a Caesar Guerini Automatic shotgun worth 1400 euro.

The ‘Cock and Hen’ pool trap where anyone shooting can have a bit of fun, has excellent prizes and again all shooters here go into the draw on Sunday night for a Sulmi Shotgun worth just under 1,000 euro. Other clay pigeon competitions include a two- man flush and an extreme distance clay target.

The fair will be open to the public from 10.00 – 6.00pm each day. Admission: Adult 15 euro, child 5 euro, family 35 euro. Programme and parking free.

For further details and to download a free programme for the fair visit: www.irishgameandcountryfair.com E: irishgamefair@btinternet.com or call 028 (048 from ROI) 44839167 /44615416

Meanwhile, the Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust in partnership with Ballymoney Borough Council, DCAL and NI Water is hosting a fun family angling event at Altnahinch dam, Loughguile, on Saturday August 23.

The event will run from 10am-4pm. Already a huge number of people of all ages have expressed an interest in taking part so it should be a great day out for everyone. A press release will be circulated immediately afterwards.

The event is being supported by NIEA, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Coleraine, Larne, Limavady borough councils, Moyle DC, NITB, HLF, NPP and RDP

At Craigmore, bright sunshine and torrential rain with thunder and lightning thrown in, brought the fish up and down at the weekend. Peter McIlwaine had 17 to 3lb on buzzers and dries.

Alan McDowell had 14 on mixed lures and John Bailey,18 to 5lb on buzzers and lures. Sandy Dorrian had 19 on the weed and Mervin Boyd and Harry Moffat, 18 on mixed lures.

Other catches were: Jim Irvine,11 to 4lb; Tommy Spence, 13; Keith Henry, 10 to 5lb, Tony Cooper, 10; Gary Graham, 14; Michael McWilliamson, 12; James Floyd, 10; Billy Todd, 11 to 6lb; Jim Surgeoner, eight; Jim Simpson and Paul Waring, nine; Laurence Long and Leslie Beggs, eight; James Harper,13; Paul Nicholl,14 to 6lb; John Smith, 13 including a tagged fish worth £25; Leslie Wilson,4lb, Hugh Adams, 4lb; Neil Kearney, brown trout and Ian Wilson, 4lb.

Craigmore will be open on Bank holiday Monday, August 25.

With the weather being so changeable, fishing at Murloc was challenging at times. But, by using the correct technique and putting on the right fly, sport can be second to none. Intermediate lines with lures, accounted for some good fishing. On the surface with floating lines the results were just as good, when using dry flies such as olive C.D.C, Hare’s ear and Shipman buzzers. Just below the surface emergers and epoxy buzzers worked well.

Phillip Rankin, Lisburn, had eight trout in two and Tony Kelly had eight on Shipman buzzers and hares ear. Arron Hamill, Belfast, had nine on emergers and epoxy buzzers.

Ahead of the Glorious Twelfth, Marks and Spencer has abandoned plans to sell red grouse meat in many of its stores following a controversy over how the birds were protected. The High Street chain had planned to sell the game in shops around the country after it was successfully trialled in two stores in west London.

But it has postponed the plans after ornithologists threatened to boycott the store over fears rare birds of prey were being killed in some parts of Great Britain, to protect the grouse ahead of hunting.

M&S became the first retailer to stock whole wild red grouse when it announced the game would go on sale in London for £10 in its flagship Kensington High Street and Marble Arch stores last August.

At the time, M&S’s Tom Harvey said: “Our customers are telling us they are keen to try more game as an alternative to traditional everyday meats.”

The Times reported that M&S has decided not to sell the meat until a code of conduct could be enforced with all of its suppliers.

The store’s Head of Agriculture told the paper 15 estates in North Yorkshire and the Scottish borders had agreed to comply with the new code and would supply the game once it had been independently verified that they are sticking to the rules.