Birr castle’s ‘epic’ blockbuster game fair

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It’s Lights, Camera, Action all the way as Ireland’s Number 1 Game Fair rolls into Birr to create a show of epic proportions on 23rd and 24th August. No wonder the working title for this blockbuster event is ‘Birr’s Epic August Game Fair.’

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

And with this ‘scene stealing’ country-based production in prospect, everyone who comes along is sure of a fabulous day out at the blockbusting Irish Game & Country Fair in the historic setting of historic Birr Castle.

For the very first time in this country, direct from the UK, there’s medieval jousting with the stunning 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’s the Viking Village under the battlements of the castle.

The Viking theme has a resonance in Birr as it’s thought that Birr monastery was attacked by Vikings in 841AD. 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. Then ‘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 Shanes Castle Game Fair, will also make an appearance.

Director Albert Titterington says, that apart from the huge number of family attractions, as the Fair is organised by country sports enthusiasts, there’s a 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 fantastic Mausers and Blasers at up to €22,000 on the Lakeland Shooting Centre stand. Anglers will also 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 drinks to try and buy, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. From falconry to ferrets, international gun dogs to flycasting, not to mention the scintillating cowboy-style Cochise horses and the Victorian Poacher trying to outsmart gamekeeper ‘fast hands’ Eddie in a fulfilled escapade, it might take two days to really see everything,” said Albert Titterington.

Visitors have access to not only the attractions of Ireland’s top Game Fair, but also the magnificent ‘in situ’ attractions of Birr Castle’s world famous gardens, the giant telescope, refurbished Science Centre and the largest tree house in Ireland – the grounds are ideal for children of all ages who like to explore and figure out how things work and anyone who comes along will have a day out to remember.

You’ll have the best opportunity for browsing and buying with an even bigger trade stand village. And we can promise the sportsman or woman the best display of guns, tackle and clothing at the best prices to be seen in Ireland this year.

Albert Titterington also announced that the record total for competition prize fund had reached: “The overall competition prize structure has reached c €25,000 a really staggering total with local gundealers playing their part in making the Birr Fair a real country sports event as well as a fabulous family extravaganza.”

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 (Brixia shotgun on Saturday and ATA Shotgun on Sunday) with handsome cash and accessory prizes for the runners up. AND anyone who enters this competition will go into a draw for a handsome Caesar Guerini Automatic shotgun worth €1400.

The ‘Cock and Hen’ Pool Trap where anyone shooter can have a bit of fun has excellent prizes and again all shooters here go into the draw ( drawn on Sunday night) for a great value Sulmi Shotgun worth just under €1,000. Other clay pigeon competitions include a two man flush and an extreme distance clay target.

Albert Titterington added that while the Game Fair at Birr is famed for its clay shooting competitions and prizes, all other country sports competitions have equally attractive prize structures.

Gundog competitions include novice and open tests for spaniels and retrievers and international team competitions featuring ROI, NI and Welsh teams.

Terriers and lurchers also have a real international focus with the two Red Mills Five Nations International Championships for Terriers, whippets and Lurchers. The cream of Irish terriers whippets, and lurchers will grace the main arena at 5.00pm for terriers and 5.30 for Lurchers to be judged under a three judge system for a prize fund for each competition of not far short of €1,000. Judging in Birr’s ROI championships will start at 12.30 after the Mourne Digging Championship Final taking place at 12.00 noon. Racing sponsored by Countryside Alliance Ireland will take place on the Saturday at 12.00 noon sharp.

This year, Ireland’s main sporting organisations have greatly increased their presence at the fair with the NARGC, FISSTA, Countriside Alliance Ireland (CAI), IFA Countryside all mounting sensational exhibits and really getting involved in the public and sporting activities.

The National association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC) pavilion is simply teeming with activities including meat handling, game cookery, laser shooting, fly tying; childrens’corner etc and the NARGC have teamed up with Dog Guru Keith Mathews just returned from a hugely successful teaching tour in Scandanavia in a unique public dog training arena event with prizes each day for the best child, lady and gentleman handler.

Countryside Alliance Ireland have also got involved in a wide range of country side activities ranging from sponsoring the lurcher racing to sponsoring the All Ireland Stickmaking Championships. CAI will also have a wide range of fascinating sporting displays on their stand.

The Federation of Irish Salmon and Sea Trout Anglers (FISSTA) stand will take pride of place in the Salmon & Woodcock Pavilion together with a number of other campaigning organisations, sporting artists , taxidermist and fishing & shooting providers. FISSTA will also host a main arena display featuring their Youth programme. The threat to our salmon stocks from the proposed fish farms is a focal point for the huge ‘Angling Village’ at Birr.

The Association of Professional Game Angling Instructors Ireland (APGAII) will run continuous workshops for casting and equipment and fly dressing they’ll cover the hot topics of today’s game angling scene.

The Irish Working Terrier Federation’s will be on hand with their vital working terrier service for the benefit of the farming and mainstream hunting communities. With nonstop action packed Main Arena programme running from 10.00 to 6.00 each day, the best country sports competitions on the island of Ireland, masses of trade stands to browse, lots of have-a-go activities and the magnificent setting of Birr Castle Demesne with its own unique attractions it is no wonder the Birr event is hailed as the Ireland’s No1 Game Fair.

The Fair is open to the public from 10.00 – 6.00pm each day on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th August. Admission Adult €15 Child €5 Family €35 Programme & Parking Free.

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