Phil Hogan to officially open 75th Virginia Agricultural Show

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The 75th Virginia Agricultural Show will be officially opened tomorrow (Wednesday, August 24) by EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan.

Now in its 75th year (the first show was held in 1942), its selfie sticks instead of push bikes, Euro instead of shillings and baseball caps instead of the tweed cap.

Virginia will be alive with all the sights and sounds associated with early autumn.

The show will be day for everyone, the serious business of over 470 classes gets underway alongside food markets, children’s amusements, trade stands, demonstrations and the hustle and bustle of a great day out.

In an Ireland of increased awareness of food traceability, Virginia Show allows you to meet the people who set the high standards of the Irish dairy, beef and sheep industries.

2015 Diageo Baileys Irish Champion Dairy Cow in association with Glanbia Ingredients Ireland Limited

The prestigious Diageo Baileys Irish Champion Dairy Cow Competition, which is sponsored by Diageo in association with its cream supplier, Glanbia Ingredients Ireland Limited, promises to be a real crowd-puller at this year’s show.

This year’s judge is looking for a combination of conformation and performance and the judge of this year’s final will be Kevin Wilson from Cumbria.

The competition consistently attracts top Holstein Friesian breeders from across the island of Ireland and has become known as the “All Ireland for Dairy Cows”.

Entrants will exhibit their finest pedigree cows in a battle for the top prize of €2,500 and a Reserve prize of €1,000.

Anyone wanting a sneak preview of these bovine beauties whilst they are being pampered and preened for the big parade, can head to the new show centre where the elite ‘Baileys cows’ will have exclusive use of the state-of-the-art livestock section.

Along with the cheque for €2,500, the winner selected will take home the illustrious Virginia Milk Products trophy.

In addition to the top prizes, there is a Best Heifer-in-Milk prize fund of €1,700. First place attracts a prize of €500, second place will be awarded €300, and €200 will go to third place. Also €100 will be awarded to entrants from 4th to 10th place inclusively.

Trophies will be presented for Highest Protein Content, Best EBI and Best Exhibitor-Bred Cow, there are also special awards for Best Protein and EBI emphasising important factors in milk production.

For further information contact Brendan Smyth on 087 2560952. Follow the conversation on Twitter @BaileysCow #IrishChampDairyCow2016.

Annual highlights in the cattle section

Gunne Carnaross Mart All-Ireland €2000, Male/Female Weanling Champion, is always has huge crowds looking on while the Liffey Meats €2000 Champion Beef Bullock never fails to claim some of the best beef bullocks in the country.

Glanbia Virginia, as well as being associated with the Diageo Baileys Cow, are sponsoring the €700 Friesian In-calf-Heifer.

Other highlights include the Lakeland Dairy Champion of the Show, Francie Brady Charolais Champion of the Show, A W Ennis Interbreed Champion of the Show, Lisgrey House Restaurant Commercial Champion, and both the North Eastern Simmental and Charolais Clubs will hold their Junior Championship Finals at Virginia.

Following on from last year’s success is the Univet Ireland Ltd and Virginia Show Commercial Heifer Championship for all non pedigree baby beef heifers with no permanent teeth on show day open to continental and non continental animals.

Dairy conference: Back by popular demand

With its huge triumph year after year, Virginia Show is inviting farmers from all over to the Virginia Show Dairy Conference.

This year’s conference will focus on Animal health and lameness. Speakers this year include Mike Magan, chairman, Animal Health Ireland, who will address the BVD eradication programme and the Johnes Programme as well as other national health issues.

Abigail Ryan from Teagasc based in Greenfield farm, Kilkenny, will speak on ways to prevent lameness on the dairy farm, offering practical cost effective tools to minimise lameness in the dairy cow.

EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Phil Hogan will also pop in to address European issues.

The 30th Liffey Meats €2,000 Champion Beef Bullock

The drawing power of Virginia Show as the number one venue for the exhibitors of top quality commercial cattle is once again borne out by the large number entering the Liffey Meats €2,000 Champion Beef Bullock Competition each year. Entries are confined to Beef Bullocks, any age.

This year celebrates 30 years of sponsorship by Liffey Meats and their contribution gives an added boost to their local show.

It provides an incentive for farmers to produce quality beef cattle necessary for the lucrative European Market where Liffey Meats exports to in order to get a higher price for the quality beef produced in this area.

Gunne Carnaross Mart €2,000 Champion Male/Female weanling Champions of the Show

Another competitive display of high quality animals is the competition to find the champion non-pedigree male and female weanling of the show. Sponsored by Gunne Carnaross Mart, who sales attract high quality stock from all over Ireland.

These classes are open to calves born in 2015. Maximum weight male is 430 kgs and female calf is 380 kgs.

North Eastern Charolais Club Championships

The North Eastern Charolais Club are holding the North Eastern Charolais Club Junior Championships at Virginia show this year.

There are five classes with €200 worth of prize money in each class. Exhibitors are limited to counties Cavan, Monaghan, Meath, Westmeath, Longford, Louth and Dublin.

North Eastern Club Simmental Championship

For Simmental cattle breeders there is plenty on offer with the highlight being the finals of the North East Simmental Championship. The wealth of top stock the length and breath of the north east area of the country are attracted to our east Cavan town for the Final. They will compete for the John Morton Memorial Cup.

Commercial champion of the Show is sponsored by Lisgrey House and will receive the Jack Love Cup while the A W Ennis Interbreed Champion will also be selected.

Novice and Young stockpersons

Virginia are delighted to have a qualifier competition for the YMA showmanship league final in both under 16 and aged 16-26 sections.

The young stockpersons finals in beef, sheep and dairy are always very popular events at Virginia Show.

Open to young people between the ages of 12 and 16 years, they are judged on their ability to prepare the animal for judging and general knowledge of the breed of the animal itself.

They are also examined on the animals’ nutritional requirements whilst being prepared, ability to handle and present the animal in the show ring and knowledge of the animal.

Virginia has also a unique Novice Competition and entrants can be any age, so long as they have not shown before.

Horses and ponies

Among the classes are Brood Mare, light and coloured horses, ridden hunter and cob, heavy horses, as well as classes for palomino horses and ponies, Welsh and Connemara as well as the miniature horses and donkeys.

There are cups and trophies for many classes with a new cup in memory of Wilkie Lyttle, former master steward of the horse section for the champion ridden hunter of the show.


There are dairy and beef classes for all cattle.

These include Holstein Friesians, crossbred classes, commercial classes and Continental, Shorthorns, Herefords, Angus, Charalois, Limousin, Salers, Simmentals, Belgian Blues, Aubrac and Blonde D’Aquitaine.

Other classes

There will be strong competition for sheep, including the Paddy Keoghan Perpetual Memorial Cup for pedigrees and the Hugh Faulkner Cup for crossbreds as well as classes for Suffolks, Texels, Charalois and Vendeen. There are also classes for goats, poultry, farm and garden produce, oats barley, turf, hay, grazing and maize.

Lifestyle showcases: Neven Maguire

Get early to the Virginia Show and claim a seat at the always popular food demonstrations. Use this opportunity to see celebrity chef Neven Maguire cooking up a storm with local produce.

This much admired chef has taken time out from recording in the RTE studios to make his annual visitation to Virginia.

Fleetwood All-Ireland Final Art Competition

The awards at the prestigious art final sponsored by Fleetwood Paints Ltd, local paint manufacturer are hugely sought after, Fleetwood Paints Ltd have kindly sponsored this prestigious event for the last four years and sponsored the equine section previously for many years before that.

This amateur arts competition depicts an agricultural or rural scene fitting for our fantastic surroundings today at the 75th Virginia Show.

Exhibitors qualifying from agricultural shows truly represent all four corners of the island of Ireland from Armagh to Wexford and from Galway to Dublin.

Virginia Show itself depicts a vibrant rural community developing to the show grounds.

Celebrating ICA

McEvoys Supervalu are once again sponsoring the ICA Guild Skills of the Year, focused on the theme The War Years, with guilds from Monaghan, Cavan and Meath, competing for the McEvoy Crystal Bowl, and prizemoney of €600.

Riverfront Bar and Restaurant afternoon tea for two competition

The home industries section of the show has The Riverfront Bar and Restaurant tea for two competition with qualifiers from around the region and this is kindly sponsored by the Riverfront Bar and Restaurant.

There are also classes for gluten free bread, cupcakes and biscuits. This year the bread and cakes exhibitors will compete once again for the Una McEnroe Perpetual Cup, kindly donated by Una, who has been a loyal exhibitor down through years.

Sheep shearing

Shearing is necessary for the health and happiness of your sheep, and even though it’s a dirty, sweaty, tiring job, it is also extremely rewarding. It’s important to know what you’re doing.

This year, visitors to Virginia Show will get to see just how it’s done at a special sheep shearing demonstration by All-Ireland Sheep Shearing Champion Oliver Daly.

Gig Rig

A staple at Virginia Show, gather round for the music and dance where you will be entertained by a host of musicians.

As well as this, artisan food markets and trade stands allow you to interact, ask questions and discuss what you need with those involved in all sorts of production.

Arts and crafts

If you are the green fingered type or your talents lies with a pencil or paintbrush then Virginia Show has got what you’re looking for: Fruit and flowers, home industries, craftwork, handwriting, short stories, poetry, paintings, photography, confined sections to active age groups and children are all catered for in the arts and crafts section.

Dog section

A dog agility show consisting of two semi-finals and a national final will take place in the arena.

Following from this, the ever popular dog show has grown from strength to strength and this year more space is being created for this ever popular list of classes. The Gain Dog Food All Ireland Championship and the All-Ireland Gun Dog Championship take place in Virginia and pets are not forgotten, there are numerous classes for dogs and furry pets.

Trade stands

This year’s waiting list is longer than ever with companies waiting to see if a space will become available for showcasing their product or service at Virginia.

With almost 200 trade stands booked in companies like O’Neills Sportswear, Farm & Plant Buyers Guide, Millwood Crafts all look forward to a busy day meeting consumer demand.

Children’s classes

This section takes up more and more space every year as children have the opportunity to showcase their art and craft skill not forgetting all the animal handlers out there.


It important not to forget the backbone of a show of this magnitude, without sponsorship the show couldn’t take place, so show organisers are very grateful for all donations big and small. Once again show organisers would appeal to businesses and individual concerns to join organisers and help fund the show.

In total over 470 classes for all livestock, farm and garden produce, home industries, arts and crafts, children classes, dog and pet show, so for a packed day of fun for all the family join us this year, enjoy the classes, stop at the trade stands, take part in the demonstrations or bring a group to Cavan.