Golden game fair at Shanes Castle

Chef Emmett McCourt, Emma Cowan, oganiser of the Flavour Fine food festival at the Fair and Game Fair director Albert Titterington launch the Fair's 2012 theme of 'the year of the Salmon and Trout' INLT 26-607-CON

Chef Emmett McCourt, Emma Cowan, oganiser of the Flavour Fine food festival at the Fair and Game Fair director Albert Titterington launch the Fair's 2012 theme of 'the year of the Salmon and Trout' INLT 26-607-CON

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The Great Game Fairs of Ireland will be staging their 50th Irish Game Fair at Shanes Castle on July 7 and 8.

Albert Titterington and a group of enthusiasts staged the first ever sustainable Game Fair in Ireland 34 years ago and now Shanes Castle’s Irish Game Fair and Country Lifestyle Festival marks their ‘golden’ event in an unrivalled run of top quality events.

Looking back at the record breaking history of the fairs, Albert Titterington said that the Irish Game Fair and Country Lifestyle Festival at Shanes Castle, was always the leading spectacle for families and country lifestyle enthusiasts. And 2012’s event would be the very best so far.

He said: “Our game fairs showcase country pastimes, conservation and the rural way of life. Every year we introduce new attractions, competitions and themes and this year is no exception being the ‘Year of the salmon and trout.’ And this fishy theme is the focal point for the huge angling village with everything one would expect at a top class angling show and more. Masses of tackle and plenty of bargains, boats, angling competitions, instruction and demonstrations, vintage tackle, fisheries, sporting art, taxidermy, and even speciality game and fish cookery with Emmett McCourt in the Flogas kitchen. Plus of course John R. Moore displaying his iconic painting of Salmon on the Glendun River and other paintings.”

Other traditional country pastimes such as shooting, hunting and working gundogs take pride of place too, with bigger and better competitions and displays and even more to see and do for everyone. There’s a huge gunmaker’s row with displays of both modern and vintage weapons and even a product launch by Fabarm, clay pigeon shooting, black powder demonstrations, international equestrian displays, dog agility, horses, hounds and birds of prey with Main Arena entertainment to suit all ages.

Albert said: “Attractions for the family include fine food, art, crafts, fantastic action-packed main arena programmes, a huge range of animals and opportunities to ‘have a go. But it’s ‘re-enactment’ that the kids will really go for with riflemen demonstrating the way that battles were won or lost in an age when a soldier’s life depended on a musket ball and his own skills. As well you can mingle with these soldiers in their camp, so realistic you’ll expect to meet the legendary Sharpe himself as his sharpshooters go about their daily tasks. For those with an interest in more gentle living history you may well have the opportunity to join a stylish Georgian tea party”

The event also will be staging the largest canine events in Ireland, including the 25th anniversary of the All Ireland Terrier & Lurcher Championships, the Master McGrath Challenge and new Novice Lurcher Challenge. Meanwhile, for gundog enthusiasts Shanes Castle hosts the Feedwell International Retriever Test.

The Shanes Castle shoot this year also hosts qualifiers for Birr and qualifiers and the final of the Barbour Novice Game Fair Championships. A new competition is the BASC/Irish Countrysports and Country Life Wildfowlers Challenge.

The stand count for Shanes is much higher than at this time last year and is expected to be the largest ever. Apart from the much larger Angling Villages and Gunmakers Rows, all the ‘old favourite’ clothing companies are there plus some new ones.

The new Flavour Food Festival brings together an eclectic mix of producers from the region, allowing visitors to sample and buy some of the finest food and drink available in Ireland. From handmade preserves and local whiskey including the newly launched Titanic Whiskey, to artisan breads and fine wines. Other attractions for the family include fine food, art, crafts, a fantastic action-packed main arena programme, a huge range of animals and opportunities to ‘have a go’ plus the Living history Villages.

More details at www.irishgamefair.com