Watch: Historical Ballyclare May Fair footage shows pageant in its heyday

Recently highlighted footage of Ballyclare May Fair from Northern Ireland Screen’s Digital Film Archive has got residents feeling nostalgic in what would have been the event’s 265th year.

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 10:12 am

The Northern Ireland Tourist Board clip from 1958 shows large crowds on Main Street for the traditional horse trading fair, hundreds of people on The Square for the amusements and stalls, as well as iconic traders like the McKeen Brothers ice cream van doing a roaring trade.

The fair was cancelled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and is not being staged this year, what would have been its 265th anniversary, due to the coronavirus.

Commenting on the nostalgic video, Michelle McGuigan (May Fair Committee), said: “It’s lovely to see the old footage of the fair in its heyday.

The fair is staged annually at the end of May. (Archive pic).

“The amount of people enjoying the atmosphere is astounding! It was back when Ballyclare was a thriving market town and businesses were certainly booming. It’s great to see the amusements in The Square, at the heart of the festivities too. This year would’ve been the 265th anniversary of the Ballyclare May Fair and if Covid hadn’t still been around, then the committee would’ve tried to put on a festival that would have had something for everyone.

“I hope that next year, funding will be made available for the fair, as it is currently the only event Ballyclare has and it would be such a shame if this historical event was no more.

“Fingers crossed that we can see the return of our Soapbox Derby, pet show and other fun family events that will encourage Ballyclare folk to enjoy ‘all the fun of the fair.”


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