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Dominick Geraghty from Co Meath at Spancilhill Horse Fair. Photographs by Eugene McCafferty

All the fun of the fair at Spancilhill

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HORSE buyers, sellers and visitors from all over the world descended on the cross of Spancilhill on Friday last (June 23) to partake a tradition 400-year tradition that was recently included in Irelands National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

A huge turnout – believed to be as large as ever seen at the venue – meant there was plenty of trading done, with big prices being mentioned for some of the classiest animals on show.

Well-known horse dealers – such as Ned Cash and Jim Derwin – were busy buying ponies and cobs as were many others in what was described as a brisk trade”

In recent years, showing classes have been added to the bill of fare and these proved very popular. The standard in these classes was exceptionally high, with strong numbers and some beautiful animals on view.

MC, Pat Hannon, gave a very informative commentary on proceedings, while local men Jimmy Flynn, John Lynch and Grand National-winning jockey Jason Titley performed their judging duties with aplomb.

Later in the afternoon, the dulcet tones of local singer PJ Murrihy accompanied by Séamus Shannon kept people entertained as they perused the very many stalls and attractions on offer.

Overall, the day was a huge success with the assistance of Ennis Gardai, Clare County Council, local landowners – who provided car parking facilities – and a host of volunteers all contributing handsomely to what was a smoothly-run event.

Committee members won’t spend too long sitting on their laurels however, as thoughts are already turning to Spancilhill Fair 2024, which, in a slight departure from tradition, take place on Monday, June 24.


Best Coloured Class:

1. Daniel Moloney, Roscrea, County Tipperary.

2. Jack Griffin, Caherea, Ennis.

3. Peter McCarren, County Monaghan.

Best Pony Under 148 CMS:

1. Jack Griffin, Caherea, Ennis.

2. Pa Crawford, Ennistymon.

3. Mikey OConnor, Liscarrol, County Cork.

Best Connemara Pony:

1. Emer Leamy, Cork.

2. Liinnea Parker, Doora, Ennis.

3. Carol ODonnell, Galway.

Best Registered Connemara Pony

1. Sarah Carey, Doolin.

2. Dylan OConnor, Liscaroll, County Cork.

3. Miriam ODonnell, Gowran, County Kilkenny.

Champion Of The Fair 2023 (Eileen Hassett Memorial Trophy):

Daniel Moloney, Roscrea, County Tipperary.

Reserve Champion:

Jack Griffin, Caherea, Ennis.

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