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At the launch of the 76th Scariff Show which is back in action after missing two years with Covid restrictions were; Paddy Gibbons, Paddy Doyle, Rebecca Doyle, Seamus Bane, John Joe Bolton, Elizabeth Kenny, on fence, Emma and Laura Andrews, on Holly and Molly, John Blake, Des Hassett and Tracey Doyle with Leah Mc Inerney and Patricia Bolton with Pepper, her dog, at Front. Photograph by John Kelly

‘Back to Basics’ as Scariff Show makes a welcome return

SCARIFF Bay Community Radio will broadcast live from the local agricultural show, which makes a welcome return to the Autumn events calendar on Saturday, September 3. 

The station’s popular ‘Saturday Chronicle’ will provide a flavour of the wealth of activities on offer as Scariff Show returns for the first time since 2019. This year’s theme is ‘Back to Basics’ with the focus firmly on friends, family and community as the show marks its 76th annual event. 

Previewing the show, which was first held in 1944, Co-Chairperson John Blake noted the impressive credentials of the event, particularly its equestrian element.

“In the old days, jumping was quite big in Scariff. In the old days, some of the biggest names in showjumping, Con Power, Jack Doyle, James Kernan and a lot of the Army riders, including Tommy Wade from Dundrum, all jumped in Scariff,” the told the station.

“We have two Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) League qualifiers in the 1 metre 10 and 1 metre 25. We have quite a good showing competition with 11 showing classes, with two with €1,000 in them. I have two studs – Coolballyshan in Adare and John Flynn, from Killaloe, who runs a stud in Toomevara. They have both kindly put up a lot of money for us. The Coolballyshan is an amalgamation class.

“The mare and foal will be judged as a unit: 50% for the mare and 50% for the foal. The John Flynn Class will be judged as The Best Mare of the Show with or without a foal at foot. Also, our Colt Foal Class and our Filly Foal Class, Gorsebridge Horse Sales – probably the premier equine showjumping sales company in the country have given us free entry for the winner of both classes, if they wish to go.”

With the show’s other Co-Chairperson, John Joe Bolton of Derrymore Stud, being a specialist in Connemara ponies, it is no surprise that the breed is a major feature of Scariff Show.

“Connemaras are a big thing in Scariff,” John Blake noted. “There are a lot of Connemara classes, around 17.”

There is also an opportunity for all local pony owners to compete. “We have put on two Local Pony classes,” John added. “We are running a class for every local pony, to be led by a child under 16. Hopefully, we’ll get many entries. We have a prize fund for it. Every child that’ll come, whether they’re successful or not, will get a rosette. We’re also running another local pony class for a brood mare. That’s for anyone who wants to come in and meet friends and enjoy their day. 

There’s pony jumping and horse jumping too.”

Dog owners and lovers have lots to look forward to at Scariff Show. Tracey Doyle, Secretary of Scariff Show, promised plenty of opportunities for every canine. “We have a dog show with over 20 classes,” Tracy explained. “We had great crack coming up with the classes for this, so everybody out there with a dog with a waggly tail, bring it along, because that’s a class – The Dog with the Waggliest Tail’. 

A hugely-anticipated new element in Scariff Show this year is ‘Kids’ Town’, with lots of activities for kids of every age, including a mobile pet farm and penalty shoot-outs. “For this year, we’re calling it Kids’ Town,” Tracey explained. “Kids of all ages will have something to do. We’re having a mini-digger where for €2, you can come and hook a duck – not an actual duck. We are going to create a maze out of bales and kids can come in. They can go around on little tractors. There’s no charge for those things. You pay coming in the gate. Other than the mini-digger, there’s no charge.”

As always, there will be competitions in the indoor section of the show, including in cooking, art and photography.

“Our theme is Back to Basics,” Tracey explained. “We’re trying to create a show from a long time ago. Especially after the last two years where we had to be apart and we couldn’t talk to each other or come together. Back to Basics is a community, family event.”

With lots of work still to be done to get the show on the road for 2022, the committee is also actively looking for volunteers to help out. 

“We’re a small committee of half a dozen, it’s a lot of hard work and dedication,” John noted, thanking local groups for their support. “It’s a community event. this is its 76th year and we’d like to keep it going.”

“Shows don’t happen on their own,” Tracey agreed. “Not everybody wants to be on a committee, but if there were people to help out, we’d be delighted. You’d be amazed all the work that needs to get done to get a show field ready.”

Hopes are also high that one staunch supporter of Scariff Show, its president, Mickey Farrell will attend. “It will be the 76th he will have been at,” John said. “He has never missed one.” 

Saturday Chronicle with Marie McNamara and Trish Nugent will be live from the Scariff Show on Saturday, September 3 from 10am. 

Full details of this year’s show are available online at scariffshowsociety.com

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