SPANCILHILL International Horse Fair is to be recognised at the highest level for its contribution to Ireland’s cultural heritage.
Minister Catherine Martin announced that the renowned fair is to be among eight practices to be added to the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Theo other activities are Beekeeping, Clones Crochet Lace Making, Headford Lace Making, Irish Traditional Travelling Circus and Funfair, Lá an Dreoilín/Wren Day, Native Irish Cattle Breeding, and Traditional Seine Boat Building, Fishing and Racing.
Speaking on behalf of the Spancilhill Fair Association, Michael Duggan said there is great local pride in the horse fair.
“I am delighted that the Tradition of the Spancilhill International Horse Fair will be included as part of the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage,” he said. “I want to thank the Minister that she saw fit to include this tradition that is over 400 years old as part of the recognised cultural heritage of Ireland. We are very proud of the fair, it brings people from all over Ireland and from other countries.”
Minister Martin, whose portfolio covers Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, said: “These eight living cultural heritage practices require knowledge and skill, and foster our sense of community and place. These practices thrive through the dedicated communities who sustain and pass on their skills and way of life to succeeding generations ensuring the continuance of these important traditions. Official State recognition and inscription onto the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural will raise awareness of these practices and traditions.”
The development and extension of the inventory is an integral part of the work of the Department under the UNESCO 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage which requires States to recognise, protect and promote the living cultural heritage of their countries.