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Shanes Castle Game Fair, Saturday 27Th And Sunday 28Th June 15

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Shanes Castle Game Fair, Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th June 15.

 

Shanes Castle Co Antrim was the venue Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th June 15 for The Great Game Fairs of Ireland and Country Fine Flavour Festival. Set in one of the most glorious, yet easy accessible regions of Northern Ireland, this Castle is steeped in history . It was here last weekend , thousands of visitors from north and south of the border and further afield came to view the challenges of the sporting elite, and to partake in the many areas of Country sports and Country Life.

 

 

Whether you are an expierenced Country Sports enthusiast interested in trying something new ,or an out of town visitor eager to try your hand at something totally different, the Game Fair provided a vast array of sporting interests. This was run with and under the guidance of people who are passionate about Country Sports.

 

 

 

Saturday morning arrived on the horizon, and brought with it the start of a great weekend at Shanes Castle. Derek O Byrne White introduced the concepts of cowboy dressage and sensible horsemanship, while the Dog Guru Keith Matthews , and son Cole the “Mini Guru” Showed everyone how to train and handle their dogs correctly. Cole is the youngest handler ever to perform at the Great Game Fairs of Ireland, and gave a top class performance with his gun dog Cloe. Stephen Mc Gonigle was there with his Horse and trap, and demonstrating hunting and Lamping displays. Very interesting Stephen, and a great crowd drawer.

 

 

In the Canine Country sports section, the highlight of the weekend on Saturday was the Master Mc Grath racing Championship, and Sunday the Five Nations Whippet Championship. Some excitement around the doggie section on both days.

 

 

This years attendance broke all records for me. Looking around over two days and giving an educated guess I would say there was in access of 30,000 people passed through the gates over the two days. Just shows the popularity of this Game Fair and Fine Food Festival. The weather was glorious and this always helps to contribute to its success.

 

 

Soon it was time for some retail therapy, so John and myself headed straight into the midst of the Game Fair, and strolled around at our leisure visiting the many stands. Our first stop was at the Fine Food Marquee, and over to Emmett Mc Courts stand. The smell of fine food was definitely flowing in the air here. It was nice to meet up with Emmett again and hijacked him for my now annual photograph. We made our yearly pilgrimage to Charlie Keenans stand. Charlie always has a wee bargain, and this year was no different. We strolled along the stands and stopped off at Stephen Smiths Barbour, and Angel Books, and many more stands to many to mention.

 

 

We had some craic at the Ferrett judging and racing arena. I really love this part of the show. This sport brings a great buzz of excitement and laughter, very popular, and some good wins too. Darren Moore and Graham Fyffe, you are experts in this field, and display a very high degree of sportsmanship, backed up with Stephen Mc Gonigles commentary. Many thanks for this part of the show. You sent Davy Downey home a happy man.

 

 

Along the way we met up with some old Friends. Pat and Michael Lynch, father and son were out for a relaxing day, as was the Mc Grath Family from Carlow and Catherine Lawton from Dublin. I stopped off for a chat with my dear friend Paul Pringle. Paul plays a big part in my editorial life, and keeps me right on the does and donts of write ups. It is always a pleasure speaking to Paul.

 

 

Again this year, my write up is tinged with great sadness, firstly on the death of Lindsay Carlisle after a short Illness. Lindsay brought to the Great Game Fairs of Ireland annually, his impressive display of handmade crafted walking sticks, and totally unique to him. Condolences to Lindsays wife and family. Lindsay will be sadly missed.

 

 

Also at this time I would like to mention the Welsh Family who are grieving the loss of their dear son Brian junior at a very young age. Both Dad Brian and deceased son Brian Junior were and are Canine and Country Sports people at heart. Brian Senior, and family, Brian Juniors fiancee Christina Maguire, to you all we offer you our sincere sympathy.

 

 

As our legs got weary, and our money all spent, we headed back down towards the car, to pack away all the many bargains we had acquired from the stands in the heart of this brilliant Game Fair. John bought enough shirts and dog clippers to do him for a lifetime.

 

 

After buying the Game Fair out on Saturday, and watching John Nangles and his racing dog Kelly win the Master Mc Grath in glorious sunshine. The big occasion for us on Sunday was the Overall Show Champion won by Nicky Robinson, the Five Nations Whippet Championship, won by Leeroy Mc Cullagh, and Champion Puppy won by Dessie Mackin.We certainly were not disappointed.

 

 

 

It filled my heart with pride, and almost filled my eyes with tears, when I met Sammy Bowers and his wife Linda, with some guests and their carers , all with special needs from the Forest Lodge Respite Centre, Belfast. These special loving young people were introduced to Tom Barry, our Canine Director at Shanes Castle, who welcomed them all there with open arms. I know this was a very proud moment for Tom to be able to bring some joy to these wonderful young people. These special people do not ask for much, and give so much appreciation in return. They were so overwhelmed with their day out. Sammy and Linda, your act of kindness for organising a day out at Shanes Castle for these special people has not gone unnoticed. Well done Sammy and Linda. That few hours out for those people mean so much to them. God Bless you both for taking time out of your busy life, and showing so much kindness to these special people who live in a different world from us.

 

Again this year, it was a joy to see the smile on the faces of the little people when they received their goody bags prepared by Leanne Barry herself. Some work in that, as there were 30 children in the ring on the day. A Big Congratulations to Cody Fyffe who won the childrens handling class . A lot of sleepy heads on Monday morning. Some trophies went home to the Fyffe household on Sunday night.

 

And Finally may I take this opportunity to thank the Judges on the day. Lurchers, Billy Copeland/Terriers,Jono Crowthers /Whippets, Mike Tomlinson/Five Nations, Martin Foy/Jonto Campbell/Kieran Young. Judging is not always an easy job, but you carried out your duties with fairness and integrity.

 

 

Bluebell( Deidre Mc Coy)/ Derek Laverty/and Billy Harpur was there with their cameras, recording all our moments of glory. I took a few myself, they are on my timeline at the moment.

 

 

I cannot forget the man of the moment, and Canine Director Tom Barry for organising a great Dog Show and Raceday as part of the Great Game Fairs of Ireland.Tom and your loyal wife Leanne, Children Morgan and Ethan and your brilliant team of helpers done a first class job. You organised and carried out one of the best ever Dog Shows and Race days I have ever seen at Shanes Castle. You were honest, curteous, and above all very fair and hard working at this prestigeous event. Tom, you are one in a million, easy to work with, and I enjoyed every moment this year working with you. Long may it continue.

 

Major investment over the last 7 years by the Great Game Fairs of Ireland team has seen its Fairs at Shanes Castle and Birr Castle developed to a stage where they are unchallenged in the domination of their sector within the Irish Market place. The Game Fair at Shanes Castle has impeccable credentials, and annually attracts large numbers of people to the region, delivering a timely boost to tourism and an opportunity for town and country to come together to celebrate and enjoy the craic, along with some of our finest Country Sports and traditions.

 

 

None of this would be possible without the man of the moment and his brilliant team of helpers. Yes , the King of the Castle himself, Albertj Tittering , it is you I am writing about. You are definitely the” King of the Castle,” and in a league of your own. What can I say to describe a kind ,thoughtful and generous man, that has given his life to Country sports and all the good causes that goes with it. Our lives has been enriched with the enjoyment you give to many families across the country, young and old through your Game Fairs. At the end of the Summer season, when the home fires are burning bright, you give us all such happy memories to look back on . You are our Rock in the Country Sports world, and long may you continue.

 

 

Behind every good man is a good woman. And Irene you fit this category with gold medals. What would he do without you. Many thanks Albert , Irene, Co Directors, and your back up team for a very enjoyable weekend at Shanes Castle, full of joy and excitement, and above all a great window for Country Sports. Its an honour to be able to call you all our friends.

 

 

On a finishing note I must congratulate the following people.

 

***Dessie Mackin winning Champion Puppy

***Nicky Robinson on winning the Overall Show Champion and best in show with Barney.

 

***John Nangle from County Carlow , winning the Master Mc Grath, with his winning dog Kelly.

 

***Leeroy Mc Cullagh winning the 5 Nations Championship with his top Dog Tizer

 

***Reserve 5 Nations Whippet Championship went to:

Graham Fyffe with Bolt

 

A Big congratulations to all the above winners, you made such a brilliant enjoyable weekend for all of us.

 

 

And now for Birr . Cant wait.

 

Margaret Mc Stay

 

 

 

 

Edited by appleblossom
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A fantastic account, hopefully we will see some photographs in the coming days.

Well done to Tom Barry as canine director 2015 and his family, genuine hunting people.

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Many thanks p3D. I have a load of photograhs on my Face book page from Shanes Castle and the great Game fairs of Ireland. Feel free to share or upload . I do not know how to up load to the Hunting Life. I am told it is very complicated. Maybe the the administrators could look at an easier way of up loading photographs

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Thank you for your kind words Margaret .If you do not have the name of the young lad that won the terrier showing post thephoto of him with the kids presrnting hin with the perpetual shield some of these guys will know him Thamks Sammy

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Thank you for your kind words Margaret .If you do not have the name of the young lad that won the terrier showing post thephoto of him with the kids presrnting hin with the perpetual shield some of these guys will know him Thamks Sammy

Sammy, Results will be posted on the Game Fair web site next week. Great to see you and the team rom Forest Lodge there enjoying yourselves - one of my happiest memories of the fair was when I was rushing to the car to get something I turned round and there was you and Linda BBBqing for some very special people. I know the kids were treated like VIPs everywhere they went. I think their presence brings out the best in everyone.

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