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The Irish Game Fair And Fine Food Festival At Shanes Castle, Saturday 24Th And Sunday 25Th June 17


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The Irish Game Fair and Fine Food Festival at Shanes Castle, Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th June 17

 

Shanes Castle in its beautiful picturesque grounds on the Shanes Castle Estate Co Antrim was the venue for this years Irish Game Fair and Fine Food Festival, Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th June 17. And what a memorable weekend that was. The Game Fair and Fine Food Festival was the most comprehensive, biggest and best organised event in Northern Ireland, and was a brilliant window for Irish Country Sports and Country Life North and South of the border and further afield.

 

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 Irish Game Fair provided a vast array of sporting interests for both young and old.

 

Each year this event grows from strength to strength, with a jam packed itinerary of Gun Dog Trials, Lurcher,Terrier, Whippet Showing and Racing, Ferrets, Archery ,Clay Pigeon shooting, Fishing, and many more events too numerous to mention, and this year proved to be a real gem in the heart of our beautiful country.

 

We arrived pretty early at Shanes Castle to get a good parking place, and straight away headed up the fair to get breakfast, and take in some retail therapy. We strolled around at our leisure visiting the many stands along the way, one being the dog rehoming stand which is very close to my heart. Keith Kirkpatrick and Colleen Cunningham do such wonderful work here to rehome these lovely animals, and long may it continue.

 

 

Our next stop was at Stephen Smyths Barbour stand. I love this man. He is always so welcoming and has time for everybody. We moved on to see my good friend Emmett Mc Court and top chef in the Fine Food Marquee . The smell of fine food was definitely flowing in the air here. It was nice to meet up with Emmett, and hijack him again for my now annual photograph. We could not miss visiting Denise and Trevor Cahills canine stand with every type of dog lead you could mention.

 

Along the way we met up with many good canine friends that we have made over the years, out of going and showing our whippets at nearly every show north and south of the border. We are like the bad penny we show up everywhere. Helen Hunter and her lovely family were there to greet us, as was Mc Grath Family and Smith Families from Carlow. We met Neil and Philip Pinkerton, the twins from Belfast. My goodness it is very hard to tell the difference between these two, they are so alike and such nice young fellows. Gregg Murphy travelled up the whole way from Donegal with his lovely family to enjoy and be part of this great sporting weekend.

 

The people I have spoken about, and many more too numerous to mention have become good friends of ours, and we have made all these friends and many more through the Canine world. Although John and myself are getting older, and cannot get in the field or over the ditches as quick as we used to, we still love our Canine world, Country Sports, and our Dog shows and Racedays.

 

Before the racing took place I watched the showing of the Teckel breed. These little wire-haired dachshund are a sporting sausage dog and have proved themselves both in the field and in the show ring as a top quality breed. These small but sporting dachshunds will find a place in every working household.

 

The winners were:

1/ Billy Cauldwell with Biscuit

2/ James Greer with Denzel

Congratulations to the worthy winners, and also to Judge Janet Duke for a job well done.

 

Time passes so quickly when you are enjoying yourself, and all to soon it was time to get back to the Canine Country Sports section, and to one of the highlights of the weekend, on Saturday “The Master Mc Grath Racing Championship”.

 

 

With the lure flyng up the track, the dogs were off and the 2017 Master Mc Grath championship final was on its way.

As the cheers and roars of encouragement rang out around the wee blue hills of Antrim, Nicky Smiths Canine friend Scooby came romping home in full glory and crossed the white line to take this prestigious accolade home to Carlow with her. The thrills and tears of winning and the excitement from the winning family was just a sight not to be missed.

 

And the icing on the cake was when Nicky Smith announced she was donating her cash prize winnings of £250 to The Cancer Charity at the NI Hospice. I can honestly say, there was not a dry eye around the ring when Nicky and her dad Donal told Mr Aj Titterington of their intentions. As Nicky told me, it was never about the money, it was just nice to win after Scooby getting Reserve for 2 years running. What a display of generosity from this young lady. Such a lovely family and a well deserved win. And another little bit of news for us women. Nicky is the first woman to ever win the Master Mc Grath.

 

Reserve Champion in the Master Mc Grath went to one of natures gentlemen, Pat Mc Grath and his winning dog Tucker. Pat, a big congratulations and a well deserved win. Mammy Mc Grath and your lovely family were there to cheer you on. Well done Pat and sure maybe Tucker will be the winner in 2018.

 

Full Racing Results

 

Elite under 21

Joe Leonard with Amber

Traditional under 23

S Mc Grath with Meg

 

Traditional over 23

C Canavon with Maggie

 

Heavy Bull

Mickey Quinn with Hoss

 

Light Bull

Kirsty Harpur with Regal

 

Elite under 23

Joe Leonard with Pepsi

 

Elite over23

S Moore with Seven

 

(Mick The Miller Qualifer)

Eddie Kane with Scooter

 

Greyhound

James Anderson with Theresa

 

Directors Challenge

Gabriel Frank with Dash

 

PUPs

Charlene Rafferty with Dash

 

Terrier Racing

A Findlays on Island

 

Special guest Adrian Horan, whose father trained “Mick The Millar “presented the Trophies for the racing. What a lovely man.

Congratulations to all the winners.

 

Sunday came bright and early and another packed day of Country Sports.

 

First on the menu was the Ferret showing and racing. We had some craic in that 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 brilliant commentary. Many thanks for this part of the show. Ferret judging on the day was carried out by Leeroy Mc Cullough. Leeroy you done a wonderful Job and did not even get bit once.

 

Results

Ferret Showing

Michael Quinn with Sandy

Ferret Racing

Paul Baxter with Bell

Congratulations to above winners.

 

 

Onwards and upwards, and showing time had arrived. The childrens handling class was on first. 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 quite a few children in the ring. A Big Congratulations to all the children who took part, you were all winners on the day.

 

Here are some results from the Showing.

 

Ladies Handling Class

Ashton Wylie with Keeta

 

Gents Handling Charge

Mickey Quinn with Lady

 

Overall Champion Whippets

Colin Maguire with Pepsi

Reserve

Janet Duke with Oscar

 

Overall Champion Lurchers

Mojo Kearney with Max

Reserve

Nick Irvine with Lilo

 

Overall Champion Terriers

Terence Mc Laughlin with Flapper

Reserve

Dessie Mackin with Frankie.

 

****Overall Show Champion and Best in Show went to:

 

Mojo Kearney with Max

 

***Overall Champion Pup went to :

 

Ashton Wylie with Keeta

Reserve

Miranda Hicks with Flint.

 

A Big congratulation to all above winners and well done.

 

*****And then for the Big Ones ****

 

The 5 Nations Champion Terrier.

 

***This very prestigious prize went to :

 

Dessie Mackin with Frankie, Handled by Peter Conn

Reserve

 

Dessie Mackin with Jet, Handled by Tara Hunt.

 

The jubilation and cheers from the crowds around the ring for this popular winner was a joy to see. Well done Dessie with your winning Terriers. They were in great condition and deserved to win.

 

***Next on the Menu was the 5 Nations Whippet Championship

 

5 Nations Whippet Championship went to :

 

Kirsty Fyffe and David Campbell with their winning Whippet Bobby.

Reserve

Janet Duke with Oscar

 

Well what can I say that would describe the explosion of excitement that happened here when Kirsty Fyffe won the the 5 Nations Whippet Championship with her winning Whippet Bobby, leaving Kirsty in shock with tears of joy rolling fast down her face, and David Campbell keeping a protective winners arm around her. Poor Janet Duke, Reserve 5 Nations winner with her whippet Oscar was speechless , and friend Tracy Gill soon came to the rescue. Congratulations to all winners, and reserve winners both in Terrier and Whippet 5 Nations Championship and well done.

 

And Finally may I take this opportunity to thank the Judges on the day. Lurchers /Terriers, /Whippets, and 5 Nation Judges. Judging is not always an easy job, but you carried out your duties with fairness and integrity.

 

 

I cannot forget the man of the moment, and Canine Director Tom Barry for organising a another great Dog Show and Raceday as part of the Great Game Fairs of Ireland. Tom and your wife Leanne, Morgan and Ethan and your brilliant team of helpers done a first class job. You organised and carried out one of the best Dog Shows and Race days I have ever seen at Shanes Castle. Tom, I enjoyed every moment and long may it continue.

 

 

Major investment 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 at the helm, and his brilliant field team. 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 have 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, Edwin Dash, and magazine editor Paul Pringle, and your back up team for a very enjoyable weekend at Shanes Castle, full of joy and excitement, and above all again a great window for Country Sports. And yet again Albert, you produced a brilliant and enjoyable weekend for all of us. Thanks for the memories.

 

***And now for Birr *** Cant wait.

 

Margaret Mc Stay

Edited by appleblossom
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Myself and my pals as well as some other Scottish friends we caught up with in Belfast had a brilliant weekend.

 

The game fair team ladies helped us get accommodation at the last minute and we got a very warm welcome on Saturday morning from some of the game fair team.

 

There was no end of entertainment in the arena and the smaller one were we had a good chat with a few lurcher and terrier lads, I always like to have a chat with the Irish lads.

 

The lurcher area was in the fair which was handy as at some home shows it is outside the show and can be a nuisance, there was even plenty of Guinness close by here too!

 

Plenty of stands, plenty to see and do, food and i even got a few things for the misses!

 

What I liked most was the friendly atmosphere and it was great to see it all in one day and all for only fiver! We even got an invite back to hunt in the winter.

 

Thanks to you all for a good weekend, I wish we had these kind of shows and support at home.

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