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AlbertJ

IMPORTANT NEWS FROM THE GREAT GAME FAIRS of IRELAND

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Many will have heard that the IRISH GAME & COUNTRY FAIR which has been staged at BIRR CASTLE, Co OFFALY for the last 10 years  will be moving location.  The move has been slightly complicated by the news that the POPE and possibly the QUEEN will be coming to Ireland on our traditional date of the end of August.  HOWEVER we are happy to announce  our plans to make our 40th ANNIVERSARY FAIR at SHANES CASTLE, ANTRIM on the 23rd/24th JUNE 2018, the biggest and best GAME FAIR ever seen in IRELAND. 

  An announcement will be made about the date and venue of the ROI fair early in January. In the meantime a statement from our Communications Director :

FULL SPEED AHEAD FOR 40TH ‘RUBY ANNIVERSARY EVENT AT SHANES CASTLE

NO MORE GAME FAIRS AT BIRR CASTLE

ANNOUNCEMENT SOON ON NEW LOCATION FOR IRISH GAME & COUNTRY FAIR

Sadness and excitement mark the news this week for Game Fairs South and North.

First, news came that there would be no more game fairs at Birr Castle. Ten largely happy and productive years with wonderful help and support from the local community were to an end with unworkable constraints being imposed on the Fair resulting in a loss of car parking and clay shooting

But it’s not all bad news as there will be exciting revelations in January, when the new location and format for the ROI Game Fair is announced.

More exciting good news is promised too, when Northern Ireland’s leading Shanes Castle Game Fair hits the headlines with details of its hugely anticipated 40th ‘Ruby’ Anniversary event at Shanes Castle 2018.

UNWORKABLE ESTATE CONSTRAINTS FORCE GAME FAIR MOVE

Lengthy discussions began on 8th September with the Birr Castle management bodies over potential additional constraints and working with one of the bodies involved in the management the event still looked ‘dooable.’

But more constraints followed from the second management body, the OT Trust , the first blow being their refusal to allow access to Mount Palmer, one of the event’s two main access points and the only car parking available on site. This was also the site for terriers & lurchers and clay pigeon shooting at the fair!

But even worse, this management group then decided to rule out clay pigeon shooting anywhere on the estate!

It is an indisputable fact that clay shooting is an integral part of all game fairs and a real highlight for thousands of enthusiasts but this was of no consequence it seemed, despite us fighting to retain clayshooting at the Fair.

The shoot at Birr had a prize structure quite unrivalled in Ireland. It was one of the highlights of the fair, attracting over 1500 competitors from all over Ireland and the UK. It was organised effectively and ‘professionally’ as a club fund raiser by local sporting interests, who are quite devastated by the estate’s decision. We all worked hard to reduce any environmental impact to the estate and the ‘cleanup’ of the site was second to none.

We cannot understand why part of the estate’s management would seek to impose this quite frankly unworkable constraint especially as we had suggested solutions to any potential problems with the shoot. The decision appeared to be more of a policy decision as game shooting ceased on the estate in 2016. 

Tourism bodies have assessed that the Birr Castle Fair makes an economic contribution of over €500,000 to the area. We also invested around an additional €200,000 per year, and involved many local groups, businesses and individuals in delivering the fair. Sadly, the reluctant decision to move fair moving outside the locality will result in a huge economic blow to the local economy. As well, much positive social, tourism and promotional impact will be lost.

As the Fairs’s organisers, we have always spoken of the warm welcome afforded to ourselves and visitors from all over Ireland, the UK and further afield, by the people of Birr and County Offaly. Many of these visitors book their accommodation a year in advance and will be devastated by the unfortunate news but we have done all we could to retain the event at Birr Castle.

Our thanks also go Mid Ireland Tourism, with whom we worked closely, and to all of the accommodation providers, shop keepers and others who made the event a really special one for visitors.

An excellent working relationship was enjoyed too with Lord and Lady Rosse, our most gracious hosts, and the estate staff with whom we all worked to deliver the fair with minimal impact on the whole estate.

NEW CHAPTER OPENING FOR ROI GAME & COUNTRY FAIR

Regarding our next ROI event, our organising team and one its new partners have already visited several sites during October and November and are close to finalising a new ‘home’ for the event.

An announcement will be made in January 2018 when outline plans have been completed which will see the successful move to an exciting new location

40TH ANNIVERSARY ‘RUBY’ FAIR AT SHANES CASTLE 23rd& 24th June 2018

A tight lid is being kept on exactly what will be on offer to celebrate the milestone of 40 years of game fairs by the Shanes castle organising team. All the organisers will say is that it will be ‘unmatched in the history of game fairs in this country.’ I will be bringing the very latest information to you just as soon as possible. Meanwhile keep up to date on all the game fair news by tuning in to Facebook and watch the news sections of Irish Country Sports & Country Life magazine.

Paul Pringle
Communications Director
Great Game Fairs of Ireland

Edited by AlbertJ
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