Exciting future for Fermanagh County Show

as it moves to Castle Irvine

Fermanagh County Show will have a new home in 2023.

The two-day event will be staged at Castle Irvine, Necarne, near Irvinestown with new weekend dates of Friday and Saturday, 11th and 12th August.

The organisers of the Show, County Fermanagh Farming Society Ltd, which was established in 1836, made the announcement about the new show format this week.

The Chairman of Fermanagh Farming Society, Mrs Ann Orr, explained that the new showgrounds and new weekend dates offer lots of new opportunities for the popular County Show, the last agricultural show in the Northern Ireland Shows Association calendar.

She said; “In 13 years the County Fermanagh Farming Society will celebrate its 200th Anniversary, no mean feat for a rural organisation managed by volunteers. Generations of local families have their heart in Fermanagh County Show and have seen much change over their lifetimes and that of their ancestors. Moving from the Fairgreen and the Broadmeadow in 1994 to the new showgrounds at Lackaboy was a key move to grow the show further to add new elements as we were allowed to use the facilities of the Exhibition and Auction Centre along with our own fabulous Prunty Pitch showgrounds. The Johnston family have been instrumental in their wholehearted support of the Society since 1950 and this has been a very strong partnership of which we are very proud.”

“We know that Covid-19 impacted all agricultural shows but it was this affect that actually brought about the mindset that we have 187 years under our belt and a 200th Anniversary on the horizon to plan for and what better way to do this than to gasp this wonderful opportunity offered to us recently to grow Fermanagh County Show into one of Ireland’s leading agricultural shows of the future,” she added.   

Mr. Kyle Porter, spokesperson for Castle Irvine Estate, commenting on the news said; “We are thrilled to welcome the Fermanagh County Show to Castle Irvine Estate in 2023. The show is a highly regarded event in the community, with a history dating back to 1836 and we are excited to provide a new home for it at Castle Irvine. The facilities and rolling parkland, along with the magnificent backdrop of Necarne Castle, offer a unique setting for the show to continue to thrive and grow in the future.”

“At Castle Irvine, we host many events throughout the year and we are delighted to add the Fermanagh County Show to our calendar. We look forward to welcoming visitors to this beautiful estate.

“We can’t wait to see the future developments of the Fermanagh County Show at its new home at Castle Irvine Estate. It’s sure to be an amazing event.”

The last full Fermanagh County Show took place in 2019 with a scaled back event taking place in August 2022. The plans for 2023 are for a full programme of pedigree and commercial cattle, sheep, goats, poultry, dogs, schools, home industries and with a larger Food Pavilion. The pilot Classic Suckler Competition and Breeding Heifer Derby held last year was a great success and this will be continued as a herd competition for Fermanagh suckler farmers for non-pedigree stock. Herd judging will take place in early July and the best herds will qualify for the final at Castle Irvine on Saturday 12th August.

Castle Irvine Estate comprises 230 acres with unrivalled facilities including unlimited onsite car parking. The large indoor arena, the outdoor arena and walled garden will be ideal to accommodate large exhibits while the lawn at the front of the iconic Necarne Castle will provide a spectacular area for the livestock judging rings. Two beautiful courtyards will provide a great site for street food and music and with more space available to extend the popular Food Pavilion.

The rolling parkland on the estate also provides many potential opportunities to expand the Show programme in the next few years.

Looking forward to the 2023 Fermanagh County Show at Castle Irvine Estate on Friday and Saturday, 11 and 12 August are (from left); Albert Knox, Director, Fermanagh Farming Society; Tyrone Langham, Castle Irvine Estate; Adrian Irvine, Director, Fermanagh Farming Society; Ann Orr, Chairman of Fermanagh Farming Society; Harry Boles, Vice-Chairman, Fermanagh Farming Society; Kyle Porter, Castle Irvine Estate and Stuart Johnston, Life Member, Fermanagh Farming Society.

Stabling Nearby:

Fergus McGirr – (2 Miles From Necarne) Contact: 07739 609 838

Seana Tracey – ( 6 Miles From Necarne) Contact: 07955 983 068

Andrea Gallagher – Contact: 07780 773 307

Jenny Richardson – Contact: 07800 931 250

HF Equine – Contact: 07593 365 246

Dare to Dance: Dressage at Castle Irvine Necarne

GALA EVENING: Pegasus Dressage Music musical editor, Jonathan Magowan and Marketing Director, Anna Beattie, pictured with Victoria McCandless on Koolstyle and Fiona Gerring on Jumping Fox at the Gala Evening of Dressage to Music at Castle Irvine, Necarne

THE walled garden at Castle Irvine, Necarne was filled with music at the beginning of August, as this magical venue played host to a Gala Evening of Dressage to Music, hosted by local Tyrone-based company, Pegasus Dressage Music.

First established in 2020 during the pandemic, Pegasus Dressage Music are the first and only company of their kind in Ireland and are passionate about promoting dressage to music from grassroots upwards. Their clients range from riders at Introductory Level to Grand Prix, with their arrangements performed not only here in Ireland, but also in Canada, the US and Australia.

Castle Irvine, Necarne was the perfect setting to showcase the skill of some of Pegasus’ local dressage talent.

Anna Beattie, Marketing Director of Pegasus, is delighted that the venue is going from strength to strength: “We are so lucky to have a venue of this calibre operating in the north of Ireland. The facilities are second to none and the staff, ably directed by Rodney (Gault), could not have been more helpful.

“Hosting a dressage to music demo is quite an undertaking, given the sound system requirements and, of course, the building of a 20 x 60 arena, which has to be accurate to the last centimetre. The staff were super and, when the music played on a sunny Saturday evening for our dressage riders against the backdrop of the castle, we couldn’t have asked for a more lovely setting for our music.”

The audience were treated to a talk by Anna on the creative process for each piece: balancing the technical aspect of music editing overseen by Jonathan Magowan, against the choreography requirements, expertly handled by chief Pegasus choreographer, Jill Hobson.

Long-standing Pegasus client, Victoria McCandless opened the demo with her Elementary Freestyle arrangement on the theme of Cobra Kai: featuring 80s classics, such as Joe Esposito and Queen, evidently hugely enjoyed by her mount ‘Koolstyle’, who rose to the occasion.

This was followed by an instrumental Tina Turner medley for Jill Hobson and her home-bred mare ‘Miss Hanne J Walker’. The track ‘Simply the Best’ was a real highlight in this piece and had the audience tapping their toes.

Fiona Gerring, of FG Dressage and Training, provided the evening’s finale with her Inter I arrangement of instrumental Nathan Carter. Fiona explained to the audience how Jill’s choreography really highlighted ‘Jumping Fox’s’ strengths, such as his pirouettes and tempi changes (hitting those coveted marks for degree of difficulty), whilst Jonathan’s musical edit accentuated these as ‘party pieces’. No doubt Nathan Carter would be delighted to see a horse dancing to the strains of Temple Bar.

All in all, it was a beautiful evening showcasing the best Ireland has to offer in terms of a top class venue at Castle Irvine, Necarne, skilled dressage performances from local riders and, of course, top class professional music arrangements from local company Pegasus Dressage Music.

Pegasus Dressage Music are returning to Castle Irvine, Necarne on September 24 for the Dare to Dance Dressage Camp, hosted by Para Equestrian Ireland, where both able-bodied and para dressage riders can avail of the expertise of International Coach Clive Milkins, 5* FEI Para Dressage Judge Sarah Rogers and the Irish Para Team Adviser Debora Pijpers. Contact Lucinda Blakiston-Houston ([email protected]) to reserve your place.

Report & Photo by Farm Week


Dare to Dance: Dressage at Castle Irvine Necarne