THE Banner County’s Croke Park dreams may have ended for this year but the show season continues with two upcoming Clare shows in one weekend.

According to Corofin’s Catriona McMahon, this year is the 72nd anniversary of Corofin North Clare Agricultural Show (Saturday, July 22nd), one of the county’s longest-running agricultural shows.

The theme of many agricultural shows this year is family and community participation. One such example was a presentation at this year’s launch to Gerry Hanrahan, a 23-year volunteer veteran at the show.

Corofin’s showrings, with its stone wall backdrops, will fill up next Saturday with horses, ponies and those faithful donkeys.

The Curraghkyle Perpetual Cup is awarded to the champion from three young horse class winners, plus there’s also opportunities for foal and Draught owners to qualify their hopefuls for the ISA All-Ireland colt foal and Irish Draught three-year-old filly finals at Clarecastle (Saturday, July 29th) and Bonniconlon (Monday, August 7th) respectively.

What else to see next Saturday? There’s two ridden hunter classes, Connemaras and the ever-popular leadrein classes, plus a pony championship.

Nostalgia sells and the local show is always an opportunity for friends to meet up and for visiting family members to reminisce about past show days as the local show is one of the most important and much-loved cornerstones of summer calendars.

Corofin is a stone’s throw from the Glanquin Farmhouse, the setting for the parochial house in Fr Ted. And while there’s no Mrs Doyle on duty with that infamous teapot, Corofin Show’s Vintage Tearoom is the designated on-site gathering place for visitors and showgoers alike to meet over cups of tea and confectionery galore.

Another Banner County tradition is music and there’ll be live music from the Fanore folk-rock band who will be raising money on the day for the Burren Animal Rescue Charity.

Twiggy admires his portrait sketched by owner artist Jackie O’Donoghue who will be exhibiting at Bridgetown and also at Dublin Horse Show


Over to the eastern side of the Banner County for the South East Clare Show, more usually known as Bridgetown, which takes place the following day (Sunday, July 23rd).

For equestrian and showing fans, the highlight will be the All-Ireland yearling filly final, part of Horse Sport Ireland’s national showing championship series.

Up to 17 qualified fillies could line out for this championship, while qualifiers for two other finals; the upcoming All- Ireland colt foal final at Clarecastle (Saturday, July 29th) and the Irish Draught foal championship at Bantry are also in the Bridgetown schedule.

With a €20,000 prize fund available, more than 2,500 equestrian, cattle and horticultural entries are expected for the 31st anniversary of this show. The ridden horse and pony section includes working hunter, racehorse to riding horse, Connemara, family pony and fancy dress classes.

The Pat Hayes Perpetual Cup will be presented to the champion young horse and another cup on offer is the Pat and Aine McNamara Memorial Cup, presented to the winner of the Bridgetown round of the Connolly’s Red Mills Munster Grand Prix league.

The late Pat McNamara, who bought Clover Hill from his breeder Matt Page before selling him on to Philip Heenan, is the uncle of Bridgetown Show’s secretary Yvonne McNamara.

Yvonne adds that more show day features include children’s entertainment, a mobile animal farm, vintage section and a Food Court, featuring local artisan fare.

Her sister-in-law Jackie O’Donoghue, a pet portrait artist based in Tulla, will also be exhibiting her art on show day. Jackie, who has competed her horse Twiggy at two-star level eventing, will have a change of direction at Dublin this year as she will be exhibiting her art there too, instead of competing in the showring.

Crossmolina is back: Committee members Michael Gordon, Megan Heffernan, Laura Mulhern, Niall Carey, Matt Gordon, Fiona Jordan, Marty Merrick, Kevin Murphy, Padraigh Cawley, Grace Hegarty, Paul Sweeney, Keith Jordan, Brendan Cawley, Aiden Flanagan and Oisin Finan. Front Row: Fr. Francis Judge, Anthony Gill, Oliver Flanagan, Des McDonnell, Marie Byrne, Bridie Tomas, Vivian Wood and Enda Callaghan


Crossmolina Show gets its bus pass this year but its 65th anniversary almost didn’t happen. The north Mayo show hasn’t been held since 2018 - Covid was one factor - however, a revitalised committee, spearheaded by president Oliver Flanagan and chairman Anthony Gill, has brought a new lease of life to the event.

Not only is there a new committee in place but the show will also be held in its brand-new location in the recently-purchased community field on the Ballina road.

One Crossmolina Show (Saturday, July 29th) fundraiser was a successful tractor run in May.

In a great example of cross-community support, the venture also raised money for three deserving local charities: the Grainne Uaile Search and Rescue, Moy River Search and Rescue and the Ballina Family Resource Centre. Another was the show’s new logo being designed by Eabha Farrell, a Fifth Class pupil in Crossmolina National School.

More welcome funding came via this summer’s announcement by the Department of Rural and Community Development of a €1 million package for agricultural shows.

And an agricultural show Crossmolina is, with its full range of horse - including six young horse classes, something of a rarity now with dwindling numbers, pony and livestock classes.

In addition to this area producing a number of noted horsemen, this corner of Mayo is renowned for sport horses, Connemara and Irish Draught breeding. The three-year-old lunging competition winner will receive the John McGuinness Cup, in honour of another Mayo show stalwart.

Two All-Ireland qualifiers for Irish Draught yearling and two-year-old fillies are part of the schedule, which also include a qualifier for the Mayo Roscommon Breeders Group Select Foal Sale and the Horse Sport Ireland-sponsored All-Ireland event foal championship at Glenamaddy EC on October 7th.

Entries close on July 24th for Crossmolina Show, where an auction for 20 tonnes of lime, (always handy for horse pastures), will be held, alongside stands featuring local, homemade produce, music and a blacksmith demonstration.