Cahirmee Fair: Gardaí say no issues reported amid major security operation around cancelled fair

Cahirmee Fair: Gardaí say no issues reported amid major security operation around cancelled fair
Gardaí Keith Reidy, Kanturk, David O’Keeffe and Damien Collins, Mallow on patrol on the main street in Buttevant yesterday. Picture: Dan Linehan

Gardaí have reported a high level of compliance regarding the cancellation of a well-known horse fair in Cork.

A Garda spokesman this evening stated that no one has yet attempted to set up for the Cahirmee Horse Fair which was due to take place in Buttevant tomorrow but has been cancelled due to Covid-19. 

"I can confirm that in co-operation with the horse traders and vendors that there has been an understanding to follow the Government Health guidelines, and no one has come or attempted to set up in relation to the Fair.

"At this time it appears all horse traders and vendors are following the Covid-19 Health Guidelines," Gardaí said.

As a precautionary measure, Gardaí have mounted patrols and blocked off certain areas of the town to prevent the Fair from taking place.

Fencing erected on the footpaths in Buttevant to stop casual traders setting up their stalls. Picture: Dan Linehan
Fencing erected on the footpaths in Buttevant to stop casual traders setting up their stalls. Picture: Dan Linehan

The Fair is traditionally held on July 12 but the 2020 event was marked for Monday, July 13 as the 12th fell on a Sunday.

It is one of the biggest events in Buttevant each year, typically attracting thousands of people to the town.

Earlier this month, Gardaí stated that the event was cancelled and urged the public not to travel to Buttevant.

"There will be a Garda Operation in place to ensure the Government regulations regarding Covid-19 are complied with," commented Sergeant Eileen Kelly.

"Please do not come to Buttevant for the Horse Fair as you will be turned back," she continued.

TJ Hogan, Coordinator at East Cork Traveller Project, also urged people not to travel to the event.

"Due to Covid-19, Cahirmee Horse Fair 2020 is now cancelled. 

"I’m urging the public to stay home at this time and stay safe," he said.

The Cahirmee Horse Fair was due to take place on July 13 but was cancelled due to the coronavirus regulations. Gardaí Keith Reidy, Kanturk, David O’Keeffe and Damien Collins, Mallow on patrol on the main street in Buttevant, Co Cork. Picture: Dan Linehan
The Cahirmee Horse Fair was due to take place on July 13 but was cancelled due to the coronavirus regulations. Gardaí Keith Reidy, Kanturk, David O’Keeffe and Damien Collins, Mallow on patrol on the main street in Buttevant, Co Cork. Picture: Dan Linehan

The Cahirmee Horse Fair, which would have been celebrating its 99th year this year, has no official organiser but typically attracts tourists and horse traders from all over Ireland and Britain. 

According to the Buttevant Heritage website, the Fair is believed to have roots back in Ireland’s prehistoric past, when Mee was a High King of Munster, and his royal seat was nearby to the east of Buttevant.

The Fair originally took place in the townland of Cahirmee some three miles east of Buttevant, a spot considered to be the centre on Munster. 

In the early 1920s, the Fair moved into Buttevant town as buyers and sellers felt threatened by the political turmoil of the time during both the War of Independence and the Civil War.

According to local legend, one of the most famous horses sold in Buttevant was Napoleon’s horse Marengo, used in the retreat from Moscow during the winter of 1812.

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