There are particular events in Irish history which have bound communities together and have stood the test of time and continue to do so year on year.
Cork’s agricultural shows have done just that, bringing tight-knit communities even closer together, some since the 1800s.
The current Covid-19 crisis may have forced the cancellation of this summer’s agricultural shows, but their long-standing place in the community will not be threatened.
The Cork Summer Show was founded in 1806 and ran each year until the weather forced the first cancellation of the event in 2012.
The earliest surviving minute book of the County of Cork Agricultural Society dates back to a meeting of the show’s sub committee on Saturday April 17, 1886.
The minutes shed light on the build-up and annual preparation for the two-day summer show then held at the Corn Exchange in Cork.#
An extract from the book titled 'Munster Agricultural Society, The Story of Cork Show Grounds' written by local Cork historian and Cork City Independent Councillor Kieran McCarthy, tells of the Munster Agricultural Society leaving the old showgrounds for the last time in 2008, closing the door on a “fascinating piece of history”.
The foreword by the then Chairperson, Gerard Murphy, tells us of “the end of a magical era and the start of a new chapter for the society”.
Successful shows have been running on the new grounds in Curraheen Village since its cancellation in 2012, but this year saw the show cancelled due to Covid-19. In its place, a virtual show will be held on Saturday June 20 and Sunday June 21.
Charleville Show, which was founded in 1979, celebrated its 40th anniversary last year.
The driving force behind the show was the late Canon Donal O'Driscoll who became chairman in 1978 after his idea for a show was supported at a meeting at Cronins Hotel.
There was no tradition of a show in Charleville or the surrounding areas at that time but the idea was supported and officers for the first show were elected at the first formal meeting.
The Late Mrs Joan Binchy offered the use of her lands to hold the show and a date was then secured from the Irish Shows Association and the last weekend in June 1979 was chosen. This weekend became the traditional weekend of the show.
This year’s show has been cancelled due to the virus and the show will return Saturday June 26 and Sunday June 27, 2021.
Belgooly Show is a small, traditional agricultural show showing classes for horses, ponies, cattle and dogs and domestic classes covering a wide range of arts and crafts, and pony games.
To acknowledge what should have been the 76th show on May 30, organisers thanked their sponsors and members of the community for their continued support of the show over the years.
The 76th Belgooly Show will instead be held on Saturday, June 5, 2021.
Set in Dromlena Lawn just outside the West Cork market town, the Dunmanway Agricultural Show is renowned as one of the highlights on the showing circuit each summer from pedigree animals to home baking on display.
Founded in 1946, the show celebrated 70 years back in 2018 and this year was forced to cancel the event due to take place on July 5.
Organisers said they will winter this one out in the interest of public safety and respect of exhibitors and sponsors, and “come back fighting” on July 4, 2021.