Nostalgia: A look back at agricultural shows in Cork over the years

Nostalgia: A look back at agricultural shows in Cork over the years

Cork Summer Show, 1984. 

Agricultural shows in Cork have once again been scuppered by Covid-19 but hopes abound that the beloved summertime outing will return as normal next year.  

The highly popular Cork Summer Show extends back to the 19th century. 

The earliest surviving minute book of the County of Cork Agricultural Society dates back to a meeting of the show’s subcommittee on Saturday April 17, 1886.

Cork Summer Show, 1972.
Cork Summer Show, 1972.

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 historian and Independent Cork city 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 of “the end of a magical era and the start of a new chapter for the society”.

Cork Summer Show, 1979. 
Cork Summer Show, 1979. 

Successful shows have been running on the new grounds in Curraheen Village since its cancellation in 2012, with the exception of this year and last due to the pandemic.

As was the case last summer, a virtual show will takes place in place of a physical event, commencing this weekend. 

Hornsby Vintage farm machinery on display at Charleville Show in 2006. Picture: Larry Cummins
Hornsby Vintage farm machinery on display at Charleville Show in 2006. Picture: Larry Cummins

Elsewhere in Cork the Charleville Show, which was founded in 1979, is also an immensely popular agricultural show.

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.

At that inaugural meeting, officers for the first show were elected. 

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 - the last weekend in June. 

Laura Minihan looks for the next obstacle as her horse Ginger Princess jumps the Seventh fence in the Sportsmans 80cm Class show jumping competition at this years Belgooly Show, 2009. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Laura Minihan looks for the next obstacle as her horse Ginger Princess jumps the Seventh fence in the Sportsmans 80cm Class show jumping competition at this years Belgooly Show, 2009. Picture: Howard Crowdy

Once again this year, the show has been cancelled due to the pandemic, but organisers say they hope that the show will be back "bigger and better than ever" next year. 

Another popular event is the Belgooly Show, a small, traditional agricultural show.

It features showing classes for horses, ponies, cattle and dogs as well as domestic classes covering a wide range of arts and crafts, and pony games.

The show, which has existed for almost 80 years, will not take place again this year but organisers say they are looking forward to welcoming people back in the summer of 2022. 

More in this section

Sponsored Content

summersoaplogosml

Catch up on the latest episode of Annie May and the Hit Brigade written and read by  Mahito Indi Henderson.

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more