Cork horse fair off, don’t travel advise gardaí

Cork horse fair off, don’t travel advise gardaí

The famous Cahirmee Horse Fair in Buttevant has been cancelled for the second year in a row due to the pandemic. Picture credit: Buttevant Community Council

THE famous Cahirmee Horse Fair in Buttevant has been cancelled for the second year in-a-row due to the pandemic.

The Fair, which typically takes place on the closest Sunday to July 12, would have been celebrating its 100th year.

A Garda spokesperson said horse traders and vendors are being urged not to turn up to Buttevant this year.

“Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 restrictions, Cahirmee Fair will not be taking place this year.

“We are encouraging people not to turn up in Buttevant.

“Hopefully next year will see a return to normal, when we can all gather together again.”

In a statement on social media announcing the news, Buttevant Community Council said while it is regrettable the famous fair cannot go ahead, they are hopeful it will return next year.

“Regrettably it is not possible for Cahirmee Fair to go ahead once again this year.

“Increased patrols will be in operation during traditional fair days.

“We look forward to 2022 when everyone will be fully vaccinated and we can gather again for this historic event with old friends and new.”

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

However, a high level of compliance from horse traders and vendors was reported.

The fair is typically one of the biggest events in Buttevant every year, attracting thousands of people to the town.

The 'best option'

Speaking to The Echo TJ Hogan, Co-ordinator at East Cork Traveller Project, said although it is disappointing to have to cancel the fair for the second year in-a-row, it is the “best option” in the interests of public health.

He said a scaled-down version of the fair would not have been suitable.

“You want these fairs to be unrestricted because the reason they’re held is for people getting together and I know a lot of the Travelling Community also make a living out of it selling horses and that.

“It would have been on a limited basis and it just wouldn’t be fair, it wouldn’t have the same atmosphere,” he said.

“Hopefully next year it will be back bigger and better,” he said.

Historical fair 

The Cahirmee Horse Fair 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 of 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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