The Ardara Show’s second year at its new Sandfield venue was an overwhelming success.
Thousands of visitors flocked to the scenic site last Saturday, in even greater numbers than last year. The huge crowd filled the large coastline area to watch top livestock, marvel at the huge display of entries in the giant marquee, or settle back to enjoy a thrilling programme.
Show chairman, Michael O’Donnell, said: “The size of the Sandfield allows us to present an overall larger attraction for farmers and the family generally. Competitors, entertainment displays, trade stands and visitors have combined to make it a terrific day.”
The show was officially opened by Paddy McGrath and Pat Shovelin of the Donegal team, while the family orientated afternoon programme assembled numerous attractions, among them a large display of vintage tractors, classic cars and carts by the Mid West Donegal Vintage Club.
The prestigious livestock sector, covering cattle, horses and sheep, brought positive remarks from a number of judges. Cattle judge Alan Farlow, told stewards he was ‘surprised at the exceptional quality of cattle bred in the local area’
In the confined area for cattle the Overall Champion was Jim Gallagher of Moagh. In the Open Cattle Classes both the Champion and Reserve went to Pearce McNamee of Convoy. In the other livestock sectors, the Champion Pony of Show was won by Daniel Boomer of Rosbeg, while Jim Steele of Manorcunningham took the Champion Horse of Show. In the sheep sector the All-Ireland Scotch Black Face Ewe Lamb Final, sponsored by Osmonds, was won by Philip & Gerard Faulkner, of Tullyally, Redcastle, while the Champion Sheep of Open Blackfaced Classes went to Charles Tinney, Ballyraine, Letterkenny.
Acting secretary Cathal Mooney, saidit was a great day for family enjoyment. “It has been a real credit to its members who volunteer so much of their time to ensure its continued success. The atmosphere has been alive with the excitement of competition throughout the show field.”
Throughout the afternoon, Corvenieo’s Entertainments delighted the ‘young at heart’ with characters from the film Madagascar touring the field in a mini roadster. There were also acrobats, unicyclists, fire performers and stilt walkers culminating in a Madagascar Circus Show Finale.
Pedro Soltani, a regular at the Ardara Show with his birds of prey, attracted a large attendance as he outlined the history of the birds and provided photo opportunity for many.
Providing a similar time for many youngsters was Danny Curran from the Donegal Donkey Sanctuary with his donkey Quiney. They were attending after completing several days’ walk around the roads of Donegal. Money raised from the walk will help provide new stables and a visitor centre at the sanctuary.
Irish Guide Dogs and Donegal Pet Rescue staff provided vital information to visitors about their work.
The popular fun dog show, judged by Frank Carvery, attracted over 50 dogs with the Pedro Top Dog of Show going to Marie McGettigan of Donegal town with Hunter, who also won the Downstrands Cup for the top gun dog, and they go through to All Ireland Gun Dog Championship at Beltra in September.
Poor weather earlier in the year may have been a ‘dampener’ for gardeners, but the display in the giant marquee showed little signs of it. Entries in the marquee increased by over 200 in all sections, providing a magnificent display for the huge number of visitors who spent time there to enjoy crafts, cookery, horticulture, photography and painting. The afternoon ended with children’s sports, tossing the sheaf and a tug-of-war.
See Thursday’s Donegal Democrat for loads of pictures.