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History of Irelands Agricultural Show

Born out of the love of the horse which characterized the people of the area, the first show held in 1935 was little more than a gymkhana. As a matter of fact, the first meeting was convened by a committee which ran flapper races in Tinahely at the time.
Following this meeting, the founder members canvassed for subscriptions at the Tinahely Fair. The response was generous- and this first brave effort had a jumping course which had six jumps placed in a straight line. From these humble beginnings came the show, which today is one of the major agricultural showpieces in the whole country.
Those who remember the shows of those years, remember mostly, the fun element of the whole affair. Unrestricted by rules and regulations, there was a jollity and camaraderie because everyone knew everyone else and the pushing, coaxing, or cajoling of a reluctant horse over the fence by a rider and willing stewards was part and parcel of the excitement of the day.

Held on August Monday each year, the show soon became an important social occasion for the not-so-discerning in the livestock judging. In the days of high emigration, many exiles made a point of taking their holidays to coincide with Tinahely Show, where old friendships were renewed, and new ones formed. For many years, Marquee dancing was an important part of the show and provided the finance which enabled it to prosper. Indeed, the Show dance in the marquee was the highlight of the year in the social calendar of Tinahely and attracted many patrons, who danced until 4 a.m. to the music of the best show bands of the area. Young men, who earlier in the day could be seen putting the equine species through their paces in the show ring, were equally adept in threading the light fantastic with bejeweled and bedecked fillies of the evening!

The social aspect was taken a step further when the committee determined that Tinahely Show would provide an enjoyable and educational day out for the whole family. The range of activities was extended to include items of interest for all. Die-hard purists may have turned in their graves at the prospect of this intrusion into the main business of the day, but they need have no worry! The element of competition is still strong, the exhibits as keenly judged and compared and, on the day, the dumb animal still reigns supreme!

The show venue is now Fairwood Park, Tinahely, Co. Wicklow- a spectacular 71-acre site owned by the show society and the Shillelagh District Hunt committee. Tinahely Agricultural Show Society expanded over the years with entries coming from all over the country. A Ladies committee was formed, and they organised an Indoor Section covering Home Industries, Art and Crafts and Farm and Garden produce. No effort was spared in seeking ways and means of making the event a “Family Day”. Tinahely Show Society was awarded the title “Wicklow County Show” in 1971 thus giving the event the recognition and credit it deserved for its development over the years.

The Tinahely Agricultural Show is a showcase for all breeds of Livestock. Bloodstock classes and Show Jumping events are very popular in this part of the country with large entries every year. Wicklow is the heartland of sheep country, and the well-known Wicklow Cheviot is amongst the many breeds exhibited at the show. Numerous demonstration and exhibit marquees are on site with a host of displays for all to enjoy. A large Trade Display attracts business people from all over the country.

The commitment and dedication of people down the years has kept this annual event well and truly on top of the calendar of agricultural events. The show has a packed programme of events to offer and your family day out will be action-packed from early morning to late evening.