Growing up I always had an ambition to be a farmer with both my brother and I involved in breeding pedigree stock from a young age. When I finished school, my parents encouraged me to get some sort of further education and with that in mind, I decided to take a step back from the wellies and head to college.
Four years later, I obtained a degree in business and now work as a development officer in my locality with my work revolving around community work and supporting small rural enterprises.
While being involved in community work, I actually became distanced from the farming lifestyle, however as every farmer knows it’s hard to stay away from the way of life that is farming.
I decided to go back to my roots and invested in being a part-time beef farmer. Years later I was approached by a dairy farmer to see if I would be interested in contract rearing. At the beginning I was a bit hesitant but now I’m delighted as it really suits my farming system. I often compare contract rearing to a good marriage, the main focus is maintaining a good relationship between both parties.
Getting involved in the show
My family were never involved ?in the [Cappamore, Co Limerick] show committee, however, it was a huge event in the household each year. My mother and father would have entered in various classes at the shows and took great pride in their entries. In the height of COVID-19 during lockdown, I actually came across a second prize winning ribbon that my mother won for her hen eggs in 1960. It’s really heart-warming to think back and see how the show has carried on within the family today.
I got involved in the show committee six years ago and have never looked back since. The last 10 years the show has been expanding, which has led to larger crowds gathering from all over the county. The show was previously held on a 10 acre field but needed a bigger grounds to host the event. The committee asked if I would be interested in hosting it in my field, now six years later it maintains its title as the show grounds.
The former secretary Paddy Ryan invited me to join the committee and take my current role as show secretary. Paddy sadly passed away over lockdown after being involved in the show committee for 60 years, ?the longest serving show secretary in Irish history.
The show really grew and revolved around Paddy. He had a great passion for not just Cappamore show, but all agricultural shows across the country, and would have attended all of the shows in the Munster region.
He was renowned for his passion for rural Ireland and continuously encouraged young people to get involved in the show. He was a volunteer in the local Macra and was highly respected by all ages in the community. It is said that his three priorities in life were farming, family and shows.
Work behind the scenes
From year to year the work is endless. There is a huge amount of work that goes on behind the scenes of the show and everyone plays an important part, whether you’re on the committee or just there to help out on the day. A good example is the year Limerick were in the All Ireland final and it was the day after the show. I remember heading down to the field early that morning and seeing an army of volunteers descending on the showgrounds. The volunteers managed to clear every inch of the field and make their way to Croke Park in time for the big game.
Working in the area of community development, I was overwhelmed to see that work in practice. It is one of my favourite memories of the show that will always stand out to me.
This year will mark Cappamore show’s 66th year running. It was originally set up by Macra na Feirme and the local priest in Cappamore as a means of providing a form of social gathering for people in the community that weren’t involved in the GAA.
The show was established in 1954 and was renowned at the time for having the first female agricultural show chair.
Many years later the show is now one of the largest shows in Munster with a show committee with over 150 members.
The show is continuously evolving, with over 200 classes in cattle-showing, show jumping, home industries and much more.
In recent years the show now offers events for families and young people including wellie decorating, scouts demonstrations and a stand from UCC on the importance of social farming.” CL
Cappamore Show will take place on Saturday 20 August in Ballyvoreen, Cappamore, Co Limerick. Times 10am to 6pm. For more info visit www.cappamoreshow.ie