"I am the third generation to live on my family farm, located just outside of Clonmel in Co Tipperary. Growing up there was my mother, father and three sisters, who all had an interest in the daily runnings of the farm. Like my mother, I have taken over the family farm and now work as a full-time dairy farmer.
“I suppose I always knew I was going to be the farmer of the house. I studied agricultural science in college and grew a love for dairy farming from a very young age. My father got me involved in relief milking when I was a teenager. It was a great way to earn a bit of pocket money over the summer and keep up my hobby of show jumping at the weekend.
“I have always grown up with a horse on the farm and watching my older sisters being involved in show jumping throughout the country. My father was a diehard horse man and always encouraged us to participate in Clonmel Agricultural Show.
“From a young age, all my siblings and I would have competed in the amateur horse show jumping at Clonmel Show. Before my mother passed away a number of years ago, she sponsored this class, which I sponsor now.
“I remember coming first in the amateur horse show jumping and winning a rug for my horse one year and even a holiday to Cork during the era of the Celtic Tiger. I feel honoured that I can now give it back to the show and offer the same experience to amateur show jumpers.
“This is our 156th year of running the Clonmel Show and we’re planning it to be bigger and better than ever this year. I have always attended Clonmel Show each year. The last two years I really missed the show and felt there was an absence in the local community, especially approaching the summer months.
“My father always encouraged me as a dairy farmer to not get too tied down to work, and to get involved in other activities, which for me was always Clonmel Show. I love being involved in the show’s committee as it’s a great way of meeting people in the local area and definitely adds an air of excitement around the community coming up to the big day.
“I recall when the Clonmel Show was a two day event. My house would be packed with visitors from England that would be showing horses or show jumping over the weekend.
“It’s definitely been a big part of my childhood. I often think back to my first memory of the show when I was around seven sitting on a bank at the old showgrounds where the dog track was in Clonmel. I would be watching the likes of Eddie Macken and other great show jumpers and picking up poles after them in the showground arena.
“I’m now approximately nine years on the Clonmel Agricultural Show committee and remain the youngest member on the committee today. My family have had a great presence in the show committee, my mother joined the committee when she was 16 and devoted a huge part of her life to the show. My sister is now planning to follow in her footsteps as well, taking over the secretary role next year.
“My job in the Clonmel Show for the last nine years has been organising the show jumping. I got involved when the previous organiser, Doctor Quirke sadly passed away. I have learned that there is a world of preparation goes into organising every section of the show. For months in advance I look into applying for qualifiers to booking judges and much more.
“At Clonmel Show, the show jumping has evolved a huge amount over the last 20 years. We have people from all ages from baby shark [for young children under eight to get them interested in show jumping] up to professional show jumpers competing at the day event. There are great prizes up for grabs, with professional show jumpers in with the chance to win over €5,000 in prize money.
Evolving in the show
“The president of Clonmel Show, Carrie Acheson is a powerful woman we all look up to within the show committee. She was the first women to drive Clonmel Show to where it is today.
“Even after her long number of years helping the show, she works hard to driving the show to where it needs to be. Being on the committee I have learned a lot from how she analyses the show and works on improving it each year.
“More than ever we have worked to encourage young people to work in the show. In Clonmel Show we’re fortunate to have a bursary for young people interested in agricultural and are within a 30km radius of the showgrounds. Young members of the show who have availed of this bursary have put it towards opportunities to travel and work in New Zealand and much more. “
Clonmel Show takes place this Sunday 3 July in Powerstown Park Racecourse, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary from 10am-6pm. Visit www.clonmelshow.ie/home