Last Sunday was an unforgettable day for the thousands of exhibitors at the FBD National Livestock Show in Tullamore, Co Offaly.
It’s hard to believe it was three years since the last show was staged. It’s now one of the largest one-day events in the country and takes a massive effort from hundreds of volunteers and stewards headed up by headed up by Chelsey Cox McDonald, show secretary, Joe Molly, show chair, the Tullamore Show executive and all the Tullamore Show team.
Given the huge numbers of people and animals involved, the event ran very well with positive comments from sponsors, exhibitors and visitors alike.
The sun shone and the crowds flocked in from early morning, culminating in a record attendance. For many of the exhibitors, preparation for Sunday’s show started well in advance, with some breeding cattle for a lifetime just to get that one animal to take a championship rosette in Tullamore.
As one exhibitor said on Sunday: “This is the equivalent of the all-Ireland championship for livestock farmers. When you compete at this level, you’re up there with the best and going home with a rosette from Tullamore is a massive achievement.”
The show encapsulated all that is good about livestock farming and rural life in Ireland, which was badly needed given what farming has come through in the climate change debate in the last few weeks.
One of the most encouraging aspects of the show was the amount of young people in attendance. We hear lots of talk about young people turning their backs on livestock farming, yet looking around at exhibitors on Sunday, nearly every one of them had young people helping out. It’s one of the best avenues to get young people involved in livestock and going on what was seen on Sunday, the future is bright for the showing sector.
It attracted a number of politicians, the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue who opened the show and presented the coveted gold and silver medals to the breed champions at the end of the day, Minister of State Martin Heydon and Minister of State Pippa Hackett.