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19 August 2018: Tullow ShowA white horse and a brown foal with their handlers

The Tullow Show is one of Ireland’s three great agricultural shows and the last to be held each year. We attended today’s show with an Irish friend.

My wife and I started by walking down to the horse rings. There were five rings with events taking place in them all, including jumping and the judging of mares and foals. The horses all seemed beautiful animals. I was glad I wasn’t one of the judges.

We then walked through the area with all the food stalls and the like to reach the display of vintage cars. I can remember the days when some of those “vintage cars” would have been a common sight on the roads. They were all very well maintained, with their paintwork shining. There were also some 1940s farm machines still in working condition and a model traction engine.

We went back to the horse rings for the judging of the miniature ponies. Our friend has a special interest in that event because her sister used to breed them and she was under strict instructions to report back to her the identity of this year’s winner. Unfortunately only one competitor turned up, which we all found disappointing.

From there my wife and I went to the flower, produce and craft tents. Our friend had particularly recommended looking at the cabbages in the vegetable tent. She commented that each one was too large to fit into her car. That proved to be right. We all suspected that they would be very tough to eat, though.

We met up again back at the car for a picnic lunch. A couple of ladies in a car next to ours were having their lunch as well.

After lunch we split up again. My wife and I wandered over to look at the farm animals. These included breeds of sheep we had not come across before. We were in time to see the judging of the “best in show” among the cattle. This was a Simmental cow, which had previously won one of the classes along with its calf.

Our next stop was to view the start of the All Ireland Tug of War. We expected the teams to be made up of hefty young men but at least two teams included young ladies and one included a boy of around 13.

We caught up with our friend again in the flower tent. For many years she exhibited flowers and flower arrangements herself and frequently won prizes. She decided that last year would be her last time. She was delighted to discover that the prize for the prettiest flower arrangement in the show, which she often won, was this year won by a girl of about eight, the first time it has been won by a child.

We left our friend in the flower tent to go back to the horse rings for the judging of carriage driving. There was a sign there saying it would take place in Ring 4 at 4 pm but there was no sign of any carriages. Instead there was a pony club event where teams of young riders from five pony clubs competed in a series of horseback relay races. There were different challenges each time and a good test of horsemanship. We stayed watching them until we felt it was time to go.