Kingdom County Fair – Tralee County Show 2013

Kingdom County Fair – Tralee County Show ‘13                             Click on pic. to enlarge

Tralee Races, Heyday
Tralee Races, Heyday

It was the first visit for this Blog to Tralee County Show in this historic former Racecourse which held its final Race meet in 2008.   Tralee Races are documented as far back as 1767 when a week-long meeting was recorded in the town.  Ballybeggan Park held its first Races in 1889.  The wide stretch of parkland over 100 acres had been the property of one Daniel O’Connell, know as The Liberator in nineteenth century Irish History.

The August meeting was the centrepiece of the Rose of Tralee Festival and for many years the sport and conviviality of the Festival spilled out to the four-day Feast of Racing.  Many well known racehorses galloped this track, including 3 Cheltenham Gold Cup winners and a Melbourne Cup winner.

Tralee Racing pre-2008
Tralee Racing pre-2008

The Agricultural Show and fair moved here in 1982 and among many famous show-jumpers who competed here was ‘Fergie’, the Duchess of York.  This year was the 64th Anniversary of the first fully-fledged Show, with classes for Horses, Ponies, Cattle, Sheep, Goats, Kerry Bog Ponies, Carriage Driving, Dogs, Poultry, Home Produce, Industrial Exhibition, Crafts Fair, Sheep Dog Trials, a Food Fair, Tractor Balancing, Loy Digging, Old time Threshing, Irish Workhorse Demo. You name it – this Show had it all.  Yes, everything for a great day out except – you’ve guessed it – the weather!  The extra long winter of 2013 was still going strong.  After months of work and effort by the Committee the rain just sheeted down as the strong wind swept in from the Dingle Peninsula across Tralee bay, and it remained unseasonably cold for the day.  But the seasoned competitors came as always and braved the elements.  From the Pony show-jumping arena, where a pony is being prepared to jump the course, could be heard the announcer’s encouraging “when you’re ready sweetheart” in typical welcoming Kerry style.

Glaun Sally with John Ward
Glaun Sally with John Ward

Connemara ponies were sparse on the ground at Tralee, one of the earliest of the Summer shows. Schull, Co. Cork breeder John Ward had wins with both his home-bred Connemaras out of his dam Glaun Magic who came from Dangan in Galway.  Magic is by Ardravinna Andy out of Dangan Patricka and her 2 yr old grey dun filly, Glaun Sally by Celtic Moy Sailor was the choice of judge Sean Scallon in the 2yr. and 3yr. old Filly or Gelding Class.

In the following Mare or Gelding Class, It was John’s daughter Deirdre who led her dad’s pony, the 3yr old grey mare, Glaun Star by Clonberne Boy, to take the Red rosette.

Glaun Star with Deirdre Ward
Glaun Star with Deirdre Ward

{All pony classes were small on the day, and the fact that entries for the Catalogue had to be lodged two and a half weeks before the show while late entries (not in the catalogue), were accepted on the day, made it difficult – in wind and rain – to ascertain details of winners.}

Mount Temple Boy & Cumafort Scopie Spartacus
Mount Temple Boy & Cumafort Scopie Spartacus

Meanwhile two Connemara pony geldings from the yard of Ted Marks and family from Co. Clare were being readied for their Show Hunter and Working Hunter classes by Ted and daughter Kate. They are seen here with the bay Mount Temple Boy by Loughlum Sadat X Mount Temple Girl, and the grey Cumarfort Scopie Spartacus by Dunlewy Go Charlie Go X Templebready Suzanne.

Alix Cunneen was happy that her pony – just a five yr. old at only his third Show, won his Ridden Class.

Lettergesh Bobby with Alix Cunneen
Lettergesh Bobby with Alix Cunneen

The gelding, Lettergesh Bobby, is by Westonhouse Strabo Bobby X Boden Park Fania and the Cunneens hail from Blarney, Co. Cork.

Connemara Mare & Foal Winner
Connemara Mare & Foal Winner

Alas, I have no name for the nice Connemara mare who won her Mare and foal class so if you recognise the picture, please email me at

All pics. © Niamh’s Weblog

Sunset at Fenit, Tralee Bay
Sunset at Fenit, Tralee Bay

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