GAME ON AT SHANES CASTLE
Irish Game Fair and Flavour Fine Food Festival, Shanes Castle
Saturday and Sunday 29-30 June from 10.00am – 6.00pm
It’s known as one of the biggest weekends in the country calendar – and with good reason.
The annual Irish Game Fair and Flavour Fine Food Festival at Shane’s Castle brings tens of thousands of visitors to the iconic venue to celebrate all things ‘country’ – and preparations are already well in hand to make the 2013 Fair the biggest and most impressive to date.
From country sports and pursuits to heritage and food and drink from the land, it’s all here, in a stunning single Lough-shore location and with a great atmosphere of family fun to add to the mix. If you have a passion of the countryside and country sports then this the place to indulge it!
Over the weekend of Saturday and Sunday 29-30 June from 10.00am – 6.00pm, the fabulous Shane’s Castle estate will host a vast range of international country sports competitions with prize funds unrivalled in Ireland.
Challenges for the sporting elite will be coupled with great opportunities for visitors to ‘have a go’. Whether you are an experienced country sports enthusiast interested in trying something new or an out-and-out townie eager to try your hand at something totally different, the Fair provides a fantastic first taste, under the guidance of people who are passionate about their sports.
Country lifestyles are reflected in abundance across five major zones.
The Main Arena will feature a rich mix of rural, country sports and living history spectacles including gundog demonstrations by Ian Openshaw from Yorkshire, celebrated as the most successful gundog handler ever; displays by The Irish International Gundog Team and fun sessions with Keith Mathews, the BBC’s Dog Training Guru, known to many as ‘The Dog Whisperer’. The packed arena programme will also feature the colourful Hunting Through The Ages Pageant and spectacular displays including falconry, carriage driving and even ferret racing! In addition there is a dedicated Living History arena and a Country Sports in Action Arena where visitors can not only meet the main arena performers ‘close up and person’ but can also get involved in question and answer sessions on the various sports and pastimes.
A huge tented village of more than two hundred trade stands will keep shopaholics of every description happy with products to interest the most discerning of shoppers from the sports fan to the rural fashionista, the country home-maker … and even the kids! Exhibition and information stands from the main Irish country sports and conservation organisations including the 30,000+ member NARGC ; the 20,000 member FISSTA and the 10,000 member Countryside Alliance, together with other smaller groups and campaigning organisations, will add to the fascinating marquee ‘malls’
A Living History village in the evocative setting of the old ruined castle on the shores of Lough Neagh will bring top UK and Irish re-enactors together to create history with atmosphere! Spanning a time line from the Vikings who came up the Bann and actually created ‘The Red Hand of Ulster Legend’ through to the Georgian Period, this is real living history in action and an educational experience not to be missed.
International competitions with fantastic prize funds including a £2,000 KM trailer offered within the gundog section and, for shooting, three guns including a £2,000 gun (take heart, for this is one prize which could actually be won by even a poor shot!). Terrier, lurcher and whippet enthusiasts will also be converging on Shanes from all over Ireland to compete in the 26th All Ireland Championships and in the international Master McGrath Challenge to find the fastest lurcher in Ireland and GB. All hot competitions for those ‘at the coal face’ … and amazing viewing for the audiences!
For those with a taste for great food and drink, The Fine Food Village organised and sponsored by the Flavour Fine Food magazine will showcase the best of Irish artisan food producers and demonstrate just how much can be done with Ireland’s natural bounty from land and sea. Celebrity chefs will demonstrate a range of game, fish, and all sorts of traditional and more modern dishes, including some using the humble rabbit. Amongst these will be the award winning chef Emmett Mc Court – official chef to the Great Game Fairs of Ireland. The good news for foodies is that there are plenty of opportunities to savour the flavours of the countryside and try-before-you-buy sampling from featured food companies.
Always a great family event for those who live, work or play in the Irish countryside, the 2013 Fair promises to be more special than ever before. The organisers, with their experience of 51 fairs staged over 35 years, have combined the Shane’s Castle with the former Ballywalter Game Fair into one ‘mega’ SuperFair event with the clear aim of delivering the best Irish Game Fair ever.
The Irish Game Fair and Flavour Fine Food Festival is part of the Great Game Fairs of Ireland brand which delivers the two largest game or country fairs in Ireland – at Shane’s Castle, Antrim, on 29-30 June and, later in the Summer, at Birr Castle, Co Offaly 0n 31 August and 1 September.
For further details see www.irishgamefair.com , email: