Belfast Telegraph

Armagh showpiece sees 20,000 enjoy big day out

By Julie Hazelton

Billed as the largest agricultural event in the orchard county, this year's Armagh Show didn't disappoint with upwards of 20,000 exhibitors and spectators descending on Gosford Forest Park for the one-day farming extravaganza.

Traffic around the Markethill area was at a standstill from mid-morning onwards as the designated car-parking areas were overflowing.

The show's executive secretary Billy Parr told the Belfast Telegraph that the committee had made a big effort to introduce more car-parking spaces this year.

"We pulled out all the stops to provide bigger and better car-parking facilities, but we still weren't able to cope with the volume of traffic."

More than 160 trade exhibitors were in attendance, with the prize for the best trade stand going to Daisy Cottage Farm, followed by Horner's Farm and Long Meadow Cider.

A new addition of this year's show was an Artisan food market, showcasing a large selection of local food and drink producers.

Supported by the NI Regional Food Programme, the exhibition included inspiring cookery demonstrations by chef Jenny Turley.

The poultry section goes from strength to strength, while the home industries, equine, goat and pig entries were on a par with last year.

Cattle and sheep entries were dramatically increased as Armagh Show was the chosen venue for a number of national breed finals, the largest of which attracted an entry of more than 80 native Hereford cattle.

Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill and Armagh City and District's Lord Mayor Robert Turner were among the guests who enjoyed the packed programme, which featured live music, a Brazilian samba band, vintage vehicles, dog agility display, funfair and bonny baby competition.

A Suffolk shearling ewe from Fivemiletown flock owner Gary Beacom won the interbreed sheep championship under the expert eye of judge Victor Chestnutt from Bushmills.

Runner-up was six-year-old Charollais ewe from Diane Christie's Lornbrook flock based at Comber.

Taking the second reserve interbreed title was a Hampshire Down shearling ewe exhibited by J and A Fletcher, Comber.

The award for the best ram in show went to a Suffolk ram lamb shown by Dennis Taylor from Macosquin. In the beef cattle section, Cork judge Peter O'Connell awarded the supreme interbreed honours to the five-year-old Aberdeen Angus bull Drumcorn Egghead, bred and exhibited by John and Ann Henning, Moira.

Winner of numerous breed and interbreed titles, he was sired by the 10-cow herd's former stock bull and Royal Highland Show reserve champion Ballamanaugh Estefan.

Claiming the reserve beef title was Coolnaslee Harmony, a 23-month-old Charolais heifer from Gilbert Crawford's 60-cow herd based at Maghera.

Leading the dairy line-up was the Holstein champion Clandeboye Shottle Willow EX92, a third calver from the 170-cow Beechview herd owned by George Booth and son Jason, from Stewartstown.

In reserve position was the home-bred Jersey champion Potterswalls On Time Starlight from the Fleming family's 120-cow herd based at Seaforde.

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