Country comes to town as Lurgan Park plays host to farm show
The country came to town as Lurgan and District Show Society celebrated its 103rd annual agricultural show in the idyllic setting of Lurgan Park on Saturday.
The one-day event was described by Lord Mayor Darryn Causby as a fantastic day out. Elected two months ago to the newly formed Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council, the DUP councillor said: "It's a flagship event in our annual calendar, and I congratulate the organisers on another successful show."
Joining him on a tour of the showgrounds were party colleagues councillor Cara Lockhart and Upper Bann MP David Simpson. Other VIP guests included Louise Ward Hunter, head of policy at the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Irish Shows Association president Jim Harrison and Northern Ireland Shows Association president Bill Leeman. RUAS president Billy Robson OBE was a judge in the Simmental cattle classes.
Ulster and Ireland rugby star Rory Best won several rosettes for home-bred animals from his Loughans Aberdeen Angus herd.
Although the show attracted thousands of exhibitors and spectators, secretary Michele Doran confirmed visitor numbers were down on previous years.
She said: "The weather forecast may have put people off coming, but the fact that our event shared its date with the NI Countrysports Fair in the nearby village of Scarva hasn't been ideal.
"Livestock entries were on a par with recent years, while the equine section welcomed a substantial increase in entries. The home industries section was well supported with more than 5,000 entries."
There was a host of trade stands, a rural craft display and a First World War living history exhibition, with cookery demonstrations by Jenny Turley giving an insight on life in the war years.
Downshire Brass Band and the Salvation Army Choir kept everyone entertained, while young visitors enjoyed the fun fair and pet show.
Champion of champions in the cattle section was the Holstein cow Glasson Shottle JG Gail, bred by local dairy farmers Philip and Simon Haffey.
Standing in reserve was the interbreed beef champion Lowbarn Fotty, a five-year-old Limousin cow from Robert and Stephen Clyde's 50-cow Clydevalley herd based at Antrim. She was shown alongside her January born Sarkley Hotshot bull calf.
Runner-up in the dairy line-up was the reserve Holstein winner Inch Shottle Daphne 10th EX exhibited by Jim Morrison and James Cleland, Downpatrick.
The reserve interbreed beef honours went to the British Blonde champion Budore Garnet, a four-year-old cow from Paul and Eamon McGarry's 25-cow herd at Dundrod. She was accompanied by her three-month-old heifer calf.
Lurgan Show was the venue for the NI Simmental Club's junior heifer derby, sponsored by Woodcraft Kitchens in Kilrea. The 2015 title went to Woodford Penny, a sixteen-month-old heifer bred by Thelma Gorman, Armagh. Runner-up was Derrycallaghan Fancy Me, a 13-month-old heifer exhibited by Harold Stubbs and grandson Alan Burleigh, who had made the trip from Co Fermanagh.
Claiming the day's interbreed sheep award was a Charollais shearling ewe from Diane Christie's flock at Comber. Standing in reserve was the Suffolk supremo from Norman Robinson, Downpatrick.