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18,000 visitors have fun in sun as Castlewellan Show marks 52 years

Thomas McCann
Thomas McCann
Hanna Tate
RUAS President Billy Martin with Ashley Flemming
Sophie McAllister
Crowds at Castlewellan Show

By Julie Hazelton

Castlewellan Show is one of Northern Ireland's top one-day attractions, and this 52nd annual event didn't disappoint with more than 18,000 visitors.

The Co Down town's idyllic forest park was a hive of activity and show secretary Jackie Fitzpatrick was delighted.

He said: "The sun is shining, the crowd is massive and it has been another fantastic show.

"Entries in all sections are on a par with last year, and we are pleased to welcome a number of new trade exhibitors to this year's show."

Attractions included the Grass Lads; a gourmet food marquee; a dog agility show; vintage vehicles; alpacas; a jiving display; a pet show; a charity vintage tea marquee, and rural pursuits including threshing, beekeeping, archery and butter-making.

The NI Stickcarvers Club hosted a stickmaking competition, and the County Down Young Farmers organised activities for visitors of all ages.

Trade stand awards were presented to Artistic Design from Co Monaghan for its fantastic wooden sculptures, and the RSPB for its interactive display.

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The Fleming family's noted Potterswalls Jersey herd reigned supreme in the dairy interbreed line-up. Potterswalls Excitation Glamour and Potterswalls Prim Flo Elisha also qualified for the Thompsons and NISA Dairy Cow Championship final.

A highlight for many was the parade of prize-winning beef cattle. The crowds watched intently as judge Sam Coleman inspected the line-up.

Claiming top honours and a £150 prize was the junior Simmental bull Ranfurly Jameson from the Hazelton family's herd at Dungannon. The bull has already won breed championships at Balmoral and Omagh.

Runner-up was the 18-month-old Charolais heifer Drumilly Overjoyed exhibited by Jeremy Paynter from Armagh.

Taking the second reserve award was the JCB Commercials syndicate of Jonny Neill, Gareth Corrie and Charlie Beverland, who exhibited the cross-bred Limousin and British Blue heifer calf Baby Shark.

The award for the native interbreed beef champion went to Aberdeen Angus breeder Eric McClelland for his June 2017 heifer Brookhall Emma.

Sheep exhibitors were out in force as Castlewellan played host to the hotly contested final of the Danske Bank and Northern Ireland Shows Association Ewe Championships. Qualifiers selected at nominated provincial shows came under close inspection from interbreed sheep judge David Walker.

Overall winner and recipient of the £100 prize and crystal trophy was a Beltex ewe from Elizabeth McAllister's Artnagullion flock at Kells. Runner-up was a Charollais ewe from Jim Bell's Lornbrook flock at Comber. Taking the second reserve ribbons was a Texel ewe from Stephen and Jane McCollam's Carmavy flock at Nutts Corner. Mr Walker also judged the interbreed sheep championship. Top honours went to a Texel shearling ewe bred by Henry Gamble from Bangor. In reserve place was a Charollais shearling ewe shown by William McAllister, Kells. Suffolk breeder Alastair Gault, Newtownabbey, claimed the second reserve award.

Top honours in the pig section went to a senior gilt shown by Diane Ruddock, while the runner-up was a junior boar brought out by Gary and Claire Wright.

Belfast Telegraph