The opportunity to eat snails from Graignamanagh in a tent at the Iverk Show last Saturday epitomises what the agricultural event is and has become.
The show offered a miscellany of the weird and the wonderful as the sun shone down on Piltown. It showcased the great community spirit in the county with the exhibitions catering for everyone’s interests.
The Piltown show is best summed up in a conversation overheard on the day, where one woman remarked to another, “You meet people you wouldn’t meet from one end of the year to the next”.
That’s what it means to locals in Kilkenny and for most of the 20,000 people who attended the event to soak up what the exhibitions had to offer.
Bottles and bottles of talcum powder were used for the cattle competitions with a Charolais cow’s bottom even getting wiped at one stage just before entering the parade ring.
“She’s got size, depth and kindness,” rang out through the air as judges assessed the animals with several Kilkenny winners on the day.
In the dairy section, Jim Mulhall of Danville in Kilkenny claimed first prize in the Class 1 – Friesian Heifer Calf, born after 01-01-17.
He was one of many home victories on the day with the Class 5 – Pure Friesian Cow in Milk going to Pat Cleary in Hugginstown.
The Global Foods tent saw a demonstration from “Two Fellas Farm” run by Joe Dempsey and Martin McCormick. From the banks of the River Barrow in Graignamanagh, the pair produce “premium free range edible snails”.
They paired up with Mediterranean chef, Marcel Soproni and they talked, cooked and shared some Kilkenny escargot.
Joe talked about how they induce hibernation so the snails effectively package themselves and he told the crowd that the next time they wake up is when the chef is preparing them.
Then there’s the biggest pumpkin competition, which was won by Norman Storey, but he’s not in a hurry to reveal his secrets.
Norman said: “Usain Bolt doesn’t tell you what he takes, I’m not going to tell you.” Meanwhile the giant potato competition was won by David Curran with Kieran O’Keefe taking the giant onion award.
The flower show was a visual treat with Grace Blackmore taking the Class 1 – Gory of the Garden prize.
The baking competition throws up fierce competition every year and this year was no different with the best chocolate biscuit cake going to Martina Cullinane who also claimed The Great Cherry Cake competition for the Iverk Produce Cup and a €200 prize.
Show jumping and show horses were also there for all to see. There was live music all day, machinery and bouncy castles as far as the eye could see.
An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, formally launched the Iverk Show on Saturday morning as the celebrity Taoiseach was mobbed by crowds of people looking to get a selfie with the country’s leader.
Minister of State and local TD, John Paul Phelan, was also in attendance.
The Kilkenny Fire Service were there and did several demonstrations on fire safety and cut someone out of a car with the help of the ambulance service.
The gardaí were out in force too with their mounted unit a huge attraction and also an important part of crowd control as thousands streamed into the show well into the afternoon.
It’s onwards and upwards for the show now - with organisers already looking ahead to 2018.