THERE were presidential hopefuls and pickpockets, among the crowds at the Iverk Show on Saturday. Gay Mitchell, Fine Gael’s nominee for the Aras looked a little out of place with two minders and the chairman of the Iverk Show, Watty Walsh was forced to declare, jokingly, that the show was being over-run with politicians. He was right there were at least 12 local councillors and two government ministers, two TDs, and an MEP.
In all 25,000 people attended the Iverk Show in Piltown on Saturday despite the fact that there were other shows on the same day. Everyone went home happy and this year the most popular items seemed to be the bonny baby competition, the food plaza, dog show and the poultry section where there was a major increase in entries, reflecting the fact that it in times of recession people go back to being self sustainable.
If there was a theme running through the show it was that of going back to what worked in the old days. The quality of the bread, cakes, jams, jellies, honey and everything else was top class and people went home with pots of locally produced good quality food, keeping them out of the low cost supermarkets.
And its hard to imagine in this day and age, but there is a awaiting list for machinery exhibits at the show with many of the big names in the agri-trading world confiding that thy sell more at Iverk than anywhere else and that includes the National Ploughing Championships.
In fact trade stands were up by 30% and there was outstanding quality in the livestock section with the Maid of Avonmore going to a Cork man and Brian Cody was forced (he actually did it voluntarily) to present him with the cup. There was also plenty of controversy in the cattle section over weights while the horse and pony classes were hugely popular and with four jumping arenas going all day it added up to one of the best Iverk Show’s ever. It ran smoothly and this was a vindication of the new traffic plan put in place by Thomastown gardai and there were no traffic jams.
The Gardening/Family Area in the Plaza was packed all day and here the visitors also had musical entertainment from five different bands including the Blanchardstown Brass Band.
The famous Iverk Great Cherry Cake had 74 entries and Waterford women Julie Piggott. and Ann Barron were brought in to make sure there was independent adjudication. Julie said they were looking for a cake that was: “Evenly distributed with cherries, a light cake, not dry and evenly mixed.” Ann and Julie said it was very hard to pick a winner and in the end it went to Lauren Power.
Matt O’Keeffe farmer and presenter of the very popular KCLR 96fm farm programme was there and said it was as marvellous show its because it is based in the community. “With so many volunteers it has taken on a life of its own and it has been run very professionally for along number of years,” he said. He added that it was well laid out and that ease of access was a big bonus.
One of the most popular stands was that of Sheridan’s Insurance where there was a mechanical rodeo bull. There was a queue to get on the back of the contraption and needless to say nobody managed to stay on too long. Have to say it was good gimmick for an insurance broker.
Liam Moylan of Enviroclad Systems with his specialist covering for food preparation areas, cold rooms was busy and he had a steady stream of visitors to his stand as had Eoin Carroll of Bennettsbridge Limestone Quarries.
Two politicians had stands at the show. Cllr Eamon Aylward from Mullinavat of Fianna Fail was helped out by his uncle and MEP, the ever popular Liam Aylward and his wife Kathleen who seemed to be doing most of the work. Eamon received a good reaction from the crowd and said it was important to to come and meet people. The Fianna Fail TD, John McGuinness visited the stand with his lovely wife Margaret.
Deputy McGuinness was in great form and was full of praise for the show and its huge voluntary committee. Enjoying a cup of tea and sandwich courtesy of Cllr Aylward were Theresa Comerford from Cariggeen and Joan Dunhy from Mooncoin.
Deputy John Paul Phelan of Fine Gael was also feeding the masses and his sister Catherine was busy giving out the refreshments when we called while John Paul was out around the showground’s.
Former Kilkenny senior hurler Sean Fennelly of Ballyhale Shamrocks was hopeful of a Kilkenny win on Sunday while legend Eddie Keher was busy selling merchandise from the Kilkenny Hurling supporter’s Club unit.
The ICA was well represented with its own tent and it was very popular. There was also keen interest in getting official GAA black and amber pyjamas and yes the trader also sold a good few Tipp pyjamas.
It was the first years of the Piltown Community allotments. They had a stand at the show Paul Dalton said they had about 31 allotments, ranging from from potatoes, onions, cabbage, all kinds of vegetables and some of them are organic. He is hoping that even more people will get involved next year.
Richie Casey and Anthony Cooney have long been involved in the vegetable section and pointed out that this year was not a great year for produce because of the wind, lack of sun and rain. They both agreed that it was however, a good year for onions and that was obvious from the fabulous display from competitors.