Limerick Show- Part of Limericks History
In existence since the 19th century, the local show plays an important part within the agriculture community. Traditionally, they were places members of the farming community would exhibit their animals and socialise with their peers. Hard work was acknowledged and celebrated- a welcome break to the day to day routine. This tradition is still alive and well today.
Limerick Show has been a huge part of the Limerick social calendar since the first annual show took place at Greenpark Racecourse in 1929. This is the first official record of the event taking place. However, there is evidence that Limerick Show was held at various venues throughout the city as far back as the 1880’s. Historically, the Show was held mid-week. Due to its massive popularity, local businesses would give their staff a half-day so that they could attend the Show. Business people were keen to support the Show and availed of the opportunity to display their goods or network with other businesses.
They say it can take an army to stop some people, and that’s exactly what it took to stop Limerick Show. In 1914, the event took a break due to World War one. After a 15 year hiatus, a new committee was formed and Limerick Show re-launched. Greenpark Racecourse became “home” for the event thanks to a 99 year lease obtained from the Limerick Racecourse Company. The new committee was made up of a number of prominent city business people, including the fifth Earl of Dunraven.
For a number of decades the event was knows as a “Horse Show”. This decision was made by the Earl of Dunraven mainly due to the fact that Greenpark did not have the facilities to house the Cattle, Horticulture, Craft and Trade Stand sections that are popular attractions at the show we know today.
That all changed in 1997 when, due to the closure of Greenpark racecourse, the event moved location once again. Committee members had to seek out a temporary location as work was just beginning on Limerick Racecourse which was to become the permanent home of Limerick Show. The temporary change of venue gave committee members the chance to seek out a new location that would allow the show to expand. The grounds of “Clonshire Equestrian Centre” in Adare were chosen. The show prospered here for 4 years thanks to the wonderful grounds available at Clonshire. More classes were added and visitors welcomed the new and improved offering of stalls and displays
It took another national incident to stop Limerick show in its tracks. On this occasion, the show fell victim to the Foot and Mouth outbreak that struck Ireland in 2001. The agricultural industry was hugely affected by this and it took many years to recover fully.
As a safety precaution, Limerick Show, along with many other show’s around the country, made the decision to suspend the event for one year until the outbreak cleared up.
Meanwhile work had started on the new racecourse in Patrickswell which was set to become the new home for Limerick Show. In 2002 the show moved into their new offices on the grounds of the racecourse where the Show is held to this day.
Over the years, Limerick Show has played a major part in bringing together rural, urban and agricultural communities. The Show aims to showcase the vast and rapid changes which the mechanical age brought to farming since the 1930’s, while also presenting trade stalls from both established and emerging local businesses.
The Show that we all know today has moved with the times offering something for everyone over the course of the 2-day weekend each August. Competitors come in their thousands to showcase their best cattle, horses, sheep, goats, poultry, dogs, crafts and horticulture. Adults can shop to their hearts content at our indoor and outdoor trade stand exhibitions. Foodies can get a taste of something sweet with our farmers market and wide range of food stalls. The kids will be entertained with our dedicated kids-only zone including a schedule of events such as the ancient art of story-telling, pet’s corner, talks on animal care and lots of other fun activities.