Derrykeevan country sportsman, Tom Barry, with ‘Lady Lurgan’ (aka Ingrid Houwers) and a racing greyhound representing ‘Mick the Miller’ will all be looking forward to the annual Irish Game Fair and Fine Food Festival at Shanes Castle over the weekend of Saturday, June 24 and 25.
Tom, who is Director of Terriers, Whippets and Lurchers for The Great Game Fairs of Ireland, was at the launch, hosted at Brownlow House, the former home of Lord and Lady Lurgan, owners of the legendary Irish greyhound, Master McGrath.
The histories of ‘The Master’ and Mick The Miller, both sporting superstars of the Victorian era - will be recalled at this year’s Great Game Fairs with two major new events named in their honour, headlining canine programmes at Shanes Castle (close to Master McGrath’s birthplace) in June and at the Irish Game and Country Fair at Birr Castle, close to Mick The Miller’s birthplace in County Offaly in August.
As well as two major events named after the celebrity greyhounds, the Shanes Castle Fair will feature international competitions for working and gun dogs, plus displays and attractions designed to appeal to everyone who has ever enjoyed the companionship of a dog as the family pet. Ireland’s premier celebration of country sports, pursuits and lifestyle will be crammed with sporting and family-friendly attractions, from battle re-enactments, angling competitions, air rifle shooting, clay pigeons, falconry, archery, horses and hounds and medieval jousting, to living history, live cookery demonstrations plus a wide range of retailers showcasing their country wares.
This year, a major international initiative, supported by the Taoiseach’s Diaspora Fund, will encourage people to come back to Ireland for a holiday based around the Shanes Castle event in June and around its sister event, the Irish Game & Country Fair at Birr Castle in August. This initiative has the active support of all the main country sports bodies and Great Game Fairs will be offering ex pats free tickets to the fairs, plus a welcome pack and access to a special hospitality area at each location.
The Great Game Fairs of Ireland are supported by TourismNI, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and Failte Ireland. See more at http://www.irishgamefair.com/
Mick The Miller, was a direct descendent of Master McGrath; they are arguably the most famous greyhounds of all time. He was born in 1926 in Killeigh, County Offaly and went onto become a racing machine. He was first greyhound ever to run 525 yards in under 30 seconds.