Irish Game Fair is back at Shanes Castle

Thousands from all over Ireland are expected to attend ‘Game Fair Weekend’ at Shanes Castle, Antrim.

The Irish Game Fair will be held, on June 25 and 26, after an absence of two years due to the Covid pandemic.

Fair Director Albert Titterington said that the family-centered event which had introduced three generations to the country lifestyle since he launched the first Irish Game Fair 43 years ago, would likely be attended by the largest number of people in its history.

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Albert Titterington said: “The Irish Game Fair is the only major country sports event in Ireland this year and is a long awaited countryside extravaganza for thousands of enthusiasts and their families.

Living History Ireland’s encampment and re-enactments will bring to life Antrim’s and NI’s history in an entertaining and educational fashion. The main focus this year is on Vikings. As well as Viking clashes there will be a full size Viking longship

“While there is definitely a major country sports focus for the large and committed all-Ireland sporting audience, this year we have made sure that the Fair has an unrivalled breadth and depth of appeal as a comprehensive, family-focused celebration of Irish country life.”

He also announced that there was a very special addition to the Fair this year in the form of an ‘Antrim Fly Fair at Shanes Castle’ organised by Stevie Munn. He said: “This makes its debut with nearly 30 international fly dressers, trade stands, casting and fly tying demos & tuition. There’s a special ‘put & take’ fishery for kids, a bug life experience and a big game angling simulator.”

Turning to what else was on offer at Shanes Castle this year, Albert Titterington said that there was quiteliterally something for everyone interested in country sports and conservation, dogs, donkeys, living history and of course, day long entertainment in three Arenas.

Albert Titterington said: “We have the largest and most varied ‘Canine Weekend’ in Ireland: Red Mills Spaniel Tests; Feedwell Retriever Tests; Feedwell ALL IRELAND Terrier, Lurcher & Whippet Championships & Racing; Red Mills Master McGrath Challenge/Feedwell Mick the Miller Challenge; Pedigree and Dog Agility shows; Gundog Scurry organised by GR&RH, Springer Spaniel display by Tim Crothers and a unique Red Mills Golden Retriever display by Shauna McGroarty and her team. A brand new addition is a terrier maze where terriers or other small dogs can be timed against the clock.

“There will be top quality clay pigeon shooting, ‘have a go archery’ and air rifle shooting and shooters can improve their shooting by getting their gun fitted to them by Chris Symonds or coaching by Shane Bisgood, author of the book ‘The Complete Shot’.

“We’ll have horses & hounds; carriage and horse drawn vehicle driving by the Whip & Collar Carriage Driving Club; the Donkey Breed Society NI displays in period costume and static display of donkeys in the ‘donkey village’ and also Johnny Fee’s Gypsy Encampment & horse drawn threshing.

In addition, there will be free flying falconry displays throughout the two days and a static display of birds including a golden eagle. There will be a ferret show & racing on Sunday morning.

“Our Fine Food & Craft Festival, arguably the highlight of a large tented village of country living retailers.

Turning to the Living History Festival at Shanes Castle, Albert Titterington said that a full size Viking Longship and several dozen costumed re-enactors might well be the stars of the show.

“Alongside the entertainment, competitions, displays and living history, a huge tented village of themed trade stands offers a wonderful opportunity for shoppers to try and buy.

“Tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite or purchased at the gate (cash). Keep up to date with Game Fair news on www.irishgamefair.com or www.thevirtualgamefair.com

Telephone: 028 (from ROI 048) 44839167.