Balmoral Show gets underway in Lisburn

Published Wednesday, 14 May 2014
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This year's Balmoral Show has got underway at the site of the former Maze prison in Lisburn.

Dubbed Ireland's largest Agricultural and Food Show, the extravaganza is now in its 146th year and offers a variety of competitions and exhibitions including sheep shearing and show jumping.

There are also displays of pedigree horses, ponies, cattle, sheep, poultry, pigs and goats.

Among those attending the first day was Princess Anne, who was greeted by First Minister Peter Robinson and Lisburn Mayor Margaret Tolerton.

She toured the grounds, viewing the animals and watching some of the competitions.

It is the second year that the show has been held at the Lisburn location after previously being staged at Belfast's King's Hall.

After reports of traffic teething problems on the first day last year, this year saw a smoother experience for visitors after organisers introduced a new entrance for exhibitors.

Operations manager Rhonda Geary explained the major preparations that go into the annual event.

"As soon as the marquees came down from last year's show, we start to replot and replan where everything is going to go for this year," she said.

She said they had been working with Translink to provide a shuttle bus from the local train station.

Colin McDonald, Chief Executive of the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS), praised how well the opening day had gone.

"We couldn't have had a better start, first of all we had the weather, perfect show weather, nice and cool so the animals can show themselves off to the best advantage," he said.

"We have had crowds coming in their droves and the changes to the traffic are working well, the new car parking arrangements mean people are getting to the show much quicker, the public transport is working as well as it did last year."

One of the numerous exhibitors is Kenny Grace, who breeds traditional rare breed pigs.

He said that his pigs have been used in a number of films which has created "a nice wee sideline for him," including Game of Thrones.

He had two sows filmed in an episode at the Clandeboye Estate last year.

Another exhibitor is pedigree cattle owner William McIlroy, who keeps British Blonde cattle.

"It [the breed] originated from France, it was brought in to improve British carcasses - to improve the quality of beef.

When asked how he thinks he will fare against the stiff competition at Balmoral, he said: "We just look for luck. Everybody dreams of getting Balmoral. Anything is a bonus."

The Balmoral Show is on from 9.30am - 8.30pm on Thursday, and 9.30am - 8.00pm on Friday.

EXTERNAL LINKS / CONTACTS
Balmoral Show updates air on UTV every day at 6.25pm and a special programme, UTV at the Show, will be shown on Sunday at 6.45pm.
© UTV News
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9 Comments
Danielle in Down wrote (163 days ago):
It is expensive but its once a year. I was disappointed this year as we were not permitted to walk around the cattle pens, that is the highlight for me so not sure if i will return next year. Any word on the injured people from the Heifer jumping the fence?
PB in Belfast wrote (163 days ago):
They shouldn't be gurning about the prices at the maze..sure it's a "CAPTIVE" audience
gerard hughes in newry wrote (163 days ago):
just back from the how, fantastic day and its better than ever , great weather too
WI member in Banbridge wrote (164 days ago):
The WI charge £4.00 for as much tea or coffee as you want and a scone and 2 tray bakes
marty in armagh wrote (164 days ago):
my wife and I went today with our 2 children £46.00 carpark aswell what a good day the children. r still talking. about it. If people moan about the price stay at home..
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