Arrived yesterday in the post was the 2015 Horse Fairs of Ireland calender from Siobhan English, heres a photo of yours truly with it… https://www.facebook.com/siobhan.english2?fref=ts
The calender can be got from Siobhans website, and as well as my humble verse – retitled “Long May Horses Walk the Streets” to make it family friendly, it has the dates as they are currently known for the 2015 fairs as well as some excellent pictures of scenes from fairs all over Ireland.
The issue of Banagher Fair rumbles on, and it is of note that there is no issue with other fairs across the country, only in Banagher due to the activism of negative elements in the town who have the ear of the powers that be and an unfortunate attitude towards what is acceptable in culture as they see it in the town.
For, make no mistake about it, horse fairs are culture.
It is a integral part of both the Irish Traveller and the Anglo Irish cultures on our island, as well as in the country traditions. While we are of neither, we have good time for both, and never had an issue with the fair, which happened annually outside our door, as recounted in the verse which I wrote for and gave its first airing at “Readings from the Pallet” this year.
If for parity of esteem, in the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement – whether or not we agree with it as it is is moot, the spirit is to be lauded – of all cultures, including the Irish Traveller culture, shutting down the fair is a negative step.
It will be held next year for sure. Even if there is another blockade like this year. What did it cost, we wonder, this show of hate for “horsey folk” by Little Irelanders?
The fair has so much to offer if managed right, it along with the Shannon could be a part of a “Autumn Festival” where Irish Gaelic, Anglo Irish and Irish Traveller culture could be shared and displayed over the weekend.
And if the publicans want to shut their doors and turn down trade as opposed to hiring a few bouncers, more luck to them. The town will not die because of one dry day in the little town of Banagher!