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Death of and at Garristown and its Horse Fair

Gaigue near Ballinamuck in Longford - the approximate location of Garristown
Gaigue near Ballinamuck in Longford – the approximate location of Garristown. Image from Google Streetview

The sad and tragic story of the demise and the cause of the demise of Garristown Horse Fair, and as an apperant consequence, the village itself, from the Irish Folklore Commission, retold in verse below.

In Longford of old the story is told
Close by Gaige Crossroads there
Now fallen down, stood old Garristown
Long gone, both village and Horse Fair.

From all around there would be found
Buyers and sellers of horses strong
Every year they would appear
Deal and parley among the throng.

The village did thrive as did arrive
Traders to stay in local cottages for the night
The only fair in the county there
Garristown Fair of which I write.

But men and long drinking, arguing and thinking
A dispute spilled into blows
The way of the time to right a wrong was not a crime
That was the way of hard people like those.

It was not the first, and was not the worst
Fight at a Fair like Garristown
But the word fast spread of the fight and the man dead
The fair it was shut down.

Many years later on, the village was gone
Residents from its random set houses did depart
Between hunger and emigration, story of our nation
The village died, soon after the fair that was its heart.

Now but a field, the odd item will yield
Such as a shard of glass or a quorn of stone
Or tracks of a turf rick, turned up by the pick
That someone long dead once did own.

Maybe ghost silent walk, and argue and talk
Phantom horses still traded in Bradys field there
Garristown is long gone, its houses and everyone
That once thrived with its famous Horse Fair.


Garristown Introduction
Scans of the Irish Folklore Commissions record from folklore of Garristown in Longford
Garristown - End

Horse Fair at Ballinasloe in 2015 - Garristown would have looked something like this
Horse Fair at Ballinasloe in 2015 – Garristown would have looked something like this

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