The Fair of Fuerty, now in its 399th year, and taking place this weekend, is expected to be a memorable event and a very enjoyable one for young and old!
The two-day event, being revived this year after an absence of some years, kicks off on Saturday, 19th of November and continues with a truly action-packed line-up on Sunday.
The Fuerty Puissance Wall competition will begin at 10.30 am. Total prize fund of €1700.
There will also be a Pinita Colouring Competition on the day.
Music in Dalton’s Bar with Billy Garvin, with great craic guaranteed.
Sunday is the big Fair Day with a real family fun element.
In addition to all the animals and the presence of some top buyers, there will be exhibitions by a Farrier and a Tinsmith.
There will be lots of family fun and traditional music in Dalton’s Bar from 2 pm in the day.
2FM presenter Jenny Greene will be present on Sunday, so come along to see if she can successfully complete the four challenges that will make her become ‘Queen of Fuerty Fair.’
The family entertainment includes a Rodeo Bull, water balls, face-painting, pinata games, a colouring competition, horseshoe throwing and much, much more for the whole family to enjoy.
A big aspect of the whole weekend is the fact that admission is free on both days and fun events such as face-painting, colouring competition, etc. are also all free!
In the event of rain, the organisers have marquees lined up – as they put it, “even if it rains, we have you covered!”
It promises to be a wonderful weekend in Fuerty with this exciting revival of a historic fair – make sure to get along!
A thank you
A special thanks to all our volunteers, and our generous sponsors, for making this happen.
The public are reminded that there is free admission on both days. There are lots of events all weekend for the whole family to enjoy. All are very welcome.
The great tradition of the Fair of Fuerty
With its renowned ‘porter house’, ‘Dalton’s, sitting in the shadow of the old abbey, and its majestic church tower, Fuerty is a picturesque village in County Roscommon.
Many stories are still told of the old fair, as people sit around the bar counter reminiscing of times long gone, albeit now in distant memory. This part of our ancient tradition is hoped to be re-kindled on this Sunday, 20th of November and offer a rare glimpse of that traditional horse fair, with displays of the Old Style Farrier & Traditional Tinsmith for all to see.
Fuerty Fair was established in the early 1600s when Charles Coote was granted a 4,000-acre estate and a patent to hold fairs in Fuerty. This became an extravagant affair held twice a year on St. James’s Day (July 25th) and St. Martin’s Day (November 11th), when buyers and sellers haggled out deals, whereby farmers and jobbers fought over the price.
The ancient method of conducting business was in itself a painstaking, slow process. It would involve a lot of handslapping and twisting and turning by both parties, in order to reach a satisfactory price. A middleman would always intervene and declare “Split the difference” and ‘Don’t break my word.” This could go on for hours before a deal was done. Then, the next stage – the same all over again when it came to negotiating “a good luck penny” – and on agreement the deal was done.
The fair green situated opposite the old RIC Barracks where people gathered from all parts would be heaving with men, women and children, their cattle, sheep and pigs, asses, mules and horses. One English visitor observed that it resembled scenes of Napoleonic wars; everyone seemed to have a blackthorn stick, waving it as if doing battle. No, not at all – just keeping livestock under control!
Farming life was a tough existence in those days. The battle to keep farm and family afloat was not easy, and the fair day was to many of these poor tenant families the highlight of their year, when by chance they would meet old acquaintances and family relatives. It was truly a family day out and the excited children were all there as the schools closed to mark this momentous occasion for the parish.
When all the hustle and bustle of the fair day was over, the entertainment continued in the old traditional porter house. It was first held by Michael Nevin, who died a young man, then it passed on to his brother-in-law, James Ansboro, of Claremorris, County Mayo, and he was followed by a fellow county man from Ballindine, Michael Varley. In 1989 Dan Dalton hosted the last fair, at which he apologised for not having a half-door to throw on the floor to test the agility of those drunk enough to perform a few high steps. Joe Gately, the current owner, has spent the week piecing together an old half-door – for the girls to rise up their skirts and beat out a few steps on its boards.
So, come along this weekend, and re-live and enjoy the experience of our traditional fair in its 399th year.
Organisers of this weekend’s revived Fuerty Fair wish to acknowledge the following families who were also proprietors of “the traditional porter house” in Fuerty over the years – the Goldens, the O’Connors and the Rafterys.
While no fairs were held during their tenures, their popular proprietorship of the premises is acknowledged.