Knockcroghery’s famous Fair takes place this weekend

A traditional musical concert, a donkey derby, a live performance by the Clare Celts, a sardine tin regatta (yes, Batty O’Brien is behind that one!) and a 15 kilometre sponsored cycle for charity are some of the events that will attract thousands of patrons to the 17 th revived Knockcroghery Fair and Festival later this month. Ten judged horse classes, 21 judged dog classes, numerous sporting events, and Knockcroghery’s famous traditional sheep fair were other events promoted at the launch of the Fair last Wednesday night in Murray’s pub in the village. Knockcroghery Fair and Festival begins on Friday 12 th of October and continues in the village for the rest of the weekend.  A large crowd of local residents and businessmen attended an enjoyable night in Murray’s where Knockcroghery Fair and Festival 2007 was launched by committee chairperson James Coffey. The Rose of Roscommon Plough, Breda Coyle, was also present. Ms. Coyle, a student at NUI Galway and a native of Curraghboy, launched the sponsored cycle in aid of Roscommon County Hospital on the night. Funds raised by the 15 kilometre cycle will be channelled into the cardiac rehabilitation unit at the hospital. Musical entertainment will be at the heart of the 2007 Knockcroghery Fair. The people of the wider Knockcroghery area – which is famous for its musical tradition – will be entertained over the course of the weekend by the Clare Celts and by ‘From Clare to Here’.  The Clear Celts, one of Ireland’s best-known ballad groups, will perform live on the street on Sunday night. The Celts have been thrilling audiences internationally for nearly five years since arriving on the musical scene and are renowned for rousing folk and ballad favourites together with a lively selection of jigs and reels. ‘The Titanic’ and ‘A Soldier’s Promise’ are the Celts’ best-known CDs. The famous guitarist Paddy Commane leads the band. ‘From Clare to here’ will perform in Culleen Hall on the Friday night. This selection of Clare and Roscommon singers will entertain patrons from eight o’clock at the famous venue. The event is a fundraiser for the South Roscommon Singers’ Festival. More than €1,000 worth of prize money will be presented to the winners of 10 classes in the Knockcroghery Horse Fair on Saturday. Classes for the best non-thoroughbred mare, the best non-thoroughbred foal, the best Clydesdale type mare, the best Clydesdale type foal, the best coloured mare, the best coloured foal, the best pony over 12.2 hands, the best pony 12.2 hands or under, the best donkey of the day, and the champion horse of the show will be judged from 10.30 in the morning. The Knockcroghery Horse Fair is co-ordinated by Padraig Walsh of the Claypipe whose family has been associated with Irish equestrian showing for more than half a century. 21 dog classes will be judged from one o’clock on Saturday afternoon. Sponsored by Red Mills Animal Feeds, this section of the Fair and Festival has been organised by Michael Gately. This year’s festival will provide immense entertainment for visiting youths. Helicopter rides, a teddy bear’s picnic, and various underage football and hurling tournaments will be held during the weekend. The Fr. Denis Killian Memorial Cup & Shield finals will be held on Saturday morning at the local GAA pitch. The absence of the late, great, Jimmy Murray will be noted at this event: this will be the first revived Knockcroghery Fair that will be held without Roscommon’s most famous football son. A vintage display, a donkey derby, and a sardine tin regatta are some of the exciting events that will entertain visitors to Knockcroghery on Sunday afternoon. The regatta, which will be held on Knockcroghery River, will feature sardine tins designed by local enthusiasts, whose modified tins will race along a 20-metre course at 1.45 pm. For more information contact Batty O’Brien on 087-9236015.   Of course Sunday could be a very memorable day for everyone in Knockcroghery if the St. Dominics football team can secure the Intermediate title in their showdown with Michael Glaveys (see preview on sports pages).