For many of you visiting the Show especially senior members the vintage section brings back fond memories. Thinking back I was wondering what the Show was like 100 years ago.

The 92nd annual Agricultural Show took place on Thursday the 19th September, 1918. That is one month later than this year’s event. A ‘Fruit Show’ was advertised to be held in connection with it.

In 1918 the show was held in the Bessborough Demesne by the kind permission of the Earl of Bessborough.

The show report in the Munster Express of September 21, 1918 states “this popular event well maintained its pristine vigour and usefulness. The weather was fine, but the wind was fresh and with that slight nip that tells one that summer is bidding us good-bye.

The attendance was good and improved in numbers in the afternoon, and by the time the horse jumping took place the enclosure was well filled with interested spectators.

The entries of exhibits were up to the average of the past four or five years, and the quality maintained a good standard, as may be seen by the judges remarks as given in the list of awards”.

An example of the Judges remarks appeared after the fruit classes of which there were 28 compared to only seven this year. “The apple exhibit is reasonably good, taking into consideration the season and crop. Several fine exhibits of cooking apples, notably Brambly and Lane’s Prince Albert; others rather coarse. In desert a very nice dish of Lady Sudley was shown by Mr Bowers. In Worcester Pearmain, John Aylward excelled with a remarkable fine dish. In the collection of six cooking and six dessert Lady Quinn set up a very fine lot of large, clean and well coloured apples. Altogether a very creditable show and speaks well for the interest taken in the fruit growing district of Piltown”.

A new area for livestock classes was a feature for 1918. There were two jumping and two driving classes for horses and there was a bee demonstration.

The following table shows how the number of classes in the different sections have changed

Section 1918 2018 Section 1918 2018
Show jumping 5 22 Vegetable 0 28
Show Horses 10 42 Fruit 28 7
Cattle 16 56 Flowers 0 12
Sheep 4 15 Honey 4 14
Swine 3 0 Eggs 0 12
Goats 1 0 Baking 0

22 adults

7 children

Poultry 7 41 Arts / Crafts

3 adults

5 children

22 adults

52 children

Dogs 0 23 Roots 6 0
Photography 0 10 Cheese 1 0
Flower Arranging 0 7 Cottage classes 5 0

If you would like to learn more about the history of this great show   – maybe see yourself in an old photograph – then come along and visit our history project that is supported by the Heritage Council and the European Year of Cultural Heritage. 

Celebrating 192 years since the first show was held in Piltown, the 2018 version will have a record prize fund of €90,000.