Large crowds expected for long-standing Spancilhill Fair

The fair of Spancilhill gets underway this weekend Picture: Christy McNamara

WHEN Clare traditions come to mind, the world famous Spancilhill Fair is often to the forefront of many people’s thoughts.

As the famous song goes, this year’s events get underway with a family fun day on Sunday, June 23, “the day before the fair”.

Keeping up the fair’s long-standing traditional, this year’s fair will take place on a Monday with crowds expected to assemble from all four corners of Ireland and further afield.

“It is on the 24th because traditionally the fair has never been held on a Sunday,” explained Michael Duggan.

“It has never been held on a Sunday, as the song [Spancilhill] says it being on a sabbath morning. The song was based on a Sunday so the fair goes forward to a Monday,” he said.  

Prior to the fun-filled “great day out for the family” evening of entertainment, a free historical tour of Spancilhill will take place in the Fairgreen.

For Michael, the family fun day is aimed at attracting younger members to the fair in a bid to continuing the tradition long into future generations.

“In twenty years they can say that they went to Spancilhill when they were seven or eight and hopefully we’ll be able to keep it going,” he said.

The fun day will include face painting, a male and female Poc Fada competition hosted by Clare hurler and Clooney-Quin star, Peter Duggan and a multitude of activities for all the family to enjoy.

On Monday, the focus turns towards the highly-anticipated traditional fair, one which is expected to attract horse buyers from across Europe, who flock to the fair site in their numbers every year.

“People come from all over Ireland, parts of England and even France – the fair is very much alive.

“We couldn’t work without the local landowners.

“We are very proud of the fact that we have kept it going. In a year or two the fair will be officially 400 years old,” added Mr Duggan.

Contributions collected throughout the two-day event will be kindly donated to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

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