The Ossory Show – Since 1898.
The Ossory Show prides itself on being an extremely enjoyable, fun-filled day for all the family, with an array of attractions, entertainment and activities to appeal to all age groups – with ‘something for absolutely everyone!’
For the agriculturally minded the show has a large variety of classes, which are always keenly competed, including qualifiers for Cattle, Sheep, Horses, and Poultry. There are also classes for Dogs, Flowers, Vegetables, Baking, Crafts, Produce, Photography and a variety of children’s competitions. With such a diverse range of inclusive classes, the Ossory Show is a place where the owners of Blonde d’Aquitaine Cattle, Texel Sheep and Boer Goats, to mention but a few, all compete alongside the jam makers, scone bakers and photograph takers.
Another of the main attractions is the popular Hunt Chase, run over a course of 8 to 10 fences, with teams from all over Ireland competing.
In 2023 the addition of a Vintage Corn Cutting Display was added alongside the long established Vintage Threshing Demonstration, both of which will take place again in 2024’s Show. Also on display will be a huge collection of vintage vehicles in the show’s Vintage and Classic, Car & Tractor Show.
2024 will also be the first time we run our Vintage & Classic Truck Show, which is open to Retro Trucks and Commercial Vans, with prizes for the ten best exhibits – five trophies and five certificates. A Trucker’s Night will take place at the Ossory Showgrounds on the preceding night, July 27th, with live music, food and drinks. Camping facilities will be available at the venue.
There’s also something for everyone at the Ossory Show’s hotly contested Charm & Style Competitions. Whether you have a bonnie baby, a wobbler toddler, or just a natural flair for fashion, then this is the one for you. With categories from Bonny Baby, Little Miss Ossory and Little Master Ossory, to Best Dressed Lady, and Most Appropriately Dressed Couple, any member of the family can be a winner.
If all of that is not enough the show also boasts Tug of War Competitions, a Midlands 103 Outside Broadcast, a huge variety of trade stands, kids amusements, entertainment, live music, food and so much more! It really is a great day out for all the family, and with so much on offer on the day, the biggest problem will be managing to take it all in!
A Brief History
The Ossory Agricultural Show can trace its roots right back to its inception in 1898. The show, though not the oldest in Ireland, was the longest running agricultural show in the country, taking place every year, without a break – a record spanning from 1898 to 2019 inclusive.
Having persevered through two World Wars, the War of Independence, The Civil War and many years blighted by Foot and Mouth, it was the Covid-19 pandemic that finally brought the succession of shows to an end.
The show was originally named after Lord Castletown, its local patron, who was the Baron of Ossory. He lived at the nearby Granstown Manor, part of which is still standing. The Ossory Show originally took place at what is now the Donaghmore Workhouse Museum, and moved to Rathdowney in 1915. In the same year, the Department of Agriculture for Queens County (as County Laois was previously known) gave a grant of £100 towards the running of the show.
The Show moved from the showgrounds in Rathdowney to a temporary site at Ballacolla in 1999. In the year 2000, it moved to its present, permanent position at the Ossory Showgrounds, Coolfin.
In 2016 the Ossory Truck Show was established and ran alongside the agricultural show. In 2022 & 2023, the truck show was hosted by the Highwaymen Ireland, a friendly group of dedicated lovers of the road, who attracted a huge interest in the event, with trucks rolling in from all four corners of Ireland and beyond.
Unfortunately the weather prior to last year’s event was so wet, we were compelled to postpone the agricultural show for reasons of health and safety, and although the Truck Show did go ahead as scheduled, it took place behind closed doors, in consideration of public safety.
Such was the ordeal of trying to remove the trucks from the saturated grounds after the show, we made an entirely new roadway through the site ahead of the following week’s rescheduled agricultural show.
Though we gained a new road, we have also bid farewell to The Highwaymen, who have set off in search of solid ground for their 2024 truck show. We wish them every success in their future endeavours, and thank them wholeheartedly for two wonderful Ossory Truck Shows.