One of the oldest documented original street fairs in the country is set to open again for business in Mohill this Sunday, October 28.
Historical documents dating as far back as 1620 mention the existence of an on-street Horse Fair in the south Leitrim town and even give reference to the dates on which this event should be held in October each year. Although no documents have been found pre-dating this, it is thought that the actual fair could be significantly older than that.
The this year marks the 8th Mohill Horse Fair since the event’s revival and under the guidance of the dedicated committee behind the event, the Horse Fair has gone from strength to strength, becoming one of the most popular fixtures of the local calendar and attracting huge crowds to the town.
As with previous years, traders will be bringing their animals to the Horse Fair from early in the morning with sales expected to start from 9.30am onwards on the street. Contrary to what the name of the fair may suggest. There is more to Mohill Horse Fair than simply the sale of horses, ponies and donkeys. Traders selling poultry will also be there in force with ducks, geese and hens all for sale on the day. There will also be traders selling kittens, rabbits and puppies as well as slightly more unusual pets such as ferrets and much, much more.
Trade stalls have always been a big attraction for visitors and this year won’t disappoint with everything from craft stalls selling homemade baked goods and freshly churned butter to those selling bric and brac and collectables.
A lot of the more traditional horse related crafts will also be well represented at the fair. Come along and you can see artisans making cart wheels just as they did over 100 years ago, you can also peruse the wares of harness makers and see a special harness making demonstration at the Fair. Another special attraction on the day will be provided by a father and son team from Co Monaghan who will also be showcasing the tradition of hot-shoeing. This involves making a horseshoe to fit on site, heating it and applying it while horse to the hoof of the horse. It doesn’t hurt the horse and it is a method that has been used for generations. Dancing a single turn
This year will also see the revival of ‘dancing a single turn’ at the Horse Fair. In days of old budding musicians, songwriters and dancers would make their way to the monthly fairs in their locality to perform.
Those who could dance would jump onto the back of a horse drawn cart during the fair and perform for the crowds gathered there - doing what was locally known as ‘dancing a single turn’.
This year world champion Sean Nos instructor, Edwina Guckian will be performing with her dancing group - Sean Nós ar an tSionann - on the back of a horse drawn cart near the O’Carolan Monument for the Horse Fair.
The cart will be brought into the fair earlier that day containing livestock for sale. Like in the days of old, once the livestock are sold, additional boards will be added and the dancing will begin in the afternoon.
This, however, will just be part of the fabulous street entertainment on offer at this year’s Mohill Horse Fair.
The barrel top gypsy wagon, owned by John Reynolds, will also be making a return to the fair again this year.
Former Miss Ireland Yvonne Costelloe, will be using the barrel top wagon on the day for telling fortunes through the use of tarot cards. Yvonne has worked in the industry for a number of years and has built a strong reputation for the accuracy of her readings. She will be using the barrel top wagon as her base for the day. Paddy O’Gorman
Adding to the atmosphere on the day, well-known RTE personality, Paddy O’Gorman will be making a welcome return to the Mohill Horse Fair.
Paddy will be speaking with visitors, traders and locals alike, recording pieces for the Pat Kenny radio show.
He’ll be there all day so don’t forget to stop and say hello.
With so much on offer at the 2012 Mohill Horse Fair, Mohill is definitely the place to be this Sunday, October 28.
So come along, bring the family and join in the fun!