The 14th century English proverb “Mighty Oaks from little acorns grow,” is certainly true about the development of the poultry section at Armagh County Agricultural Show, set within the glorious Gosford Forest Park in Markethill, County Armagh.
Just a few years ago I was approached by a member of the Armagh Agricultural Show Committee to see if it would be possible to set up a poultry section at this annual event.
A group of us, all from County Armagh, got together and with a lot of hard work our first show attracted 350 entries.
Over the years the show has expanded to well over 700 entries, making it the largest summer poultry show in the country.
The show was developed to cater for all breeds of poultry, including turkeys and all domestic waterfowl, such as geese, and a section for egg exhibits.
With new cages having being obtained, the larger entries could be displayed at their very best.
Mr Johnston from Johnston Hatcheries at Mountnorris, who produces a great range of laying pullets, kindly presented a wonderful cup for the show champion award.
Over the years a number of cups were added to this, making a great display of awards for the championship row.
This annual show then became a Poultry Club of Great Britain voucher show.
Following the success of the annual summer show, the Armagh Poultry Club was established and an annual winter show began – though sadly, due to the pandemic, neither the summer or winter events have been able to go ahead over the past two years.
Hopefully these shows will appear again when it is safe to do so and the Armagh County Agricultural Show can then celebrate its 175th anniversary.
Here in County Armagh we are so fortunate to have the wonderful Gosford Forest Park, which annually has a Poultry Fair in March, the Armagh County Agricultural Show in June, the Rare Breed Show and Sale in September, a Poultry Fair, also in September, and a winter Armagh Poultry Club Show.
The best aspect of all, having been involved in a number of these events in Gosford Forest Park, is the wonderful friends and acquaintances you make pursuing a great passion for preserving our wonderful heritage breeds.
We are all so looking forward until these events can all happen again.