Continuing to discover the Emerald Isle for myself every day, one of my personal revelations in Ireland was that this small country was engaged in breeding thoroughbred horses of the highest class, and connoisseurs and experts from all over the world come to the island to buy these highborn horses, including and from Russia ..
Annual Horse Fair & Festival
Traveller's girl on the fair
For reference, travelers are the Travelers, the Irish who chose the nomadic way of life many centuries ago. As I was explained, during the time of the colonization of the island, some of its inhabitants, wandering from place to place, thus hid from the British, often saving their lives and children from starvation and death.
Modern travelers, for reasons known, I think, only they themselves, have not abandoned the traditions of their ancestors, their modern trailers can be seen everywhere, traveling around Ireland, and as Irish policemen told me, many of them are involved in the criminal business. This is in addition to them all the same passionate love and affection for horses, of course.
Who can say today when the first fair of horses in Ballinsloy took place? 5 centuries ago? ten? It was unlikely that the then Traveler assaults in this place, in the very heart of Ireland, could be called a fair, for then the Travelers were going to exchange their own and stolen horses for food, clothing and weapons to defend themselves against British soldiers. It is quite possible that this bargaining trade later turned into a famous international fair of horses of all breeds and for many purposes, and at the beginning of the 18th century, the English king George I - George 1 granted his royal permission to local landlords, landowners in this district sell horses. Many of the horses were used for military purposes, between warring England and Ireland. Then it became such days officially called fair.
And if in 1722 about 4,000 horses were brought for sale, today there are about 80,000 horses of various types here in a few fair days!
My Route lies to the West of Ireland
I left Dublin on an early Sunday morning. The route to Galway-Galway was still deserted on this stretch of road, and in an hour and a half I reached Ballinsloi. The first signs that I was approaching the goal of my journey were the appearance of police officers who dispersed along the only road to the town, indicated the direction and tried to equalize traffic. The number of cars was huge, many of them were attached to special vans in which horses are transported, and now I am moving step by step in traffic through the town.
Parked the car and paid for parking, I went to look for the very place of the auction horses. This place turned out to be a huge playground, surrounded on all sides by high wire obstacles. People who, like me, came just to look at this exciting sight, stood along these barriers with a dense wall and it took me some effort to find a decent place to see everything happening with my own eyes.
The whole huge site was somewhat like a cross between a pit and a well-packed lowland and was divided into several smaller sites. As I saw and understood later, each of them was bred and displayed in a dressage of various breeds and, accordingly, of very different prices.
Leaving my place for a review of the fair and somewhat stunned by the sounds of a megaphone, in which the organizers constantly announced the names of horses, their breeders, prices and other necessary information for all interested persons, I went to see the surroundings of the fair, already pretty hungry. To my disappointment, there were only a few places where something could be quickly intercepted, and many visitors to the fair, like me, were hungry, so I had to wait for my food in a long line. Having received my package of unchanged chips, I mean chips, I went further, examining everything.
Around the place reserved for dressage of horses, large rows of heavy trucks stood in rows. The drivers were the owners of the horses themselves, who brought their animals for sale .. Most of them were not wealthy single farmers who earn their own bread, they live somewhere in the outback and breed horses. All three days that goes on fair, they sleep in their cars. It should be noted that absolutely all hotels, guest houses and B & B are booked a year in advance, horse experts from all over the world come to this fair, this is their life schedule, so to speak, to visit the Irish fair. That, in general, does not surprise me. Business is business. And the fact that this is a very profitable business, and not only in Ireland, I think, is out of the question.
Fair, as usual everywhere, is a place where you can show yourself and see people. I went and looked with curiosity at everything and everyone ... And how could it not be remembered that the fair was originally the place where nomadic Irish people gathered. Very festively and loudly dressed young ladies were undoubtedly an adornment of this fair after noble animals. These were the girlfriends and wives of those Travelers who make money in this business today, and the young women without hesitation proudly showed everyone who was really the boss here.
Near the fair, small merchants settled right on the ground, who brought to sell saddles, various belts, girths, special high boots for riders and all the goods that are needed if you are riding or just keep at least one horse. I must say that in Ireland I met a lot of such people. The man works, say, in Dublin, and he keeps his horse somewhere in the village. In my opinion, Irish people have a good habit of going to villages, to relatives for a weekend, and in such a way to take away the stresses of civilization, by the sea or by the ocean, riding a horse ...
Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the magnificent closing ceremony of this annual international fair, which ended with the most enjoyable episode — the choice of the Beauty Queen. But her photo is at your service, dear readers. Everything is good, which ends well, I visited the fair and managed to return home, although it was already dark afterwards, but everything is better than spending the night in a truck with horses ... For me it is better:)
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