Unfortunately the dates did not suit the majority of our regular Outing photographers and only two Club members travelled to Ballinasloe.
The weather in Ballinasloe was dry and sunny and having parked at a central hotel we made our way to the Fairgreen where the Festival was based.
At 10.30 the town was already packed with visitors and members of the Travelling Community, the buyers and sellers who made up the majority of the attendees, and which gives this Festival its unique and raucous atmosphere.
Enroute we passed many craft stalls on the streets and they were already doing a roaring trade.
The Fairgreen was surrounded by caravans, horse boxes, mobile homes, a Funfair and fast food stalls.
Inside the Green the trading had already started. It was packed with small groups of people with herds of numerous breeds of small ponies, goats and horses, all for sale. There was even a box full of ferrets in the mix.
The cry of the day was “Are ye buyin’ or sellin’, cash only”.
There was a laneway at the edge of the Green which was fenced off and this was used by prospective sellers and buyers to test horses and pony / trap combinations for speed and strength. The lane was lined with people and there were a few “hairy” moments as horses raced by at high speed.
At other points throughout the Green riders tested horses at speed with no particular route laid out, just the gaps they could find between the groups of attendees. Certainly a number of test cases for the HSA!!.
A special feature of this event were the number of little boys with their own ponies, who had been put in charge for the day. These were dressed up, with slicked hair, waistcoats and jackets, and looked like proper little gentlemen. They were happy to pose with their charges and this made for great photography.
There was no shortage of other photo opportunities and we soaked up the atmosphere.
There were no restaurants open and in keeping with the mood of the day we indulged in a Bun-Burger and Curried chips for our lunch-break. We are still here to tell the story and are certainly looking forward to next year’s event.
Some images (click on an image to open in full-screen mode) from the outing can be seen below: