14th August. Tullamore show. Midland Ireland. Fair County of Offaly.
I knew it was coming. Mr Paper has been watching the advertisements. I know he wanted to go. Desperately. This is a show and exhibition mainly of agriculture, livestock and farm equipment. This is his wine and chocolate. This is not to say what the show offers is limited to just farming. Oh no. Plenty of extra entertainment, education or fares are available. Demonstrations. Cookery. Shopping. Dealing. Competitions. There are also food markets, quirky vintage stalls and every type of seller you can possibly imagine. My husband, as a dairy farmer, loves an agricultural show. This one is a local, annual event and a pretty big deal. I am fond of the idea. It is working the day with smallies that makes me quiver a tad!
I have only been here once, when Gigi was not even four months old. I had tons of reservations. Big fair in a field? How would we feed her? Change her? What if the weather didn’t hold out? Would our parking be miles away on an up and down unploughable hill, definitely a no go for the icandy? I was a scared new Mammy. A tense Mammy. An uptight Mammy. Combine this with a baby not long out of hospital and a big busy field full of tractors and I just wasn’t sure. We didn’t last long that time. Rain. Mud. Crowds. Didn’t know where to change her. I needed out. So, we left.
Skipped last year.
Two years later and we braved it again.
Two children now…it felt like facing battle!
So how did the Tullamore show do from a Mammy’s perspective? This time, it knocked my socks off. We had a thoroughly enjoyable time.
I just want to applaud the organisation of such a show. Tremendous to co-ordinate and operate safely, I imagine the colossal amount of work that goes into such an event to be exhausting. My musings only spring from four hours, bringing two small children and being a tired, slightly frantic Mammy!
A number of points:
1. Gigi and Betsy loved the animals. Mr Paper and his parents got to check up on the livestock breeds on show. I took pictures. I am a farmer’s wife but still don’t fully get what a nice udder looks like!! Seems a bit weird..! I did enjoy walking about the section. Nice walkways made it easier for buggies. Lots of space between exhibits. Great! This Mammy gives thumbs up.
I enjoy watching the competitions. I know Mr Paper would love to see his girls enter their own animal in the future.
2. Food. Mammies always worry about their little people and what will they eat. Clearly I brought snack packs but Betsy is new to solid food so a heatable lunch had to come. I was constantly spotting for somewhere to feed her her bottle when the time came. We lunched al fresco! Burgers and chips from a van.
Not nutritious but yum for a treat. Lovely experience. Lots of outdoor seats and friendly people all in good humour. Mr Paper brought Gigi to see more livestock and I found a nice spot to feed Betsy. The Farmers Journal stand.
I hope the walkabout works off the calories for my dessert…
3. Families. As we walked about, I people watched for families. Loved spotting the different ways to look after children. Babies were carried, in strollers, buggies, in pouches all sorts! I loved spotting one very young baby being fed by Dad at their livestock pen. They kindly let me photo them for the blog.
I have a double buggy but find it lots of hard work. We chose not to bring it but I look out for them wherever we go and silently doff my hat in respect to them. Another lovely family who let photo them for the blog was one such brave group!
Don’t forget the pouch. A fabulous way to transport baby.
4. Toilets. Remember the days when this was only a side thought and you didn’t really care about loos!? Now, as a parent all has changed, changed utterly. (Yeats? You OK with that?) Parents always are looking out for toilets. My massive concern is always for baby changing facilities. I suppose we could use a mat in a quiet corner on the field but I respect my children and their dignity!! Luckily we found the show’s baby changing facilities at a few different areas. OK, it was rustic. It put me in mind of Fr Ted (as many things in life do…). Did the job however. I, thankfully, am quite organised so I had a portable mat sheet and nappy bags. SmuggyMcSmugerson…
Portaloos galore for adults. Not our fave but better than nothing. People were hired to keep an eye on their cleanliness. Quite good! An interesting option for mothers with buggies was my only bugbear…
Mr Paper always has a grievance that baby changing facilities tend to be inside ladies’ toilets thereby excluding men. Here was another example. I went in, with a stroller. There was space for a buggy. Two regular sized cubicles.You had to take the child out to use the toilet yourself! No changing area for baby. Three urinals and a sink. What??! I reckon someone was trying to come up with a good idea but sadly this was a fail.
5. Fairground games and attractions were on offer and there was a lovely buzz around this area. Great for all older children!
6. Stalls to shop at. You could spend a fortune if you so wish. Handbags and jewellery, gardening equipment and fashion, accessories and toys, all ages catered for here. Great fun to peruse. Crowded as the day went on. I didn’t overdo the spending on this occasion!
Overall, it is a wonderful day out. You need energy and time to see everything fully. I saw the cattle (obviously), sheep and pigs but missed the equine section. As a parent, you focus on what the children will enjoy leaving the Neven Maguire cookery demonstration to another day. There was definitely a focused attempt to make families comfortable and this event is extremely well organised for that.
I loved the hq tent announcements. None were meant to be funny-cars with lights left on, lost watches etc. It just makes me think of Fr Ted and their trip to the funfair!
Overall, top day. Well done Tullamore show!
PS. Thank you rain for holding off!