A Fair To Remember

A Fair To Remember

Date: 05/05/2020 17:05

May is a month for marking age old traditions, of enacting rites that carry with them a hint of the pagan - of May Day celebrations and the crowning of May Queens, of dancing around maypoles and the hosting of May Fairs.

One of the longest-running and most famous of Northern Ireland's May Fairs is that of Ballyclare.

It all started in 1756, when the Marquis of Donegal granted a deed for a horse and hiring fair to be held in the town. Each year, the fair became more popular and widely renowned. Indeed, by the 19th century it was recognised as one of the most important horse fairs in Europe, with horses commonly being bought for European cavalry regiments.

Through the years the fair endured, suspended for several years during The Troubles, but returning and remaining to the present day a focal point in the town's calendar. Unfortunately, this year, with the impact of Covid-19, the Ballyclare May Fair has been cancelled. However, why not enjoy the Fair of yesteryear, as captured in this colourful 1960s film from the town's own, celebrated filmmaker, Archie Reid.