Brief History

Brief History of Oughterard Show

It is believed that the first show to take place in Oughterard was held in 1911 at a location then known as “The Paddock” or Roe’s yard at the rear of present-day Kenny’s on Main Street. This was organised by a Mrs Strevens, an RSPCA representative in the area, and it featured ponies and carts as well as donkeys and carts with an animal welfare aspect associated it. The Workhouse Field, Station Road, Oughterard was selected as the venue for two shows organised by the Connemara Pony Breeders Society in 1929 and 1930. 

Jim Stewart and Pat (Paup) Joyce outside the ‘Kirk’. The children standing at the table are Pat Higgins and his brother Michael. 

No shows were held for some 12 years until Thursday 20th September 1962 when Oughterard Development Company Ltd held the first of the current series of Oughterard Agricultural and Horticultural shows in and around the “Kirk”- the site of the present Community Centre. In the Catalogue, published by The Connacht Tribune and sold for one shilling, the organising committee members are listed as: Paddy Higgins, Dermot Joyce, Annie Egan, Michael Previte, Johnny Keogh, Martin Faherty, Joe Lydon, Mrs Greene, Bridie Welby, Johnny O’Connor, Frank Kyne, Tim Molloy and Pat Gibbons. 

From 1965 to 1973 the organising role was taken on by Oughterard Guild of Muintir na Tíre and on Wednesday 22nd September 1966 the show was held for the first time at the current venue – Corribdale Grounds. A report in the Connacht Tribune read as follows: “The new venue for Oughterard’s Agricultural and Horticultural Show – a fine spacious field off the Galway road which was used for the first time last week was a big success. Entries were up in the major sections and a feature was a magnificent display of Connemara ponies. The judge described the quality as “excellent” and said that, with some development, Oughterard could challenge Clifden as the major centre for the Connemara Pony – a touch of colour was added by a number of gaily painted horse and pony carts a novelty which has more or less died out at other shows. The organisers, the local guild of Muintir na Tíre, had an innovation this year in reviving the jumping contests for children and adults over a splendidly laid-out course’

From 1974 to 1981 the show was organised by Oughterard Community Council and from 1982 to 1990 by a Show Committee. A Limited Company – Oughterard Show Society Co Ltd. was set up in 1990 taking responsibility for running the 1991 and subsequent shows. There was further major development in 2003 when it became two–day show with the Connemara Pony Performance Championships being held on the Saturday.