Escape to the country with NI Countrysports Fairs
By ELEANOR MCGILLIE 29 March, 2019
FAMILIES and countrysports enthusiasts from across the UK and Ireland are preparing to gather at a 900 acres estate in Co Armagh for the annual NI Countrysports Fairs which attracts around 25,000 visitors each year. Eleanor McGillie attends the launch of the 2019 NI Countrysports Fairs
NI Countrysports Fairs, which is run by NI Heritage and Rural Life Society, and headed by Derek and Gillian Lutton, of Foymore Lodge, is a true celebration of all things country which attracts visitors from far and wide who travel to the rolling hills of the Scarvagh House estate in Scarva.
The fair, which takes place on May 25 and 26, is a two day family fun event which is a key attraction for people living in Northern Ireland but also for the hoards of people who travel from further afield.
Speaking at the launch, Derek Lutton said: “This event has been running since 1996, and, year on year, it has proved to be a huge pull for attracting tourists to the area. We collaborate with a lot of local food and drink establishments and accommodation providers to ensure our travelling visitors stay locally which is fantastic for local businesses in this area.
“As always, we will be showcasing the story of our land and highlighting our connection with our heritage through food and drink which will be key for our local producers. There’ll be cookery demonstrations by some of our much loved chefs, lots of countrysports fashions and accessories for sale and there’ll be live music with bars so the craic will be great.
“We will have a display of birds of prey, equestrian events, a World War Two Re-enactment, helicopter rides, traditional country crafts, shooting, fishing and lurcher and terrier competitions. There’ll be gun dogs and much more.”
“The Countrysports Fair is very much a countrysports event but it’s also very family orientated which is demonstrated by the increase in visitor numbers of families attending from across Northern Ireland, the rest of the UK and the South of Ireland.
“Everyone comes to enjoy this spectacular location, taste the flavours of our land, enjoy the craic with the locals while enjoying the wide range of events which takes place over the two days.
Children under 16 go free and an adult ticket is £12.
NI Countrysports Fairs is supported by Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council as well as DAERA NI Regional Food Programme.