ROYAL AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY OF IRELAND
MEETING AT BALLINASLOE
The Committee of the above body having, with considerable judgment, selected, as the scene of their third annual show, at a time just antecedent to the great fair, which is one of the largest in Europe, Ballinasloe, usually crowded as it is at this period, has never hitherto witnessed such an influx of visitors, or such bustle or excitement.
The preparations for the show and its attendant festivities are on a scale of great magnitude. Six acres have been taken off the ample proportions of the fair-green and enclosed with comfortable sheds and stalls for the bloated beasts which agricultural societies delight to honour, whilst the central space is reserved for novel farming implements, with all their intricacy of cog wheel, tooth, and rack. A handsome show house has also been erected for the exhibition of grasses, seeds, flax, useful plants, and esculents. Bordering on one side of this enclosure stands the new Agricultural Hall – a vast building of cut stone, just completed or the occasion, and finished in a style of great comfort, solidity, and good taste. Exclusively of other apartments – kitchens, boiler-house, &c., it contains a magnificent room, 150 feet long, by 70 feet wide, extremely lofty, which is the intended scene of feasting and banqueting.
A great number of fat cattle have been carted into the town, and have been arranged in stalls by the judges. The proceedings may be said to have commenced on Monday, by Professor Kane delivering the first of a series of lectures on Agricultural Chemistry.
Our sketch shows the ordinary aspect of the town, lying on the west side of the river Suck, a tributary to the Shannon. Though a small place, it is one of the most prosperous towns in the county of Galway. Its celebrated wool-fair is held on the 13th of July. The great cattle market is held from the 5th to the 9th of October. At the commencement of the present century, the number of oxen annually sold at this fair, was 10,000; and of sheep, 100,000.
Ballinasloe is a handsome town, and is singularly neat and clean, owing to the constant solicitude of the noble owner, Viscount Dunlo. The streets are paved, the houses well kept, and the cottages neatly thatched and whitewashed. The church is an elegant stone structure, and the market-place, (which is engraved), much resembles that of an English town: would that such scenes were less rare in Ireland.
Source: The Illustrated London News, October 4, 1845, p. 224.