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Ballinasloe October Fair reports in the London Times

1801-1829
 Transcribed and submitted by Damian Mac Con Uladh

Ballinasloe October Fair

Press reports from The (London) Times

18011829

[Summary: Continuing the series on past fairs, this article republishes the accounts of Ballinasloe Fairs (October and May) printed in the columns of the London Times from 1801 to 1828. The October Fair was then primarily a cattle fair, described as the "largest of its kind in Europe" and "the greatest in the British empire". Interestingly, horses are not mentioned at all.]

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The Times
15 October 1801

Dublin, Oct. 8 [1801]  Monday the great cattle fair of Ballinasloe commenced, but if the pacific intelligence reached it in time, the graziers must have experienced a most unexpected and disagreeable reverse to the expecations of profit. Several expresses were dispatched from this city on Sunday to instruct the buyers in the change of affairs, and if they did not travel with sufficient speed, they will have reached their friends only time enough, probably, to announce to many of them their ruin.

***
The Times
5 October 1804

The great cattle fair at Ballinasloe, in Ireland, commenced yesterday. More than 100,000 head of stock, it is expected, will be exposed for sale at this mart, confessedly the largest of its kind in Europe.

***
The Times
19 October 1810

Ballinasloe, Oct. 5. Yesterday the Earl of Clancarty, according to an annual custom, threw open his extensive park at Garbally, for the reception of the various flocks of sheep that compose this celebrated and extensive mart. By sun-rise nearly a hundred thousand head of sheep, by the skill and activity of Irish shepherds, were variously arranged in their respective columns (without the division of a single hurdle), forming, by their disposition and surrounding scenery, one of the most picturesque and gratifying national spectacles that could possibly be conceived. The continued fineness of the weather added much to the general effect. Full 44,000 sheep were sold in the early part of the day. In the afternoon the prices began to decline; and this morning the best wethers fell from 3l. to 2l. 13s. per head, and the sales were slack at these reduced prices.

The following is the correct return of the sales, number of sheep sold and unsold, at Ballinasloe Fair, 4th and 5th October, 1810-

Sold.........66,610
Unsold.....21,325
Total........87,935 E.E.

***
The Times
14 October 1816

FAIR AT BALLINASLOE This vast mart for cattle, the greatest in the British empire, appears to have suffered considerably in the actual state of general distress. The Dublin papers contain the following extract of a letter from Ballinasloe -

"First day (Sheep sold) .. 19,000
Second day ... ... ... ... 44,000

Prices ran ruinously low; 10,000 remained unsold; 21,000 less in the fair this year than last."

***
The Times
9 October 1822

The Times
9 October 1822

ATHLONE, Oct. 4 Since the commencement of this week, the influx of stangers into this town, on their way to the great October fair of Ballinasloe, which opens on to-morrow, has no parallel within our recollection. This seems to pressage, if not a high price, at least a brisk demand for the several species of stock which may be exposed to sale there. By many is the approaching fair regarded as one of the greatest moment, and with trembling anxiety they await a result which may lead to a train of circumstances either of a favourable or highly embarrassing nature.

***
The Times
3 October 1828

BALLINASLOE FAIR The fair of Ballinasloe will not commence till Monday, the 6th of October, in consequence of an order from the venerable Baron of the fair, Dr. Trench.

***
The Times
10 October 1828

BALLINASLOE, Oct. 6. The place is filling rapidly. We shall have a great fair, but I fear not over and above good prices. There will be a strong muster of the connaught provincial meeting on the 9th, and I hope that the differences which susbsisted as to the representation of Galway, in the event of James Daly being called to the House of Lords, have in a great measure subsided; but I am sorry to tell you, that there is growing up a great coldness between the Protestants and the Catholics, and I am afraid we shall not have so large a muster of Protestant friends as we had last time. We expected O'Connell, and we are terribly disappointed that he does not come. There will be a great battling, I am afraid, about the resolutions. We shall miss the Archbishop, Dr. Kelly, who they say is gone to France with Drs. Doyle and Murray to settle a concordat, but we do not believe it. You shall have the earliest accounts of the fair and of the meeting.

***
The Times
13 May 1829

The fair of Ballinasloe, on the 7th, the greatest one-day fair in Ireland, was the worst that occurred since the calamitous year of 1816. The cattle bought the proceding October were sold for less than their original price. A great part, however, returned home unsold. Pigs have fallen within these three months more than 50 per cent. And yet the competition for land is increasing. It is at least, particularly in Connaught, 30 per cent higher than it was six months ago.

***
The Times
10 October 1829

We regret to state that the accounts from Ballinasloe fair, which commenced on Monday, are very discouraging for the farmers. Sheep are, it is alleged, from 6s. to 10s. under last year's prices. Dublin Morning Register.

***
The Times
10 October 1829

BALLINASLOE, Oct. 6. The Connaught graziers are almost plunged into despair at the prospects before them. Sheep have fallen from 6s. to 11s. per head; the average of those already sold is about 9s., - not sufficient to pay for their keep. The sale of the black cattle commences to-morrow, and our apprehensions are still greater as to the result. We hear a great deal of exports to England; but really if things go on as they are threatening to do for the last three or four months, half of the rents in Connaught must remain unpaid. At the fair of Moate last week there was only one lot of cattle which exchanged hands. There seems to be as much demand as ever, but people are only offering at the rate of 25 or 30 per cent under last year. I do not know where all the money is gone. Last fair we saw men with handfuls of provincial notes, but the Provinial Bank has limited its discounts considerably, and the Bank of Ireland notes are equally scarce; and yet it is a truth, I assure you, the lands are rising, or, to sspeak more properly, more is offered. It is a joke to think that the tenants can come to time at pay-day. Poor ___, with all his cleverness and speculation, is entirely done up.

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