BACK IN THE GAME AT SHANES CASTLE
The Irish Game Fair & Fine Food Festival at Shanes Castle, Antrim
Saturday 25 & Sunday 26 June
After a two-year pandemic break, Ireland’s favourite celebration of The Great Outdoors is set for a welcome return to Shanes Castle, Antrim over the weekend of Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 June.
Showcasing the full range of traditional country sports and pursuits and with family-friendly attractions ranging from a dramatic guest appearance by a full-size Viking longboat to gourmet country cuisine, The Irish Game Fair & Fine Food Festival promises to be bigger and better than ever, with record crowds anticipated.
New this year will be an international Fly Fishing Fair-within-a-fair and an imaginatively expanded Living History section which will certainly strike a chord for anyone who has tried to inject fun and energy into home schooling in recent times!
New, too, for 2022 is a fresh title sponsor; Castlewood Holiday Park. The association is particularly apt as it heralds the official opening of a major stayover destination within the vast and gorgeous natural setting of Shanes Castle.
Announcing support for the Fair, Vanessa Elder, Operations Manager of Blairs Holiday Parks, the organization behind the Castlewood venture, said, “I can think of no better platform to mark the opening of our new holiday park destination. We’re all about providing characterful stayover locations for people who want to holiday in tune with nature and we know they’ll find fantastic inspiration in everything that The Irish Game Fair & Fine Food Festival has to offer. A match made in heaven, in a heavenly location!”
Castlewood’s newly appointed Site Manager, Amy Wright, agrees, saying, “We’re looking forward to introducing show visitors to the Castlewood #happystays concept which blends fantastic options, perfectly nestled within a stunning heritage location. In our first season we’ll be offering 25 touring caravan pitches, 7 upscale hire-vans complete with private hot tubs and 10 glamping cabins, also complete with private hot tubs, plus we’ll have static caravan pitches available for those tempted to create their own holiday hideaway at Castlewood. Our presence at The Irish Game Fair & Fine Food Festival allows us to display some of those exciting developments as we introduce the Castlewood team to visitors.”
Launching the 2022 Fair, back in fine style after a two-year hiatus, Game Fair Director Albert Titterington said, “Our event will be the only Game Fair in Ireland this year and we mean fully to capitalize on that advantage with country sports competitions of the highest international standards, supported by entertainment and attractions which reinforce the Fair’s position as a key tourism initiative within the island of Ireland. Over two fantastic days in June we will provide a packed programme of country sports, activities and entertainments set within a fabulous, beautifully maintained natural location; this is the best that the countryside has to offer and we know that audiences will respond accordingly.”
A major highlight of the 2022 event will be a new international Fly Fishing Fair created by The Fair’s angling Director, Stevie Munn, one of the UK and Ireland’s best known and most qualified angling guides, fly casting and fly-tying demonstrators.
From his home base in County Antrim, Stevie says, “I am determined that this International Fly Fair running throughout the two days of the Game Fair at Shanes Castle will add much in terms of fly tying, equipment and advice for angling enthusiasts to the many other long established angling attractions at the Game Fair. In particular, I look forward to encouraging show-goers to return to my home county to explore for themselves the excellent angling resources which we have in the Antrim and Newtownabbey region – hopefully putting some of the tips they gain at the Fair into practice on our local lakes and rivers.”
The 2022 show also features an expanded Living History experience, with an all-new large scale Viking Encampment with full size Viking long boat adding to impact.
The show’s Living History Director, George Logan, says, “Visitors just can’t get enough of our experiential approach to history, with young and old alike relishing the opportunity to step back in time. At the show in June they will get a taste for some very different eras and experiences with tributes to the region’s World War II experiences, re-enactments of some of the bloodiest moments of the Battle of Antrim in 1798 and a reminder of the days when the Vikings sailed up the Bann to claim their place in Antrim’s history, prompting the rich legends of the Red Hand of Ulster and the O’Neills. For two Summer days in June our Vikings will be encamped at the old O’Neill Castle just a stone’s throw from the contemporary Game Fair action, providing an opportunity for visitors to meet ‘real’ Vikings and to check out their full scale replica Viking boat.”
Looking forward to the Fair, Albert Titterington said: “We’re bringing together an unrivalled programme of country-themed attractions and events so that there genuinely is something to attract and intrigue every visitor to the show. From top international country sports competitions and displays with fabulous prizes to main arena entertainment; from a tented village featuring Fine Food & Crafts to rural heritage and the opportunity to see animals galore, this is a true celebration of rural living.
“Backed by our exciting new sponsor and with with ongoing support from TourismNI and Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council, we are poised for a fantastic weekend celebrating our Great Outdoors in great style!”
Admission to The Irish Game Fair & Fine Food Festival at Shanes Castle, Antrim on 25 and 26 June is £10 for adults; £5 for children aged 6-16 and £25 for families (2 Adults and up to 4 children). Parking and programme are free and tickets are available at the gate or, in advance, via Eventbrite. Keep up to date with programme details and news at www.irishgamefair.com.
The Irish Game Fair & Fine Food Festival is supported by TourismNI and Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council.