Courtesy of Mullagh Fair Day Committee

PHOTOS - Mullagh Fair Day slideshow

A sense of color, carnival and crowd hits you when you crest the hill that rises above the town. Followed closely by the smells of food and farmyard intermingling.  It's that time of year again, when Mullagh showcases it's magnificent self.

Mullagh is a small town in the south-east corner of Co. Cavan on the border with Co. Meath.  Mullagh (An Mullach in Gaelic means The Mound).

The fair day is held annually on the second Sunday in September.  It is an attempt to recreate the traditional fair day that was held here from 1828. In 1837, Mullagh had a market and fair for the sale of cattle and pigs, oats, butter and flax several times a year. By 1870 the fair was held on the last Friday of every month.  The traditional fair was one of the best and biggest in the north east, its proximity to the Virginia Road railway station ensured that cattle purchased in Mullagh could easily be transported to ports in Dublin and Drogheda.

The Mullagh Development Committee re-established the Fair Day in 1997 to ensure that the present population kept in touch with their rich historical past.  And to date they have done a fantastic job, organizing it and working to ensure it is a hugely enjoyable day out for families.  Even in rural Ireland there is a sense of remove from our agricultural tradition and many children from the neighboring towns rarely get so up-close-and-personal with farm yard animals.

The fairground attractions are a huge draw, in an age when childhood is dominated by iPads, wiis and game consoles.  To see a small child laugh with delight as they waltz in a giant Alice in Wonderland teacup reminds you that sometimes - the simple, old fashioned things are still the best.

Food plays a huge part of every festival now in Ireland and Mullagh Fair is no different.  A pig is roasted on a spit and the smell of it draws you in while at the other end of the town a sign advertises kangaroo, crocodile and wild boar burgers.   There are stalls selling cakes, buns and soda bread, and the now ubiquitous cupcakes, chocolate, cheese and vegetables.  Others are selling boxty potato cakes cooked over a turf fire.  

Traditional crafts are represented and this year there were forging, knitting and basket weaving demonstrations.  An old style gypsy wagon was on display complete with fortune teller installed.  Accompanying all this activity were a group of traditional musicians.

Remembering the past while embracing the future makes the annual fair day in Mullagh such an enjoyable event.  And surprisingly almost every year the weather obliges and the rain stays away.  After all it would not be Ireland if there was not at least a nod to the weather.

Special thanks to Liam Daly and Tommy O'Reilly of the Fair Day Committee who gave me the historical information and photo.  All other photos not acknowledged are my own.

PHOTOS - Mullagh Fair Day slideshow 

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