22 Aug 2020
We have just come to the end of our first-ever virtual show day and what a day it was! We had all kinds of everything, with 8 hours of entertainment throughout the day. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, we had a last-minute change of venue from Tullamore to Athlone. Thanks to the Radisson Blu hotel for accommodating us at short notice.
The live broadcast started at 10am, with ISA President, Catherine Gallagher, welcoming all our viewers and exhibitors at home and abroad. She spoke about the difficult year the ISA had due to Covid-19 and how we have worked to meet the challenges and adapt through the use of technology. Former Minister for Agriculture, Darragh Calleary was due to open the show, but as he had to step down on Friday, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Martin Hayden TD, joined us live from his home in Kildare to perform the official opening. PRO, Catherine Cotter gave the opening address as Gaeilge and introduced Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development. We were then joined live from Tullamore by Attracta and Roisín Brady of Tullamore Comhaltas Ceolteórí for some live traditional music.
We moved on then to the first of our results sections, starting with the ponies, horses and donkeys, introduced by Jim Harrison and Catherine Cotter. We were also joined for remote interviews with Rebecca Monahan and Tim Martin.
Next up, we had the Cattle section, kicking off with a virtual contribution from Seán Sherman, Chair of the Pedigree Breeders Council of Ireland. Well-known cattle commentator and former board member, then introduced the results of the cattle classes. We then had more messages from our shows and contributions from Sargasse Charolais and Michelle Shaughnessy with her highland cattle. We then had a virtual interview with John Henning OBE and a video message from Michael Gunn of The Irish Limousin Cattle Society.
Our next section was the sheep section, which kicked off with a sheep shearing demonstration by Joanne Devaney. Shane Murphy, Pedigree Editor of The Irish Farmers Journal brought us through the results of the sheep competitions. This was followed by an interview with Siobhán Waters of Atlantic Way Alpaca Farm.
After another musical interlude, we went to a home cook celebrity cook-off hosted by Chef Adrian Martin and Joe Shannon. After a little break for message from our member shows, we returned with the results of the dogs and pets section, presented by Valerie Hughes of Galway Bay FM.
The next section was the poultry and eggs results. Due to be presented by Andrew Beirne, we had a last minute change, as he had a power cut, so that was presented by Jim Harrison and Catherine Cotter.
Next up, Catherine Gallagher brought us through the results of the Baking section, where we had a great number of entries. We had a short baking demonstration from Yvonne Carty of Hey Pesto. This was followed by the results of the Craft and Knitting Section and a very interesting basket weaving demonstration by PJ Gallagher.
Catherine Cotter brought us through the results of the photography section, where we had incredible entries in terms of both quality and quantity. We also had a public voting competition in this section, the results of which were to be announce at the end of the evening.
It was back to Catherine Gallagher and Jim Harrison to bring us through the results of the Art section. This was followed by Raymond Higgins who brought us through the results of the vegetable section, providing deeply knowledgeable feedback to the participants.
Keeping with the horticultural theme, we went to Cork to Mary O’Brien, chairperson of AOIFA who co-judged the flower classes with Una Flemming. We had a fantastic number of entries of a very high quality.
We then moved on to the SuperShow Creative Lego section, which was presented by Loughnan Hooper, of Dotser Cloud Solutions, Tullamore.
Catherine Gallagher then brought us through the results of the Creative Writing competition and the winners of the President’s Award 2020.
We went on to the results of the public voting photo competition and our unique virtual parade of champions, presented by Catherine Cotter. The day was brought to a close by our president, Catherine Gallagher who thanked everyone for contributing to a unique day of entertainment and encouraged everyone to push back the furniture and dance the evening away to our virtual show dance.
When you receive your winner's rosette, be sure to tag us in your photos!
Thank you all - See you soon!