Banagher Horse Fair

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The Banagher Horse Fair, the oldest horse fair in Ireland, is held every September in Banagher, County Offaly, Republic of Ireland.


Founded by a Royal Charter from Charles I, approx 1608 it has been run every year since. It was an important fair for the British Army to purchase horses for the cavalry regiments.


A campaign against the fair has culminated in the Revenue Commissioners, the Gardai, and inspectors from the Department of Agriculture shutting down the fair, on instruction of Offaly County Council headed by local councillors John Leahy and Peter Ormonde. However, locals held the fair regardless, a much smaller affair on top of the hill, the first time it was stopped in its 400-odd-year existence.


Attempts were made to have it moved from its traditional pitch at Market Square in the town out to the new bypass, but the sheer size of the fair meant that that was not possible to enforce. New regulations requiring a fair to have a committee and the committee to have an address meant the fair, which for the last number of decades happens spontaneously as opposed to having been organised, was outside these new regulations, leading to the clampdown. A number of supporters of the fair are in the early stages of organising a campaign to keep the fair alive, being as one said "one of the better traditions left from the times as part of the UK". Long reign the Horse Fair The horse fair was never controversial until Offaly Council started to interfere . There was never any hassle with the fair until recently when county councillors got involved .


Coordinates: 53°11′00″N 7°59′00″E / 53.183333°N 7.983333°E / 53.183333; 7.983333