Ballinasloe October Fair
The Fair Green, Ballinasloe, Co Galway
This is Ireland’s, and maybe Europe’s, oldest traditional fair and an annual gathering has taken place here since at least the time of the High Kings of Tara.
The main purpose of the fair is the sale of horses, and watching the hundreds of horse dealers gathered with their stock and doing business on the Fair Green is a highlight of the week.
There is also lots more though, music, especially traditional music, is everywhere, there are tug-of-war competitions, bareback riding, show jumping, a carnival and many street traders selling just about anything you can imagine.
It can all seem a bit chaotic to be honest, there are many people who worry about the quality of care the horses receive. It also has a undeserved reputation for being quite rough – it’s probably the only festival website I’ve ever seen where the Gardaí are explicitly thanked for keeping things trouble free. The reality is that rowdy it certainly can be, but there has been very little trouble in recent years and it is all good fun if you approach it in the right frame of mind.
For details of events, see the fair website.
Google is quite insistent when you search for Ballinasloe that it’s in Co Roscommon. I’m not sure what the locals make of that, it is definitely in Galway!