In August 1997, the original Strandhill Gymkhana of olden times was revived after 42 years when, with a small committee and a lot of enthusiasm, Strandhill Gymkhana and Craft Fair was born.
The stunningly beautiful site of Lisheen House and Estate was suggested as a location by one of the original members, and with the goodwill of the Lindsay family their estate and lands became home to our show. Built in 1798 by William Phibbs, Lisheen house was for long roofless and in ruins when the Gymkhana began there, and now, in our nineteenth year, we see a strong cover of ivy almost hiding the ruins completely as we prepare for this year’s show. However, the grounds and lands are as beautiful as ever, and the site remains the perfect home for the annual event that takes place here.
Recessionary times led to the demise of the equestrian element of the show, and we sadly let go of the Showing and Showjumping classes which had graced the venue for so long.
Strandhill Gymkhana and Craft Fair became Strandhill Show and Craft Fair. In replacing the equestrian events, we endeavoured to maintain the ethos of a country show, and to best use the extensive lands available to us.
Innovative ideas to cater for current trends, such as cross-country family runs and Stand Up Paddling on the shores of Lisheen, have been added to our long-running favourites such as the Dog Show, Farm Tasks Competition, Home Industries competitions, Craft Marquee, small animal enclosures, Childrens’ Entertainments, D.J. and the live performance by Sligo Concert Band who close the show each year to great acclaim.
Almost twenty years on, several of the original committee members still work on the event, and we are fortunate to have added additional – and younger! recruits to the team. We continue to endeavour to create an unforgettable country day out for the general public, and most especially for families.