what a day!
The Balmoral Show is Northern Ireland’s largest agricultural event and is a total institution, having just recently celebrated its 150th year. Coming from a farming community as we do, it is well known and well loved and, despite its huge popularity (our little country school is mostly empty of children in ‘show’ week!) we had actually never been as a family before.
I remember going with my granda, when I was little myself. Helium balloons and sticky candyfloss hands, the smell of hay and the grunt of farmyard friends. I also remember really, REALLY wanting to bring home one of the bunnies that were for sale (and maybe having a tantrum about it too!) I mean, I kind of felt the same way about the alpacas on Saturday, I’ll not lie! 😉
When Ulster Bank, the principal sponsor of the show, invited us along we were really happy to check it out and see what we’ve been missing out on for all these years. It was a far cry from the event of my childhood – huge exhibitor tents, shopping and food pavilions and so many fun things to experience. If you caught my Insta-Stories at the weekend you’ll have gotten a glimpse of what we got up to, but I wanted to share a few of our pictures from the day here too. Those alpacas though!
help for what matters!
After taking care of all the necessities (10.30am pizza, ice cream, and a tense viewing of the sheep shearing competition 🙂 ) we headed to the Ulster Bank marquee to hear a bit more about their sponsorship and experience their Kids’ Zone activities and Market Place. While the gang made ‘Best In Show’ rosettes in the craft area, we had a look at the stalls of some of the independent sellers who Ulster Bank support with business and financial advice. It was really refreshing to see small, local businesses being given the platform to share their passion, amidst all the other huge multinationals taking up space at the show. I particularly loved the marketplace and the notion that Ulster Bank foster, that small is beautiful too. Through mentoring and skill sharing they are seeking to match and encourage entrepreneurs, offering advice and knowledge to grow and develop independent businesses. And what’s not to love about that!
We had such a great morning (going early to beat the crowds was definitely our wisest idea yet!) and, despite coming home with only a stuffed alpaca (I’m continuing to work on Andrew for the real deal!) our first experience of the Balmoral Show as a family was such a great one.
Can you even call yourself a NI country dweller if you haven’t been? I feel like we’ve earned our stripes now.
And watch this space for the developing menagerie of Little Wood. I’m totally converted to the farming life! 😉
**Thank you so much to Ulster Bank for inviting us along to the show, and for sponsoring the content we have made in relation to it. As always, all words, opinions, images and love of alpacas entirely our own.**