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Countdown To Irish Game Fair And Fine Food Festival

26 April 2016

Launching the event with Eddie The Eagle Owl  is Councillor Thomas Hogg, Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, accompanied by Ingrid Houwers a.k.a. Ulster-Scots heroine Betsy Gray, one of the many historical characters who will be represented at the event.


Ireland’s premier celebration of country sports, pursuits and lifestyles has been officially launched amidst a blaze of Summer sunshine at Antrim Castle Gardens by Councillor Thomas Hogg, Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey.

Over the action-packed weekend of 25 and 26 June Shanes Castle will once again be home to the Irish Game Fair & Fine Food Festival which this year has brought on board Northern Ireland’s award-winning home improvement company, the Betterhomes Group, as title sponsor.

The move will see major new attractions and facilities added to the traditional line up at the event and will showcase Betterhomes’ impressive range of quality home improvement products and services to a Province-wide audience.

Welcoming the new sponsor and looking forward to June’s two-day spectacular, Albert Titterington, Irish Games Fair Director, said, “We are delighted to expand our support from the commercial sector with this fabulous vote of confidence from a leading and high profile business. I would also pay tribute to the continuing support we receive from Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and Tourism Northern Ireland which recognises and enhances the positive economic impact which the annual Irish Game Fair has on the local economy.

“The combination of public and private sector backing is allowing us to add substantially to our already extensive events and attractions programme whilst maintaining a value-for-money admission fee that makes the event accessible for families.  We also offer superb cash prize pots for our countrysports challenges, which in turn means we attract the cream of sportsmen and women from across these islands and beyond. 

“This is our 59th event over 38 years and it is a matter of pride for all of us at The Great Game Fairs of Ireland to build on our successes, developing and expanding what we do and providing an international showcase for our region’s rich rural traditions in sport, culture, cuisine … and craic!”

This year visitors and local families alike will flock to our stunning location at Shanes Castle to enjoy an event that is crammed with attractions, from battle re-enactments, angling competitions, air rifle shooting, clay pigeons, falconry, archery, horses and hounds and medieval jousting, to the chance to wander through a real living history village. There will also be live cookery demonstrations in the Fine Food Festival and a wide range of retailers showcasing their country wares: The 2016 Irish Game Fair promises to have it all.

Looking forward to donning his welly boots and joining in the fun of the Irish Game Fair, Councillor Hogg, an enthusiastic and committed countryman, said,

“I am looking forward to seeing the action packed programme taking place at Shane’s Castle in June including clay shooting, international gundogs, carriage driving and falconry displays.  I am delighted the Council is sponsoring the Irish Game Fair as this event highlights Antrim and Newtownabbey’s position as the natural gateway to the largest fresh water lake in the British Isles, Lough Neagh, captivating visitors with its tranquil atmosphere and Christian heritage.”

Speaking at the launch, Betterhomes Group Partner, Gary Sinnerton, said, “We’re very proud to be award winners in our own specialist sector, having just secured the Network Veka Best In Ireland Award for Customer Service award for the fifth year running, and to associate ourselves with award winners in another arena: that of countrysports and events.

We undertake a considerable amount of business in and around Antrim and we are delighted to have the opportunity to underline our commitment to the local community by supporting one of its biggest annual attractions.  Our presence at Shanes Castle in June will also allow us to present our products and services to a diverse range of discerning visitors.

“ The Betterhomes Group offers a vast array of products to add comfort and value to homes in both town and country including, external doors, windows, kitchens, bathrooms, conservatories, bi folds, roofline and sunrooms. The variety of our work is immense, from state of the art modernity to traditional country style, but whatever the customer choice, all our work is underpinned by traditional craftsmanship.  That quality ethos sits very happily with the Irish Game Fair which is always one of the most exciting and action-packed 'days out' for the whole family.”

Visitors to the show will see Betterhomes’ range of exquisite quality products designed to improve any home ‘from a castle to a cottage,’ while visiting Ireland's premier game fair and country sports event in June.

The Irish Game Fair and Fine Food Festival is supported by Tourism NI and Antrim and Newtownabbey Council and is part of the NI Year of Food and Drink 2016.