Twinned with PlourivoFrance

               CAHIRMEE FAIR

       In the pre-1914 days, Cahirmee was the venue of what was the greatest horse fair in the British Isles, If not in Europe. Looking back the bridge of nearly four decades, one can now realise why the fair was such an event in the lives of every resident both in Buttevant and Doneraile, especially in the former. Imagine Buttevant and all the roads leading to it thronged with horses for three successive days/and the field of Cahirmee. The fair field was 20 acres in extent and the galloping field 18 and a half acres. Three times around the galloping field was one mile. The origin of Cahirmee, like many more Irish fairs, cannot be explained. It has existed since time immemorial, and is described in the ancient documents of the reign of Charles II, as the "Fair Field of Cahirmee."   The Fair was held at Cahirmee until 1921 when it moved to the town of Buttevant. The reason for this is not very clear. Some people say it was because the horse buyers began to purchase horses when they were coming in from the railway and eventually the trading started on the streets of Buttevant. Another reason put forward is that around the time of the Fair in 1921, the Irish Treaty was signed and exhibitors, buyers and purchasers arrived for the Fair, they found all approaches to the field were manned by the I.R.A.. and were told that the Fair would be held in the town of Buttevant.   There were early pointers to the coming of the great event. Every shop and house in the town would be getting its annual coat of paint. Practically every house was a hostelry for that week, and visits were made to friends in the country, for loans of bedding, ware, and cutlery.' Gypsies would park their caravans along New Street. On the day of the Fair the town itself was all life and movement. Head to the footpath and tail to the street were two solid rows of parked horses. Up and down between the two rows passed and trotted saddle-horses, and cars moved. Every yard in the town was thronged with farmers' cars and every shop in the town was crowded. There would be hardly standing room in the bars and teashops. Outside them ballad singers sang in praise of some famous race-horse, or recounted the details of some gruesome murder. Moving in twos through the crowds would be the tall figures of the constabulary, the sun glinting on the silver accoutrements of their helmets. In the afternoon an exodus would commence along Station Road, this time of bought horses moving to the station. They would come in rows of four, haltered together, and each row led by a man. With the departure of the horses the street took on a different appearance, for such horses as were not sold were stabled for the night. The street was still crowded, but now humans predominated. Here and there, of course, there was a horse or a horse and car; but now the business of trading was ended for the day, and the traders allowed themselves to relax. Two famous horses are reputed to have been bought at Cahirmee Fair. Napoleon's horse "Marengo" in 1799 and Wellington's charger "Copenhagen" around 1810. For the past ten years or so the Fair has been in decline, the number of horses are not as great as they were in the past, even though the crowds of people still come to the annual event on the 12th