Markets and Fairs


Visits to the local markets and fairs were a regular part of the farming calendar. Such occasions provided opportunities to buy and sell livestock as well as socialise with other members of the farming community. Robert Chesney’s father had a small lorry which was used to transport cattle to and from markets and fairs.

Robert has happy memories of travelling in the lorry to pick up cattle that his father had bought in Cushendall and other places. John Cushinan remembered the monthly cattle fairs in Bellaghy and Antrim, both about 8 miles from their farm. Leslie Bell can just about remember Bellaghy fair. He recalls walking to it from his grandfather’s farm near Bellaghy and the large crowds of people who had gathered at it. For him it was ‘like being at a carnival’.

John Cushinan tells a story about Bellaghy fair:

My uncle had a bit of an experience. … One morning he went over to fodder the cattle and the gate was lying wide open. And it suddenly struck him – it was Monday, Bellaghy fair day. And he headed for Bellaghy. He got his cattle in Breslin’s yard in Bellaghy. They had been bought by a cattle dealer innocently enough and he had to give the name of the man he had bought them off – and he paid dear for it … six months or something. Those cattle had been driven into Bellaghy and my uncle had to drive them home again!
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