Plans to revive Spring Show have been shelved
Sunshine boosts attendance at opening day of Dublin Horse Show
Workers assemble the fences during final preparations for the Dublin Horse Show, which opened at the RDS today. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times
Plans to revive the Spring Show have been shelved, it emerged yesterday as the Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show opened at the RDS.
The Spring Show ended more than 20 years ago but the possibility of bringing it back was mooted two years ago. The agriculture show was popular with both urban and rural dwellers as it brought farming to the heart of Dublin 4. However, yesterday Royal Dublin Society chief executive Michael Duffy said a very detailed feasibility study had been commissioned by the RDS and the society had concluded that there was no need for such a show.
“The Spring Show would have to support some need on the agricultural side. So we’ve looked at that. We’ve looked at the landscape,” he said. “We’ve looked at the different shows that are there…and the conclusion we’ve come to is that we don’t see a particular need at this stage to embark on another Spring time show so we have no plans at this stage.”
A revived Spring Show would find itself competing with events such as the National Ploughing Championships, the Tullamore Show and the Bloom gardening festival, all of which have grown in popularity in recent years.
Mr Duffy also said discussions were continuing on selling the naming rights of the main arena at the RDS. “We’re in discussion with a number of parties about the naming rights for the main arena, in the context of Leinster Rugby. The capacity is 18,500. We want to bring it up to 23,000. An important issue is how we fund that and that’s where naming rights come in.”
Asked when a decision might be made, he said it was a complex process “so we don’t have a specific timescale”.
Mr Duffy said the opening day of the 140th Dublin Horse Show boded well for the five-day event as the sunshine brought out the crowds. The first competitions got underway at 8am and queues quickly began forming at the entrance.
“The entries have been very strong this year and it’s something we were watching because obviously we are very aware of the difficulties in the industry,” he said. “But in fact the entries have held up better than ever.”
The show was opened at noon by Dublin Lord Mayor Oisín Quinn who recalled how his grandfather had taken him to the show many years ago. “It’s the first time I’ve been in a long number of years. I came as a kid and I used to absolutely love it.”
He said it was a very important event for the city. “It brings a lot of tourism, not just from Ireland but also from abroad. There are big showjumping fans in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and this has really made its mark on the international calendar for showjumping.”
This year’s show has a prize fund of more than €942,000 for its 125 showing classes and jumping competitions. Five of the top ten showjumpers in the Longines world rankings are competing at the show.