The origins of the Ballabuidhe Horse Fair and Races are lost in antiquity, with written records only going back to 1615. To the present day, Ballabuidhe Fair carries on the ancient tradition of great fairs like Tara and Tailte, incorporating horse racing, selling and buying of wares, and the display of fine horses for sale.
Ballabuidhe Races comprise over thirty races of which about half are trotting and sulky. The rest are flat races for ponies and horses, specially bred for speed and agility. These are not only exciting for the spectator, but have proved a valuable training ground for aspiring jockeys.
Trotting horses are not new to Ireland; they were introduced to England early in the eleventh century. It can be assumed that they came to Ireland with the Normans. As by the fifteenth century, Irish pacing horses or 'hobbies' were famous in England for their speed and success in races. In recent years, registration of trotters and pacers, drivers and jockeys have increased annually. After three days of racing, the famous old Ballabuidhe Horse Fair is held, and in conjunction with it, a Horse Show. Held on the streets, it is the only one of its kind in the country.
Three days of racing, with over 250 horses competing from all over Ireland for a total of €40,000 in prize money, cups and trophies.
Open to everyone on the Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday drawing large crowds to enjoy: Free entertainment, sideshows for kids all day, puppet shows, face painting and bouncy castles.
The historic Fair Gathering on Tuesday night and the Horse Fair on Wednesday which has become a traditional focal point of reunions and visitors from all over the world.