Carol Nolan TD officially opens 2017 Irish Game and Country Fair and Fine Food Festival in Birr
The Irish Game and Country Fair and Fine Food Festival which took place in the grounds of Birr Castle over the weekend was officially opened by Sinn Féin TD for Offaly Carol Nolan.
Deputy Nolan said that she was delighted and honoured to officially open this year's event and thanked the Parsons family of Birr Castle for their invitation.
Speaking after the opening, Deputy Nolan said;
"This year was particularly special as it marked the 10th anniversary of the fair, a renowned fair which continues to attract thousands of visitors to Birr. It is a great event which is steeped in medieval history and is also a celebration of rural tradition and heritage.
"As a rural TD, I feel that it is particularly important that we embrace, celebrate and protect every strand of our rich rural tradition and heritage. Many rural communities in Ireland have been negatively impacted upon by depopulation.
"We must counteract this trend by sending out a clear message that rural Ireland is a great place to live and with more support and investment, it could be even greater.
"This annual Fair presents many positive attributes of rural life and all it represents. Its showcases should help to encourage more people to live and work in rural counties throughout the country.
"I wish to express my best thanks to the organisers of the fair and acknowledge the crucial role of cross-border co-operation which plays an important part in many events such as The Irish Game and Country Fairs which take place at Birr Castle and at Shane's Castle, Co. Antrim.
"It is apparent that these two fairs have embraced the concept of true cross-border co-operation in the promotion of rural tradition throughout our island.
"Cross- border co-operation opens up new possibilities for all on this island and presents us with opportunities to engage with each other and work together for the benefit of all citizens on our island.
"I am hopeful that we will see more cross-border co-operation which promotes the values of respect and unity among all traditions in the near future."