Old-style field day draws crowds to Johnstown Castle
The RTÉ presenter Miriam O'Callaghan and Sabina Higgins, wife of the President of Ireland were among the large attendance at the St Iberius field day in Johnstown Castle, while Wexford Mayor Tony Dempsey also turned up to support the popular annual event.
Ms O'Callaghan, who was accompanied by her husband, Steve Carson, head of BBC Northern Ireland Productions, officially declared the field day open before posing for photos with a queue of people.
Sabina Higgins was at the event in a personal capacity with her sister Eileen McKiernan, who lives in Wexford and is an annual patron.
The field day is the main fundraiser for the renovation and restoration of historic St Iberius Church on the Main Street and raises a significant amount of money every year thanks to the hard work of up to 100 volunteers and the generosity of those who attend.
Members of the local Church of Ireland community put trojan work into organising and running the old-fashioned fête, from baking hundreds of cakes, collecting and donating bric-à-brac and books, operating bottle stalls, lead-reining pony rides and running a tea tent and barbecue, not to mention erecting marquees and directing traffic. One of the highlights for canine lovers is the pet dog show with a wide range of classes designed to make it as inclusive as possible, including the dog with the waggiest tail and the dog that most looks like its owner.
'It's a huge and important fundraiser for the church and it wouldn't happen without the help and support of a large number of voluntary workers who give their valuable time to it every year', said Rev Arthur Minion, who was delighted that Miriam O'Callaghan accepted his invitation to open the event. While Miriam was busy chatting to fans, her husband was generously patronising a number of the stalls.
'She was blitzed by people who wanted to take photographs with her and she was so gracious and kind,' he said. A large number of well-wishers also made a bee-line for Mr.s Higgins. Rev Minion's wife Susan baked the chocolate cake which had pride of place at the entrance to the busy tea tent, with visitors invited to guess the weight of the confectionery. Aileesh Harpur of Wexford town won the 'How many words of not less than three letters can you make from 'St. Iberius Field Day?' competition. She came up with 134 words.
Mayor Tony Dempsey made a short address in which he complimented the Church of Ireland community on opening up St Iberius Church to the town. The master of ceremonies and field announcer was Cllr George Lawlor, who kept everyone informed of happenings during the afternoon.