Creeslough Fair Day

Creeslough Fair Day
Market Day Corner of the Garden Creeslough, Photo National Gallery Museum.

Creeslough Fair Day

Local people and farmers from all over came to attend the Creeslough Fair day. Which was traditionally held on the 10th of each month. They often walked from Hornhead, Faugher, Cashel and Brockass to attend the fair day. In the poem by James N Jonston he remembers the Creeslough Fair.

Creeslough Fair
By James N Johnston

If you have never been to a Creeslough Fair.
Nor had a look at the doings there,
In the olden times lamamas or May;
You have missed a rousing holiday. 
Tis a pleasent task once more to recall 
The buying and selling by Hastings' Wall;
Where to chee the heart and banish care.
Crowds gathered from far to the Creeslough Fair. 

They came from Fanad, Glen and Castle Doe
From Cloughaneely and around Myroe;
From Ramelton and all along the Lennon
Letterkenny, Milford and Kilmacreenan
On horse, on foot, on loaded cart
From Dunfanaghy, Faugher, Derryart
By the side of Muckish, past Creamsmear
they travelled in groups to the Creeslough Fair.

Sturd farmers, children from school;
Housewives bringing spun lint and wool;
Young men and the girls they most did prize
With a wealth of hair and dangerous eyes-
Black, blue or brown there was always peril
In going to the fair with a Donegal girl. 
For full of many a match came unaware
And two hearts made one at a Creeslough fair.

There were donkeys, horses, foals and mares
Cows, heifers and calves, bullocks in pairs
Sheep, drovers, tinkers and keen farmer boys
Buying and selling with hand clap and noise.
When the buying and selling were over and done. 
The time then arrived for the frolic and fun.
So we go to the inn and stand treat to our friends
There is music and song and happy day ends. 

Farmers brought their animals along the road and met others on the way. Sometimes a deal was struck even before they made it to the town. 

The day was a hub of buying and selling of cattle, sheep, pigs, horses and chickens. With the best mart day for horses in February, cattle and sheep in May and August being the largest Fair. The Lammas Day Fair

Lammas Day Fair

One of the highlights of the Lammas Day Fair was that the Delph man came with all his crockery. And the women could get some nice bits for the house. There were also many stands selling clothes, shoes, hardware and gooseberries. 

Making the deal

Children would often attend the fair with a few coins in their hand. As buyers and sellers shoke 3 times on a deal ‘some change was given back to the buyer as good luck or a ‘lucky penny’. 

Sometimes these good luck pennies found their way into the hands of the local children who went on to buy treats at the fair. My own grandmother recalls how she would walk to the fair with  6pence and come home with nothing having spent it all. 

There was often a third person in the deal when trying to  negotiate with the sellers. The third person often tried to drive down the price for the buyer. Later the buyer and ‘faux’ buyer would meet up in the pub to recall the banter of making the good deal over a few pints. 

All too often the fair day ended in the local public hous or inn (Harkin’s).   As the sellers and buyers they drank to their good deals. Travelling musicians and fiddlers played in the pub.

As new marts opened in Milford and Letterkenny the Creeslough fair didn’t draw the big crowds and by the 1960s the Creeslough fair was almost all gone. But locals from around the area still continued for many years to come into the town on the 10th of each month to do their shopping or dealing. 

Published by mairead collett

Living the rural Life in Donegal, raising children and writing about my local area.