Cahirmee Fair has a strong history, however a history that was never written, or written so long ago that it has been lost in time. It is said to date back to the time of Brian Boru and references to the “Fair Field of Cahirmee” can be found in ancient documents dating from the reign of Charles II. The Duke of Wellington’s horse, an Irish Black named Copenhagen, which he rode into the Battle of Waterloo, was purchased at Cahirmee around 1810 and Napoleons white charger “Marengo” was also purchased at Cahirmee in 1799.
Prior to 1914, Cahirmee was the venue of what was the greatest horse fair in the British Isle’s if not Europe. However in 1921 the event was moved from the “fair field of Cahirmee” to the nearby town of Buttevant and has been held there ever since. Buttevant had became significant when the first recorded “steeple chase” was run in 1752 over natural fences from the steeple of St. John’s church in Buttevant to the Leger Church in Doneraile, a distance of four miles.
Today Cahirmee Fair has a life of its own. No one organises it and not advertised, yet Buttevant becomes a hub of activity in and around the 12th of July each year. Over the past 10 years the number of people seems to increase while the number of horse’s decrease. With all the changes it has seen, Cahirmee Fair lives on as a piece of history in modern Ireland.
Cahirmee Fair, 12th July 2005.