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Posted by Royal on July 30, 2004 at 18:09:17:
Exactly one hundred years ago,the third annual Mayo Industries Exhibition took place in Castlebar House Demesne (Lord Lucans property "The Lawn").It was for the promotion & development of local cottage industries ie.weaving,needlework,etc.By all accounts it was THE place to be that year but just like nowdays,not everyone was happy.
The Countess of Lucan was credited at the time, for reviving the homespun & tweed industry.A few years previous,she was visiting a poor cottager & noticed a loom in the corner of the cabin.She was intriqued & commissioned him to make her a piece of homspun.Eventually,other men took out their old loom & began practicing weaving (no mention of women).Orders flowed in & the industry flourished.There's even mention of orders from members of the Royal Family.It was decided then to hold an industries exhibition to showcase the skills & produce.Everyone in the Town got involved including the Archbishop of Tuam & the first two exhibitions were successful.
When preparations began for the 3rd exhibition,that's when enthusiasm started to wane.Firstly,when the new committee was being set up,there was no room for the "ordinary man/women" on the street.Instead,it comprised of the Marchioness of Sligo,Lady's Oranmore,Browne,Bingham & Ardilaun (it was The place to be that year),Hon.Maud Russell.Countess of Lucan etc & other women from well to do families.This was very much resented in the Town,with the feeling that the committee were treating the exhibition as more of a social event in the calender.
The exhibition itself was a success & the "Lawn" must have looked amazing with all the tents & exhibits including stalls with agricultural & horticultural products,jewellery,paintings,fancy dress, etc.
There were prizes for the best exhibits & music was provided by the Band of the 3rd Connaught Rangers.
Finally,the star attraction of the Exhibition in which everyone attending spoke about for days, was the famous novelty "Toy Symphony".This consisted of different instruments,some of which imitated the nightingale,corncrake,cuckoo,etc.
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