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Strabane Farming Society

Song for the Strabane Farming Society & Premiums awarded

Strabane Photograph by Ken Finlay

The following song was written on viewing the Exhibition of the Strabane Farming Society in 1848, By Robert Young.

Air- Merrily Danced the Quaker

While others are intent on war,
The scourge of every nation,
We, at Strabane prefer the plan,
Of rural renovation.
Improving stock, each well bred flock,
On hill and valley grazing,
Delights the eye when passing by,
Of all upon them gazing.
Then till the land with steady hand,
Forget not thorough draining,
Green crops, good grain, by it you’ll gain,
Both man and beast sustaining.

Banks down may go, and merchants, though,
Once rich and high in station,
From Fortune’s wheel reverse may feel,
And come to ruination.
But farmers who, their duty do,
And spade and plough keep going
The stream of wealth, to cheer their health,
Will for them still be flowing
Then till the land &c.

The landlord’s pride, if true and tried,
When in his carriage driving,
Should always be, in country free,
To see his tenants thriving.
A yeoman bold, will law uphold,
Defying disaffection,
For Queen and State, ‘gainst traitor’s hate
Be still a sure protection.
Then till the land &c.

Looking east from the Liskey Road – located to the south-west of Strabane

21 Feb. 1834
In conformity to a resolution passed at a meeting of several members of the Strabane Farming Society, held in the town hall, on the 4th ult., several persons assembled for the purpose of establishing a Farming Society, to comprise the baronies of Strabane and Raphoe. James SINCLAIR Esq. in the chair, John SPEER Esq. was requested to act as secretary and Mr. Wm. STEVENSON as treasurer to the Society. (Ballyshannon Herald)

Tuesday 10 Oct. 1837 Strabane Farming Society

The Cattle show of this society took place on Thursday last, at Strabane, when the following premiums were adjudged;

Brood Mare and Foal
1st premium £1 10s. to Mr. Michael CAVANAGH, Greenlaw
no other claimants.

Cows & Heifers (Gentlemen’s Class)
1st premium to James SINCLAIR Esq. Holywell
2nd premium to Rev. Robert HUME, Urney
3rd premium to Wm. STEWART M. D. Lifford

Farmer’s Class
1stpremium £1 10s. to Mr. Thomas BARNHILL, Backfence
2nd premium £1 to Mr. John ENTRICAN, Gortlogher
3rd premium 15s. to Mr. David WOODS, Peacock Bank

1st premium £1 5s. to Mr. William HAMILTON Coolaghey
2nd premium 15s. to Captain AUCHINLECK, Mulvyne

Ewes (Best pen of 5)
1st premium £1 10s. to Mr Wm. HAMILTON, Coolaghey
2nd premium £1 to Captain AUCHINLECK, Mulvyne
3rd premium 15s. to Mr. David WOODS, Peacock Bank

1st – £1 10s. to Mr. James PATTEN, Sion
2nd – £1 to Mr. James WOODS, Glentimon

1st – £2 to Mr. Thomas BARNHILL, Backfence
2nd – £1 15s. to Mr. Donald M’DONALD, Bailee
3rd – £1 10s to Mr. James WOOD, Glentimon
4th – 15s. to Mr. David WOODS, Peacock Bank

1st – £2 to Mr. Thomas BARNHILL, Backfence
2nd – £1 15s to Mr. Hugh STEWART Sr., Liskey
3rd – £1 10s. to Mr. Donald M‘DONALD, Bailee
4th – £1 to Mr. William PATRICK, Carnkenny

Reclaiming Land – First Class
1st – £2 to Mr. James PATTEN, Sion
2nd – £1 to Mr. John WOODS, Sion
3rd – 10s. to Mr. John BROWN, Magheragar

Reclaiming Land – 2nd Class
1st – £2 to Mr. Denis M’CLASSON, Stranagawilley – no other claimant

Fences 1st Class
1st – £2 to Mr. WOODS, Sion
2nd – £1 to Mr. James PATTEN, Sion
3rd – 10s. to Mr. Alexander BROWN, Magheragar

Fences 2nd Class
1st – £2 to Mr. Philip O’NEILL, Holyhill – no other claimant

Neat Cottages
1st – £2 to Mr. David WOODS, Peacock Bank – Second premium, no merit.

1st – £2 to Mr. William PATRICK, Carnkenny
2nd – £1 to Mr. Alexander BROWN, Magheragar
3rd – 10s. to Mr. Hugh STEWART, Liskey

1st – £1 to Mr. Robert M’CREA, Grange
2nd – 15s. to Mr. Hugh STEWART, Liskey

Farm Servants

1st – £1 10s. to Thomas ALLEY servant to Mr. Alexander BROWN
2nd – 17s. 6d. to Robert KELSO, servant to Mr. John ENTRICAN
3rd – 12s. 6d. to Alexander COLHOUN, servant to Mr. Jas. WOODS

Female Servants
1st – £1 10s. to Rebecca SAMMERY servant to Mr. James WOODS
2nd – 17s. 6d. to Isabella DOROUGH, servant to Mr. Robert M’CREA
3rd – 12s. 6d. to Elizabeth DIXON, servant to Mr. Robert M’CREA

21 Oct. 1848 – Strabane Union Farming Society

Annual Cattle Show

The annual exhibition of stock of this flourishing Society took place in Strabane, on Monday last. The place selected for the show was the Butter Market and at the hour of 12 o’clock, the gates being thrown open, the yard was, in a short time, filled by a large and respectable assembly of merchants of the town and farmers of the surrounding district.

The arrangements in the yard reflected much credit on those gentlemen on whom the duties so unexpectedly devolved, owing to the unavoidable absence of the very efficient secretary, William SINCLAIR Esq., from the illness of a relative. The show of cattle, of all descriptions, was comparatively small, but there was a marked improvement in the breed. Of bulls there were few exhibited. One splendid animal, however, of the Durham breed, the property of William HAMILTON Esq. Coolaghy, attracted universal admiration. There were few cows, but an average show of heifers. Of horses, the turn out was exceedingly scanty. Only one boar was shown. It belonged to Mr. KERR of Raphoe and was much admired, as was also a sow belonging to Mr. Robert HOLMES of Strabane.

In green crops, as usual with this Society, the exhibition was highly creditable to the entire district comprised within the operations of the Strabane Farming Society, there being some splendid specimens of swedish and aberdeen turnips, mangel wurzel, carrots, parsnips, cabbages, &c. Some excellent specimens of various descriptions of seeds and grasses were exhibited, as also one sample of rye grown by Mr. James M’CREA. We noticed Sir R. A. FERGUSON Bart. M.P., Lord Erne and several other gentlemen and farmers in the show-yard.

At 4 o’clock, about 50 gentlemen, members and supporters of the Society, sat down to dinner at the Abercorn Arms Hotel, which was served up in Mrs. IRWIN’S usual good style. Benjamin HUMFREY Esq., high sheriff of Donegal, occupied the chair and William FENWICK Esq. of Greenhill, acted as croupier. On the right of the chairmen sat Ferguson KNOX Esq. the High sheriff of Tyrone and throughout the room we noticed;

Dr. MITCHELL, Strabane
Dr. HAMILTON, Ballyfatton
Samuel KERR, Raphoe
Francis O’NEILL, Mountpleasant
William GLASSE
William RAMSAY
William HAMILTON, Coolaghy
John M’CREA jun., Grange
Dr. CLARKE, Porthall
James CLARKE, Porthall
Alexander LENEY M.D.
Henry LOWRY Esq., Drumcrow
_ GRAHAM, Ballybogan
John ADAMS, Ballyfatton
_ WITHEROW, Raphoe
James MARTIN, Strabane
John SHIELS, Strabane

and more. None who witnessed the show today but must confess that the exhibition of cattle was such as to convince them that they were improving in the breed of stock and as for the show of green crops, roots and seed wheat, it was excellent. Altogether, the prospects of the Strabane Farming Society are very much improved.

Mr. KERR said that they found the turnip cultivated extensively and in most cases, with great care and skill, but the parsnip, from which so much was expected, has almost disappeared. The quantity of carrots grown was very limited. A large breadth of potatoes has been planted in the district and he was sorry to say that the failure was deplorable, as it did not appear to him that one-third of that valuable crop would be saved. As a Donegal man, he regretted to observe the apathy with which the proceedings of this most important and useful Society were regarded in that county and he would say that this prevailed in a greater degree on the estate of Lord Abercorn, which is among the first properties in the north of Ireland. The tenantry are most respectable and intelligent and yet, it is an extraordinary fact, that Mr. Henry LOWRY was the only competitor for green crops on Lord Abercorn’s Donegal estate. How to account for this he knew not. Whether it exists with the tenants themselves, or that there is a screw loose at head quarters, he could not tell. He would mention another circumstance which, although not exactly in the range of their duty, would not be out of place and he would add it as a codicil of his own. On visiting Mr. M’CREA’S farm, they were delighted with the beautiful scenery which presented itself, as the celebrated valley of Todmorden in Yorkshire, was not more magnificently grand and picturesque, but it wanted one shade in the picture, it was bare and naked, where millions of larch and mountain ash might flourish. Larch was soon likely to become an article of commercial importance and would, in 20 years, pay 500 per rent on the outlay. This beautiful farm was situated on the Abercorn Tyrone estate.

Mr. John M’CREA jun. – “This cannot be my father’s farm you allude to?
Mr. KERR said that he knew little of the locality, but the farm he meant was situated a short distance above Mr. LOWTHER’S mill.
Mr. M’CREA – “Oh, that is Mr. James M’CREA’S farm, of Cavanalee.

Mr. KERR remarked that his young friend, Mr. M’CREA, was no doubt anxious that he should not confound his father’s farm with any other and it was a very proper feeling on his part. He was most happy to bear testimony to the state of Mr. M’CREA’S farm at Grange. His duties sometimes called him to look narrowly into the state of large and small properties, as well as, large and small farms and he could safely say he had not, in the course of his experience, found a concern in more “apple-pie” order, or where good practical farming is carried on with more system, or to better effect.
Mr. HAMILTON of Coolaghy, briefly acknowledged a compliment.
Dr. MITCHELL of Strabane, being called on, said he was slow to rise of not being much elated at his success. He had been successful in a few things and he hoped for the future to be more careful and be successful in many cases. He was only a secondary farmer, owing to his avocations, but there were many things connected with the medical profession, which were of essential importance to the scientific farmer. And medical men, in general, who have attended to it, have been most successful in farming. They had only look at the names of LIEBIG, PLAYFAIR, JOHNSTON, Sir Robt. KANE and Dr. HODGES, all medical men, who were instrumental in prosecuting agricultural pursuits by scientific means and were exceedingly useful in establishing a new era in agriculture. In his experience he had found bone dust and guano useful in forwarding green crops and in turnip culture, it would be well to use the bone dust, in addition to the farm yard manure, as it gave an early start to the turnip and enabled it to contend with its enemies in infancy.

Mr. KERR here alluded to the mode of cultivation adopted on Dr. MITCHELL’S farm. He saw there a mixed crop and it was impossible for any man to take more off the land.

Mr. David WILSON, one of the judges of black cattle, had great pleasure in acting with Mr. CLARKE and Mr. M’DONALD and according to their judgment, they gave a fair and conscientious decision and one, he hoped, that would cause no offence to any party.

List of premiums;
1st William HAMILTON, Coolaghy
2nd James SINCLAIR
3rd James SINCLAIR
5th Mr. Hugh HAMILTON

1st Robt. M’CREA
2nd Mr John SHIELS
3rd William HAMILTON
4th Mr Robert PORTER

2 year old Heifers
1st Robert M’CREA
2nd John ADAMS
3rd Samuel KERR
4th James SINCLAIR

1 year old Heifers
1st. Rev. Mr. HUME
2nd Mr. John ADAMS
3rd Mr. William WILSON

Bull Calves
1st James CLARKE
2nd Mr James WITHEROW

Heifer Calves
1st Mr. William WILSON
2nd Samuel KERR

Fat Stock
1st David WILSON
2nd Robert M’CREA

Judges – Mr. M’DONALD, Mr. David WILSON and Mr. Andrew CLARKE

1st Mr. William M’CREA
2nd William HAMILTON
3rd William SINCLAIR
4th Mr. David WILSON

1st David WILSON
2nd William SINCLAIR
3rd William HAMILTON
4th and 5th William SINCLAIR

Judges – James M’CREA, Mr. Richard GRAHAM and Mr. M’KEON

Swine – Boars
1st A. F. KNOX
2nd Neal DOHERTY
3rd Mr Robert HOLMES

1st Samuel KERR
2nd Mr. Robert HOLMES
3rd Mr. Neal DOHERTY

Judges – Mr. John M’FARLAND, Mr. John M’GARIGLE

Mares and Foals
1st Mr David WILSON
2nd William HAMILTON
3rd James CLARKE

1st Mr. Wm. HAYES
2nd Mr. Henry LOWRY
3rd George KNOX

Turnips 1st class
1st Robert M’CREA, Grange
2nd James SINCLAIR

Turnips 2nd Class
1st Dr. MITCHELL Strabane
2nd Mr. William M’CREA
3rd Mr. James M’CREA
4th Mr. William HAYES
5th Mr. John SHIELS

Mangel Wurzel
1st class – Samuel KERR
2nd class – Mr. Walter SCOTT

1st Class – Robert M’CREA
2nd Class – Mr. Walter SCOTT

1st Class – William SINCLAIR
2nd Class – No competitor

Farm Servants
1st – Michael M’CAULEY servant of Mr. James M’CREA
2nd James DEVIN servant of Mr. WITHEROW
3rd – John CONAGHAN servant of William SINCLAIR
4Th – James Mitchell servant of Mr. WITHEROW

Royal Agricultural Society Pemiums
1st Class – Medal for bull to William HAMILTON
Drilled Crop – R. M’CREA, Grange
Draining – George KNOX, Lifford

2nd Class – medal for best farm to Mr. Walter SCOTT, Strabane
Draining – Dr. MITCHELL
Best labourer’s cottage – Adjudged Robert M’CREA, Grange, as being on his farm.

turnips skirving Purple Top Yellow Bullock – Dr. MITCHELL Strabane

Turnips Skirving Swede –
1st William SINCLAIR
2nd Mr. Neal DOHERTY

Mangel Wurzel long red –
1st Mr Andrew CLARKE
2nd Samuel KERR, for Red Globe

Carrots – Long red – Mr. Andrew CLARKE
Parsnips – Samuel KERR
Drumhead Cabbage – Wm. SINCLAIR
White Wheat – 1st. Mr. John ADAMS; 2nd Mr James CLARKE
Red Wheat – 1st. Mr John ADAMS; 2nd Mr. HAYES
Turnip Seeds – 1st. Mr. James BRODIE; 2nd William SINCLAIR
Grass Seeds – Italian Rye – William SINCLAIR
Timothy Grass Seed – Mr James BRODIE
Perennial Grass – Mr WITHEROW
Beans – Rev. Robert HUME
Winter Grey Don Oat – Wiliam SINCLAIR
Rye -Mr. James M’CREA
Judges – Mr. WALKER and Mr. WEIR

“Traffic Jam in the Sperrins” Photograph by Philip McErlean

Strabane Union Farming Society 31 Oct. 1861

The annual show of cattle, agricultural produce &c., in connection with the above society, was held in the public market, Strabane, on Thursday last. The show was one of the most successful held for many years past and the quality of the cattle exhibited generally, was above the average merit. The entries were over 150. The green crop show were first rate, the turnips and marigolds being of prime quality. Among animals, the swine made splendid turn out, while young stock gave evidence that the farmers of the district were not indifferent to the profits resulting from rearing good stock. The day being remarkably fine, there was a good attendance at the show yards.

The dinner was held as usual, in the Courthouse at 5 o’clock. It was supplied by Mrs. DOHERTY and gave entire satisfaction. About 50 gentlemen sat down, T. W. D. HUMPHREYS Esq. of Mill town House, occupying the chair and Robert M’CREA Esq. Grange, acted as croupier. The Chairman called on Mr. John M’CREA, Maghareagh (?) honorary secretary to the society, who read as follows, the award of the judges.

Mares and Foals 1st Class, 6 entries
1st Mr. Andrew CLARKE
2nd Mr. William M’CREA, Farmhill

2nd Class, 3 entries
1st Mr. Jas. BOYLE
2nd Mr. William DUNN

Bulls 1st Class, 8 entries
1st Mr. George ALEXANDER
2nd Mr. John WEIR
3rd Mr. HUNTER

2nd Class, 4 entries
1st Mr. William BOAK
2nd Mr. John KNOX

Dairy Cows 1st Class, 11 entries
1st Mr. Samuel DONNELL
2nd Mr. Robert GORDON
3rd Mr. William M’CREA
4th Mr. Robert M’INTYRE

2nd Class, 9 entries
1st Mr. John M’IVOR
2nd Mr. John KNOX
3rd Mr. Robert HAYES

Two year old Heifers 1st class, 10 entries
1st Mrs. Clark, Porthall
2nd Mr. Wm. Hamilton
3rd Mrs. Clarke

2nd class, 8 entries
1st Mr. Andrew M’INTYRE
2nd Mr. John KNOX
3rd Mr. James CULLEN

Yearling Heifers 1st class, 13 entries
1st Mr. HUNTER, Baronscourt
2nd Mr. Robert GORDON
3rd Mr. James KING, Glensmoyle

2nd class, 6 entries
1st Mr. James WATSON
2rd, Mr. John M’IVOR
3rd. Mr. John KNOX

Bull Calves (one year) 1st class, 3 entries
1st Mr. Godfrey MacNEILL
2nd Mr. HUNTER, Baronscourt

2nd class, 5 entries
1st Mr Robert HAYES
2nd Mr. James CULLEN
3rd Mr. John KNOX

Heifer Calves 1st Class, 6 entries
1st Mr. H. GAMBLE
2nd Mr. John WEIR
3rd ditto.

2nd Class, 7 entries
1st Mr. John M’IVOR
2nd Mr. F. COLHOUN
3rd James CULLEN

Rams 1st Class, 8 entries
1st Mr. William HAMILTON
2nd ditto
3rd Mr. HUNTER

2nd Class, 2 entries
1st Mr. James WADE
2nd Mr. James GRAHAM, Cavanlee

Ewes (pen of 3) 1st Class, 4 entries
1st Mr. William HAMILTON
2nd Mr. James KING
3rd Mr. T. H. GAMBLE

2nd Class, 3 entries
1st Mr. Thomas BAIRD
2nd Mr. James WADE
3rd Mr. James GRAHAM

Boars, 1st class, 2 entries
2nd Mr T. H. GAMBLE

2nd class, 5 entries
1st Mr. William DUNN, Ardstraw
2nd Mr. James GRAHAM
3rd Mr. B. G. GLENN

Breeding Sows 1st class, 6 entries
1st Mr. James GRAHAM, Ballyroan
2nd Mr Samuel DUNN
3rd Mr. James KING

2nd class 8 entries
1st, Mr. John M’IVOR
2nd Mr. Wm. DUNN

Judges of cattle &c. Messrs. James MACKEY, Seskanore; John M’ILWAINE, Carrigans; James BAIRD, Inchany.

Turnips first Class, 6 entries
1st Mr. Robert M’CREA, Grange
2nd Mr. Robert GORDON
3rd Mr. HUNTER

Second Class, 8 entries
1st Mr. James BROWN
2nd Mr. James CULLEN
3rd Mr. Wm BOAK
4th Mr. F. COLHOUN
5th Mr. John KNOX

Mangels First class, 3 entries
1st. Mr. R. M’CREA
2nd Mr, J. M’CREA

Second class, 1 entry
Mr. William WHITE

Butter, 3 entries
1st Mr. James WADE
2nd Mr. James WATSON

Flax (best cwt.), 5 entries
1st Mr. R. M’CREA
2nd Mr. James CULLEN
3rd Mr. Thomas BAIRD

Swede Turnips, 4 entries
1st Mr. R. GORDON
2nd Mrs. CLARKE

Cabbages, 1 entry
Mr. R. Gordon

Mangels, 1 entry

Judges Messrs. James MOORE, Loughash; David WOODS, Glentymon and Mr. ROBINSON, Murlog.

transcribed & compiled by Teena from the Derry Journal & the Londonderry Sentinel

along with “The Poetical Works of Robert Young with Copious Notes, Etc.” by Robert Young 1863