It attracts visitors from all over the world and is often enjoyed by people on fishing vacations.
Now there is even more for visitors to see and do with the introduction of more attractions that will delight both the casual holiday visitor, as well as the visiting fisherman and family.
With angling being the number one pastime for many people across Ireland and further afield – and one of the reasons so many people choose Antrim as their holiday destination – it is expected that this additional new angling goal for the Game Fair will be a major draw for anglers of all ages, especially with the focus on introducing youngsters to the sport.
Irish Game Fair Director Albert Titterington said: “There is simply no better location for our Irish Game Fair than Antrim, offering as it does some of the game and coarse fishing Northern Ireland’s most exciting.
“It’s not uncommon for anglers to literally become ‘addicted’ to one of its fisheries or scenic rivers.
“Whether you’re an avid fisherman or a novice, Antrim is the perfect place to indulge your passion and where else can you find such ‘fishing’ Aladdin’s cave of all kinds than at the Game Fair at the Castle by Shanes.
“The whole area is renowned for its large rivers and streams, teeming with brown trout and wild salmon, and the Antrim Fly Fair at the Game Fair is conveniently located a short distance from Lough Neagh, home to the mysterious and mighty dollaghan, a migratory brown trout which in mid-summer enters the rivers of Lough Neagh to spawn.
“This year, the Irish Game Fair has really pulled out all the stops to deliver a real – should it be real? – ‘fishing focus’, which may exceed even the most seasoned globetrotting enthusiasts’ expectations.
“At the same time, there will be so much more this year for casual visitors and their families to discover and enjoy who have yet to grace the banks of a river.”
“Who knows, maybe Game Fair will see even more people flocking to fish.”
The Salmon and Woodcock Pavilion will feature exhibits from the Sea Trout and Salmon Angling Federation (FISSTA) and the Ulster Angling Federation (UAF).
There will also be a “show within a show” by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Fisheries Division, which will have three fly casting instructors, fly tying demonstrations flies, magnetic fishing game and angling simulator.
Albert also highlighted the addition of the “Antrim Fly Fair at the Game Fair” special event.
He said: “We were delighted to invest heavily in sponsoring Stevie Munn in making a specialist fly fishing show another ‘show within a show’ at Game Fair and a real boost for Antrim in as an angling destination.”
Commenting on the new ‘Fishing Focus’, well-known international fly fisherman and trainer Stevie Munn confirmed that there will be ‘something for everyone from beginners to experienced anglers’.
He said: “The Fly Dressers Pavilion will be buzzing with some of the UK and Ireland’s best fly tyers in action.
“There will be expert fly casting demonstrations throughout the day from leading tackle companies, including ‘try before you buy’. And, if you want some expert advice, you can book a free weekend fly casting and tying lesson from qualified APGAI Ireland fishing instructors.
“One of our goals is to introduce young people to angling and there will be experts on hand to answer any questions about rods, casting, fly tying, conservation and more. Again.
“And, of course, there’s the hugely popular DAERA-sponsored DAERA-sponsored ‘Rainbow Trout Fishing Take-Out’ run by the No to Salmon Nets (NSN) conservation group, led by Bobby Bryans and his brilliant crew.
“Nearby, a massive ground-level marquee, sponsored by the Game Fair, will showcase the best brands in fly fishing, including an extensive selection of fly-tying materials, while Susan Brown will lead a special entomology section. .
“Over 20 expert fly dressers, including many household names, have already been confirmed across Ireland and the UK.”
Albert added: “I know the Irish Game Fair has had many young people in the past who are now adults and are returning with their own children.
“As angling is an ideal pastime for a parent/child expedition together, I’m sure the tradition of families visiting the Irish Game Fair at Shanes Castle will continue for many years to come and will be strengthened by our commitment towards a focus on fishing this year.
For more details visit www.antrimflyfair.com or www.irishgamefair.com