Field Days

Field Days were a big social event on the Macra calendar with each club taking turns to host them. Dates were selected at the beginning of the season with consideration taken not to have neighbouring clubs clashing on the same date. Sometimes dates clashed and clubs sent members to both field days.
A lot of preparation went into hosting field days. Each area would need to be marked out for the various competitions, livestock would be booked for the stock judging. Sandwich making and baking took place on the hectic day before the field day.
The Berrings Field Days were held in Cloghroe (next to Blair's Inn). Competitions were at the heart of the field day with teams of 6, consisting of 3 guys and 3 girls.
Competitions varied from club to club. Stock judging, weeds & grasses, farm management, throwing a sheave and crop husbandry often featured in the male competitions with the Macra Ladies taking part in cookery, sewing and poultry judging. The highlight for the women was the Mannequin Competition, when they got to show off their fashion, and no doubt they caught the eye of potential Macra partners here too!
The judges for each competition were recognised experts in their given competition. Each competition was stewarded by a member of the host club. It was the steward's responsibility to ensure everything was done correctly, which was of course very important.
After a number of years the girls were allowed to participate in the guys competitions.
People often travelled great distances to attend a field day. They would open for sign in at 8pm, with competitions finished by 9pm. The results would be announced at 12am that night. Each participant received a voucher for the supper and dance that would follow. If any club had less than 6 on their competing team they would usually sell their extra ticket. The supper would often be held in Berrings Hall with dances taking place at various venues including Berrings, the Arcadia and the Rainbow.
The Berrings Field Day usually took place in July and often drew huge interest and crowds. At each Field Day there was a Best Guys Team, Best Ladies Team and Best Overall Team. If a club won 6 Field Days they were entered into the Efficiency Competition for the Cork Show. This involved more knowledge with events such as Farm Skills. Although there was a lot of similar competitions no Field Day would have exactly the same competitions.
Around 1970 Berrings was the first club to introduce side shows at a Field Day and held a camógie match. Other side show activities included Timber Maggie, Loft of the Bowl, Sliotar into a Barrel and Driving a Nail.
Field Days were the main source of club income with large profit often being made. A church organ was bought for Berrings from such profit, that organ which is now in Dripsey School. There was usually more than one field day in a week with Wednesday, Friday and Sunday being the usual days.
Competitions were often sponsored by local companies. Each club would be eager to support other clubs as that would ensure they in turn would be supported. Field days were both a large source of income and a fantastic opportunity for socialising.
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