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Markets and Fairs
There was a difference between fairs and markets. Markets could be held  weekly or more often especially in the
bigger towns as farmers and their wives brought in eggs, potatoes, vegetables, etc. for sale. Others might bring in
salt fish or fruits such as apples in season. The ability to have a fair was originally granted by the Crown and was
a much more organised event typically held four times a year and generally over a period of perhaps three days - a
gathering day, the fair day and a scattering day when everyone dispersed. Often they were associated with a saint
or a place of devotion as at  Holywell, near Belcoo in Fermanagh.

People selling had to pay a fee to the person or body who had the rights to hold the fair, generally the local
landlord or the Town Commissioners and this often led to fights as people did their best to avoid paying. Many
places had a Market Cross e.g. Clones, Lisnaskea and Holywell where bargains could be sealed or persons could
swear that they had transacted no business in the fair  that day and so had nothing to pay.

Different parts of the town might be given over to different markets - the Pig Market, Haymarket, Cornmarket,
etc. Horse fairs were common when the armies of Europe came buying Irish horses for their cavalry regiments and
these were  held where the horses could be seen moving generally on a sloping street where  any faults in the
animal could be more easily seen when it was placed under some  degree of effort. Those in charge of the Fairs and
Markets were supposed to  ensure that no goods were adulterated, that the goods were of proper weight,  that
fraudulent coinage was not being used, that pickpockets be dealth with,  etc.

In time fairs became monthly events on a certain date of each month such as Kesh on the 4th and Pettigo on the
20th with the fair moving to a Monday if it fell on a Sunday. The town would fill up with cattle, sheep, pigs,
piglets in carts covered in sacking so that the did not get sunburned and all kinds of second hand clothes and boot
sellers, harness and rope sellers and the noise was  a bedlam of roaring, squealing and bleating mixed with people
shouting their wares and bargains being sealed with the slap of hands and the exchange of  a luck penny. You can
imagine what the village street was like after a fair day.  Older children were allowed out of school to help drive
animals to and from the  fair and sometimes the entire school shut down. The monthly fair came to an end  about
1960 when the testing of animals for T.B. came in and new attested  salesyards were set up.  

John Cunningham of Fermanagh Gold


Irish Naming Traditions/Patterns
This is intended to be just a general guideline. There may be many differences, depending upon the community. It
may also be useful for those tracing their Irish family genealogy as the same names seem to crop up frequently
within families:

Oldest son named after the Father's father
2nd son named after the Mother's father
3rd son named after the Father
4th son named after the Father's oldest brother

Oldest daughter named after the Mother's mother
2nd daughter named after the Father's mother
3rd daughter named after the Mother
4th daughter named after the Mother's oldest sister