It's Market Day in Clifden October 25 2013 3 Comments

Market Day It's Friday again and it's Market Day. It's amazing to think there's been a market on this spot every week since the town was founded by John D'Arcy in 1812! The shape of Market Square itself has changed little since then and, although the road is now tarred, the horses, cattle and people attending the market used to trudge simple dirt tracks in those days. While the hotel building in the centre of the photo above was (obviously!) built in in the 1960s, most of the other structures still visible (including ours - the Pink House - see below) have existed ever since D'Arcy laid out the town with wide streets and grand houses. Clifden's elder inhabitants reminisce fondly about cattle marts held in Market Square; how the cattle were herded into town, haggled over, and how deals were struck with no more than a spit on the hand, a shake and perhaps the return to the buyer of a little 'luck-money'. Nowadays, these deals take place elsewhere. The Mart, Clifden's purpose-built market for cattle, ponies and sheep, is just out of town on the road towards Galway. This very weekend it will be thronging with pony-traders, eager to strike the best deals for their stallions, mares, geldings and foals. There's a three-day Bank Holiday Pony Sale on this weekend - one of the highlights of the ponyman's year. The parked-up horseboxes stretch for hundreds of yards at the side of the road and the Mart itself is crowded with anxious sellers and potential buyers, each keeping their separate aspirations close to their chests! You can hear the auctioneer rattling off lot numbers and prices in his characteristic quickfire code, intelligible only to the seasoned stock traders. The ponies strut around the showing ring, sometimes complaining about - other times reveling in - all the attention. Outside Shop 500 Meanwhile, here at The Pink House, we look out on the same street scene that the town's ancestors would have seen two centuries ago. The stalls and the people behind them may be different, but Clifden's market is still thriving - here, in Market Square.