The ‘Dealin Men’ return to Crossmaglen

August 17, 2010

By Brónagh Murphy

Organisers of a community festival to be held in Crossmaglen next month say the event will give people throughout the area the opportunity to be part of a community-based initiative and will help the town move away from the negative image which has dogged it for decades.

The Dealin’ Men Festival will take place over the weekend of 3rd-5th September.  Offering a glimpse back to the famed ‘Crossmaglen Traditional Weekend’ of the 1980s, the main aim of the festival is to recreate the close community spirit for which the town has been renowned.

Crossmaglen Community Association is responsible for the organisation of the event and its committee hopes the whole community will come out and support their efforts and enjoy the vast range of activities which will be held over the weekend.

Speaking ahead of the festival’s official launch tomorrow (Tuesday) evening, chairperson Maeve McKeown said: “The Community Association is all about working with the whole community.  We want to see Crossmaglen being portrayed in a positive way and feel this festival is an ideal way to encourage the community to come together.

“We want to recreate the special community spirit and atmosphere that was enjoyed with the famous Traditional Weekend and Horse Fair during the 80s when the whole town came out to enjoy the festival.

“It is hoped this festival will be a huge success and perhaps grow to become an annual event in the town,” she added.


Crossmaglen Community Association operates on a voluntary basis and the Dealin’ Men Festival is a non-profit making event.  It does, however, incur organisational costs and, to this end, the committee will welcome donations and sponsorship from interested individuals and businesses.  Donations already received are greatly appreciated and will help towards covering associated expenses relating to the festival events.

Traders in the town are encouraged to become involved, either through sponsorship or hands-on help, all of which will promote their business positively.  Participating sponsors can also avail of the opportunity to promote their business live on air during the Big O and 5FM live radio broadcast from the festival.

Community Support

The success of the festival will rely on the support and assistance from the wider community.  Organisers are keen to point out that the festival is not confined solely to the people of Crossmaglen and that people from neighbouring towns and villages are encouraged to come along and enjoy the event.

“This is a cross-border cross-community festival and we hope families from throughout the area travel to Crossmaglen to enjoy the entertainment and have lots of family fun,” Maeve said.

Programme of events

The preliminary programme of events for the Dealin’ Men Festival is as follows:

Friday 3rd September @7.30pm

The festival will open to the strains of its theme tune ‘The Dealin’ Men from Crossmaglen’ in a performance of top local artists.

An ‘open mic’ session will follow where some of the area’s most talented singers, dancers and musicians will provide top class entertainment on stage.

Following proceedings on The Square, there will be traditional music sessions in local pubs.

Saturday 4th September

A show-jumping competition will be staged at Kernan’s Equestrian Centre on the Newry Road.  Expert show-jumpers from across Ireland will participate in this event which is being held in conjunction with the Dealin’ Men Festival.

The equestrian theme will continue at Terence McShane’s field on the Monug Road where ‘dealin’ men can trade at the horse fair.  In a throw-back to the now-famed ‘Crossmaglen Horse Fair’ of the 1980s, this event will replicate some of the scenes of those days when horses and ponies of all shapes and makes were inspected, trotted, bought and sold.

On The Square, children will be kept entertained at the Teddy Bears Picnic and story-telling session.

This will coincide with a fancy dress parade around The Square with a number of top prizes on offer for the best dressed.

Throughout the afternoon, the public will be treated to top class traditional music by musicians from the Ring of Gullion Comhaltas groups.

Sunday 5th September

The show-jumping competition at Kernan’s Equestrian Centre will continue for a second day when commemorative Dealin’ Men Festival.trophies will be presented to the overall winners.

Members of local horse trotting clubs will take part in a Trotting Race from Fords Cross to Crossmaglen.

Big O and 5FM radio will broadcast live from The Square from 12 noon to 3.00pm.  Local personalities will form a significant part of the programme.

An Artisan Market featuring a myriad of culinary delights will commence at 12 noon.  Become transported into days gone by where market traders in traditional trading attire sell their wares, which will include local honeys, sweet and savoury tarts, fresh baked European breads, treats and dips, to name but a few.  To add to the atmosphere, some of the town’s business owners may dress accordingly to trade at this event.

For vintage enthusiasts, the afternoon will also feature a Vintage Car display which will also attract prizes for the Best on Show.

Not forgetting the children, again the little ones will be kept entertained with a magic show and balloon modelling.  There will also be the opportunity for pony rides around The Square.

Throughout the weekend some of the country’s top traditional musicians will hold trad sessions in pubs around the town.  Visiting musicians are invited to join in these sessions

A commemorative DVD  will be compiled featuring some of the best bits of the Dealin’ Men Festival and will go on sale soon after the event.

Official Launch

The festival will officially launch at an event in The Cross Square Hotel tomorrow (Tuesday) evening at 8.30pm.

Representatives of all community groups and businesses throughout the area are cordially invited to attend this informal evening.  Big O will join local representatives, businesses and members of the press at the event.  Light refreshments will be served.